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Writing the Diaspora : a bibliography and critical commentary on post-Shoah English-language fiction… Hart, Alexander 1996

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WRITING THE DIASPORA: A BIBLIOGRAPHY AND CRITICAL COMMENTARY ON VOST-SHOAH ENGLISH-LANGUAGE JEWISH FICTION IN AUSTRALIA, SOUTH AFRICA, AND CANADA by ALEXANDER HART B . A . , The University of British Columbia, 1986 Professional Teaching Certificate, Province of British Columbia, 1987 M . A . , The University of British Columbia, 1989 A THESIS S U B M I T T E D I N P A R T I A L F U L F I L M E N T O F T H E R E Q U I R E M E N T S F O R T H E D E G R E E O F D O C T O R O F P H I L O S O P H Y in T H E F A C U L T Y OF G R A D U A T E S T U D I E S Department of English We accept this thesis as conforming to the required standard T H E U N I V E R S I T Y OF B R I T I S H C O L U M B I A December 1996 © Alexander Hart, 1996 In presenting this thesis in partial fulfilment of the requirements for an advanced degree at the University of British Columbia, I agree that the Library shall make it freely available for reference and study. I further agree that permission for extensive copying of this thesis for scholariy purposes may be granted by the head of my department or by his or her representatives. It is understood that copying or publication of this thesis for financial gain shall not be allowed without my written permission. Department of <^^<^/^TA/ The University of British Columbia Vancouver, Canada Date ^ DE-6 (2/88) I ABSTRACT In the aftermath of the Shoah (Holocaust)—the mass murder of 6,000,000 Jews—Jean-Paul Sartre wrote Reflexions sur la Question Juive (1946), in which he concluded that the fate of the Jews, the fate of the individual non-Jew, and the fate of the entire world are inextricably and reciprocally intertwined. Building on Sartre's perception, Portrait of a Jew (1962) and The Liberation of the Jew (1966) describe what the author, Albert Memmi , terms "the universal Jewish fate": that of being the paradigmatic "colonized" Other—insofar as the Jews are a particularly oppressed minority, that is, their marginalization epitomizes the fate of all humanity. Further, Memmi argues both that "to be a Jewish writer is . . . to express the Jewish fate" and that a "true Jewish literature" is necessarily one which revolts against the imposition and acceptance of this fate. Sartre's and Memmi ' s insights posit that Jewish consciousness acts upon both national and world consciousness. M e m m i suggests that one means of expressing the Jewish consciousness is through literature. In their imaginative interpretations of the post-Shoah interconnections between the Jew, the nation, and the world, modern Jewish fiction writers of the Diaspora (dispersion) —at least those whose work foregrounds tropes of Jewish sensibility, incorporating Jewish characters and themes—often delineate a world which, in the aftermath of Auschwitz, is socially and existentially even more precarious than it was before the war. This study examines post-Shoah Jewish consciousness and its relation to national/world consciousness, as represented in the English-language Jewish fiction of Australia, South Africa, and i i Canada, Commonwealth countries whose diverse Jewish literatures have been overshadowed by the predominant English-language Jewish literary culture of the U . S . A . The structure of this study is bipartite. Part B is an indexed Bibliography enumerating primary works by Jewish prose fiction writers of Australia, Canada, and South Africa. Part A is a critical commentary on Part B . The Introduction (Chapter 1) outlines the theoretical bases for the study. The three following chapters scrutinize Jewish Australian (Chapter 2), Jewish South African (Chapter 3), and Jewish Canadian (Chapter 4) fiction. Among