«Die Jüdin von Toledo» is a historical novel by Lion Feuchtwanger about the «love» of king Alfonso VIII and of the beautiful Jewess Rachel, the action takes place in Spain, Castile, Toledo, the end of the 12th century. Love I took in quotation marks is not accidental. When I was going to read this book and looked for its description, I were everywhere the same sentence: «the novel is about the love of the king to the Jew». Well, I thought, about love about love. Having finished the book «Die Jüdin von Toledo», I was surprised because if you call a love relationship between Alfonso and his mistress, I love to disagree.
Alfonso VIII takes to his advisers (Escribano) Jew Ibrahim or Yehuda Ben Ezra. Christians while the Jews were treated with great prejudice and contempt. The kings often resorted to the Council of the Jews, but it was considered a weakness. The Jews were handy, economical, able to increase the wealth, in a word, were those who are now called “effective managers”. Ben Ezra carries with him to Toledo for his family, daughter Raquel and son Alaska.
Alfonso meets with the family of his Escribano and Raquel seems to him impertinent, overconfident and outspoken. It is not clear that he was attracted, but after a short time he asked Ben Ezra, will Raquel his mistress. A little explanation and a little later we will return to this ticklish question. In those days, such a proposal meant that the king carries her to the castle, reserved exclusively for this purpose, goes to visit her in his own good time, can live with it as long as you wish.
Officially it was forbidden, but the kings always had mistresses, and looked at it through his fingers. But in this case the king decided to get myself not just a mistress and a love affair with a Jewish woman.
But then starts the same “love”. Oh yeah, the king is the Queen, doña Leonor, who bore him children, unfortunately only daughters and no heir. Leonor aware of the Hobbies of her husband, but closes eyes on him, because the king has been taking liberties, and now it’s only a temporary distraction, and it soon will shatter.
The reader can imagine in what a difficult position they put the adviser to the king his question. King needs to give his only daughter a concubine. And because she is so young, she’s only seventeen, she could have a good marriage, but instead, this brave young Christian knight will live with her, and he to her. With respect to whether, because she was Jewish, or to humiliate and torment?
Torment won’t, because the plot is crystal clear, and Raquel moves to the castle Galiano, which has been preserved in our time.Then begins an irreversible course of events, which many already known faces will regret more than once. I was reading a description of what the king and Raquel in Galiana, and could not understand what still brings them closer. Alfonso despised Judaism and Islam, all what kind of a human being.
She believed that the knights superficial bouncers are bullies, rude and not courteous. He saw her as her father, the adviser, Yehuda, and hated her for it. She considered him unscrupulous and conceited. And all these thoughts of the characters interspersed with exclamations like “my love, you are the greatest miracle of God’s wonders!”, etc.
In short, some consistency in the actions of the characters, I didn’t catch. You can accuse me of excessive consistency, we are talking about LOVE, but in the story I saw. The ratio of Alfonso to Squeegees selfish, it is purely the desire to possess something new, unusual, beautiful. He throws her words about which forget in a minute, and she suffers and endures.
However, I have never regretted that I started to read the novel. However after I had mild depression because of the ending, but the reader will know what it will end at the beginning of the third part. Explanation — the ending is tragic. Those who have been in Spain, especially in Toledo, to read is definitely interesting.