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

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By Efraim Sicher

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20 In England this process was doubly painful as there was no cosmopolitan safety-net. The sheltered parental horne indoctrinated its children in bourgeois materialist aspirations which denied the traditions of immigrant roots (except their sentimental value) and denied the right to be different. The very acculturation of AngloJewry pressurized the young into the British Public School (a feepaying elite establishment) and the golf-club, where they were not infrequently ostracized as Jews, yet were not equipped with an adequate knowledge of what Jewishness meant nor adequate defenses to combat anti-Semitism.

On revisiting the East End from his comfortable country home, Litvinoff convinced himself he had to write a book about growing up in the East End where coming to terms with adolescence meant coming to terms with being a Jew. This reminder of a lost world explains the writer's Jewishness and his social commitment; it is a timely memorial when the East End has passed into the hands of new immigrants from India and Pakistan. The parallel between the two waves of immigrants was also made by Wesker in the television documentary based upon his memoir Say Goodbye, You May Never See Them Again (with John Allin, 1974).

6 After the sinking of the Struma with its load of Jewish refugees in 1942, he invokes Jesus To come down from the mountain and the sun And walk into my lonely dwelling-place, My house of mourning, to seek out and bless Me for my dead, my dead for peace. 7 Having been brought up to think of oneself as more English than the English, having started writing in English for the English, the postwar Jewish writer eager to move into "the universe of the future" was pained to read T. S. Eliot's "Burbank with a Baedaker: Bleistein with a Cigar" (1920).

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