Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Review of "Reuben Sachs" by Amy Levy

Review of 'Reuben Sachs' by Amy Levy.

It seems like forever since I've sat down and written a review on here, and I've practically got a mound of books read and ready to be reviewed, but I just haven't found the time recently. It's been well over a month since my last review, so I thought I'd kick start me getting back into the swing of things (hopefully) with a Victorian novella.

Reuben Sachs was on my course list for a module in first wave feminism when I was at uni, and sat alongside the likes of Dracula and Goblin Market, but it simply looked so dry that I never quite managed to get around to it. 

Now that I've read it, I can see how these texts all interlink in their analysis of the 'modern' female in the Victorian Era. Reuben Sachs focuses on a young girl, Judith, rather than the novel's eponymous male protagonist. Adopted by her auntie and uncle, as her family is too poor to raise her, Judith is brought up in a world of wealth without actually having any to her name.

This Jewish family is completely, unapologetically aware of the conflicted position Judith is in. She is at once rich and yet poor: she wants for nothing and yet her future looks bleak. Due to her lack of wealth, any potential husband that she may meet in the circles that she occupies is likely to reject her for a more wealthy wife. Indeed, her adoptive sister, who does have a dowry from her parents is a more suitable candidate for marriage than Judith is.

Unfortunately for Judith, she falls for her cousin, Reuben Sachs. Although he falls in love with her too, he casts aside his passion in order to pursue his political ambitions. Every time the pair meet they are torn between love and duty, and it is always duty that wins. 

Have you read this novella? What did you think?

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