could be shared by those who themselves were Jewish. The English poet StephenSpender, whose mother was of German Jewish background, recalled that when he wasat school during the 1920s he began to realize that he "had more in common with thesensitive, rather soft, inquisitive, interior Jewish boys than with the aloof, hard, externalEnglish." Yet at the same time, he acknowledged, "I despised some of these qualities inmyself which I thought of as Jewish, and my feeling for the English was at times almostlike being in love with an alien race."4 As I shall attempt to illustrate in this essay, theambivalent attraction of the soft toward the hard and of the timid toward the aggressivehas a more extensive and complicated role in the history of modern Jewish sentimentthan has heretofore been acknowledged. Although Ashton wrote as an antisemite, albeitof the genteel variety, similar views had been expressed by European authors of adecidedly more philosemitic persuasion. William Lecky (1838-1903), the greatVictorian historian and essayist, wrote of his Jewish contemporaries (in an otherwisegenerally sympathetic essay) that "nothing is more conspicuous among them than their unhealthy colouring, their frail, bent, and feeble bodies." This Dublin-born and-educated historian of European rationalism and morals acknowledged that "many Jewsno doubt serve in the great continental armies with honour," but confidently assertedthat "the Jew is naturally a pacific being, hating violence and recoiling with a peculiar horror from blood."5 Lecky's assertion dovetailed with another strand of Europeanthinking about the Jew and his innate proclivities, which found perhaps its purestexpression in a book that was published in the year of Lecky's death—Otto Weininger'simmensely popular Geschlecht und Charakter (1903), which went through six Germaneditions before it was published in English (as Sex and Character) in 1906. Weininger,a former Viennese Jew who had converted to Protestantism, saw the Jew basically as amale with a female sensibility. "The homology of Jew and woman becomes closer thefurther examination goes," he claimed, asserting also that the time he lived in was "notonly the most Jewish but the most feminine." 6 As John Hoberman has aptly noted, "bythe time Weininger absorbed it, this intuitive sense of the Jew's deficient masculinityhad been germinating for centuries, dating from the Middle Ages."7 Although overtclaims concerning such biological characteristics as male menstruation were no longer common in the 19th century, this "intuitive sense" could be expressed, even by Jewsand those sympathetic to them, in a variety of ways.8 A decade before Weininger published his Sex and Character, the French author Anatole Leroy-Beaulieu observedthat "the Semites are said to be a feminine race, possessing to a high degree the gift of receptivity, always lacking in virility and procreative power." Although Leroy-Beaulieustrongly disagreed with the claim that Jews lacked originality (arguing, in fact, to thecontrary) he did acknowledge, in discussing the physiology of the Jew, that "hisfeebleness often gives him a somewhat unmanly appearance," adding that "in manycountries he is manifestly unfit for heavy work."9 Such comments by even philosemitically inclined European intellectuals help provide the background to Max Nordau's espousal of Muskeljudentum ("muscular Judaism," or "Jewry of muscle"),first in his 1898 address to the Second Zionist Congress in Basle and then in hiseponymous essay, first published in 1900. "For too long, all too long, we have beenengaged in the mortification of our own flesh," wrote"Thev Fought Because They Were Fighters and They Fought Because They Were Jews"