The British passion for landscape—already present in the literary works of Milton, Shakespeare, and even Chaucer—began to dominate the visual arts at the time of the Industrial Revolution. In his poem “Jerusalem” (1804), William Blake wrote of both “England’s green and pleasant land” and the “dark satanic mills” of its new industrial cities.
Living in an age when Jews are fully integrated into so much of America’s public and popular culture, it is difficult to imagine a time before they shone on the stage and printed page. Such a future for Jews was scarcely imaginable in the crucible years after the birth of the United States. In the colonial period, there was little precedent for Jews speaking for themselves vocally and volubly in the public arena. At the dawn of the Republic, they were new to American public life.