Award-winning novelist and critic Jacobson has chosen The Merchant of Venice, one of Shakespeare's most controversial plays, which can be read as antisemitic. "For an English novelist, Shakespeare is where it all begins. For an English novelist who also happens to be Jewish, The Merchant of Venice is where it all snarls up," Jacobson said.
"Only a fool would think he has anything to add to Shakespeare. But Shakespeare probably never met a Jew; the Holocaust had not yet happened, and antisemitism didn't have a name. Can one tell the same story today, when every reference carries a different charge? There's the challenge. I quake before it."