Beyond Marginality: Anglo-Jewish Literature After the by Efraim Sicher

By Efraim Sicher

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Extra info for Beyond Marginality: Anglo-Jewish Literature After the Holocaust (Suny Series on Modern Jewish Literature and Culture.)

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11 Litvinoff's autobiographical Journey Through a Small Planet (1972) comes across as real and even poetic. The boy's father is one of those who went or was sent back to Russia during the First World War and arrived in time for the Bolshevik Revolution, never to be East End Writers I 37 heard of again. In the absence of a father the boy develops a jealous oedipal relationship with his mother, while the claustrophobic closeness of the home and the intrusion of an unsympathetic stepfather suggest a similar Hamlet theme to the one in Bernard Kops' Hamlet of Stepney Green (1956), which actually continues Gordin's and other adaptations of Shakespeare in the early New York Yiddish theater in terms of the rebellion of Jewish youth against their elders' adherence to bourgeois and religious values, and which is here coupled with the modern adolescent's difficulty in coming to terms with his own precocious sexuality and confused identity.

Yet he has awakened to sensuality and to art. " WOLF MANKOWITZ: THE BESPOKE GOGOL OR "LAUGHTER THROUGH TEARS" One of the most funny and folksy East End authors is Wolf Mankowitz (born 1924), though educated outside the East End, in East Ham. His father dealt in second-hand books and he himself sold in the street market before winning an Exhibition to Downing College, Cambridge. He became an Oscar-winning film scriptwriter and was also successful in the pottery business, recognized as an authority on Wedgwood and the Portland Vase.

Ranting can understand this even less than Gogol's Important Person. The East End wholesalers and master tailors spare little mercy (more fitting here is the Yiddish term rakhmones because it includes love). The only irony that Mankowitz doesn't mention is that every hardworked, underpaid little tailor dreamt of owning a sweatshop himself, just as his hard-hearted slavemaster had probably worked his way up from near-starvation. Only now tailoring is a dying trade and Morry is a dying breed. East End Writers I 43 This East End message of humility and rakhmones very nicely fits Mankowitz' universalization of the theme in fables or parables as in "Laugh Till You Cry" (1955), a Jobian parable about a salesman cast away on some Caribbean island with the Ditt tribe.

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