Jews and Robert Browning: fiction and fact

I wish to thank you for doing me the honour of conferring on me the Presidency of this Society. It is an accolade for which I feel inadequately prepared, since I am not by training an historian, being moved more by words and pictures than events, and I feel even more unworthy when I contemplate the eminence of my predecessors. Still I shall do my best, and try to represent the interests of the Society as well as I can.

One of the advantages of being President, I have assumed, is that I may be permitted to choose the subject of my Presidential lecture. My favourite English poet, after Shakespeare, is Robert Browning, and since this is Montefiore’s Bicentenary year (and today is in fact his 200th birthday) I have seized on Browning’s links with Sir Moses (about which more anon) to speak to you about the Jews and Robert

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