the writers considered are Australians B . N . Jubal, Judah Waten, David Martin, Morris Lurie, Serge Liberman, and L i l y Brett; South Africans Nadine Gordimer, Dan Jacobson, Jil l ian Becker, Antony Sher, and Rose Z w i ; and Canadians Henry Kreisel, A . M . Kle in , Adele Wiseman, Mordecai Richler, and Robert Majzels. Each of these three chapters follows a similar format: a description of the origin, history, and demography of the Jewish community; an outline of the important pre-World War II Jewish fiction writers and their work; an examination of representative post-Shoah works; and concluding remarks about the ways in which the works under consideration here contest and revise both the canons of nation and national literature and the very concepts of nation, canon, and canon-making. A n Epilogue (Chapter 5) contextualizes the thematic patterns common to the Jewish fiction of the three countries and suggests ways in which this fiction can be located within the larger framework of Jewish Literature. i i i T A B L E OF CONTENTS Abstract i i Table of Contents iv Acknowledgements v i i Dedication v i i i PART A 1 Chapter 1: Introduction 2 Chapter 2: 1 A l i en Sons and Daughters: Jewish Australian Fiction and the Paradox of Belonging 15 Origin, History, and Demography of the Jewish Community 15 Precursors: David G . Falk, Benjamin Leopold Farjeon, M i l l i e Finkelstein, Abraham Samuel Gordon, Nathan Frederick Spielvogel, and Solomon Stedman 20 Nathan Frederick Spielvogel 20 Solomon Stedman 24 B . N . J u b a l 29 JudahWaten 55 David Martin 77 Morris Lurie 85 Dr. Serge Liberman 93 The 1980s and 1990s 100 L i l y Brett 103 Concluding Remarks 124 Chapter 3: Zulus and Zeides: Jewish South African Fiction and the Apartheid o f Self-Hatred 129 Origin, History, and Demography of the Jewish Community 130 Jewish Self-Hatred: Theory and Practice 142 Precursors: Wi l l i am Luscombe Searelle, Frank Danby, Louis Cohen, and Sarah Gertrude M i l l i n 151 Sarah Gertrude M i l l i n 152 Arthur Markowitz 154 Victor Barwin 165 M . Davidson 169 iv David Dainow 170 Albert Segal 173 Nadine Gordimer 179 DanJacobson 193 Froma Sand 230 Ji l l ian Becker 237 Antony Sher 247 Rose Z w i 258 Concluding Remarks 271 Chapter 4: Scrolls and Scrapbooks: Jewish Canadian Fiction and the Mosaic of Re-Readings 274 Origin, History, and Demography of the Jewish Community 279 Precursors: Isidore Gordon Ascher, Hyman Edelstein, and Ted Al l an . . 3 1 1 Hyman Edelstein 313 Ted A l l a n 320 Henry Kreisel 324 A . M . K l e i n 336 Adele Wiseman 350 Mordecai Richler 357 Poets Writing Prose Fiction: Leonard Cohen, Irving Layton, Norman Levine, E l i Mandel, Seymour Mayne, and Mi r i am Waddington 370 J. J. Steinfeld 377 Robert Majzels 382 Abraham Boyarsky 389 Anne Michaels 393 Concluding Remarks 402 Chapter 5: Epilogue: Towards a Commonwealth of Jewish Literature 410 Endnotes: Notes for Chapter 1: Introduction 420 Notes for Chapter 2: Jewish Australian Fiction 422 Notes for Chapter 3: Jewish South African Fiction 424 Notes for Chapter 4: Jewish Canadian Fiction 426 Notes for Chapter 5: Epilogue 429 Works Cited 431 v PartB 454 Jewish Fiction Writers of Australia, Canada, and South Africa: A n Enumerative Bibliography of Primary Materials 455 Foreword 456 Alphabetical Author Index Arranged by Country: Australia 457 Canada 460 South Africa 463 Bibliography: Australia 465 Canada 505 South Africa 555 vi ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS I wish to acknowledge the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (Fellowships Division), which, by awarding me a Doctoral Fellowship, generously supported my graduate studies from 1989 to 1993. In addition, I would like to recognize The Commonwealth Jewish Trust (London, England) for awarding me a Doctoral Book Grant in 1993. Several people deserve my heartfelt thanks for their co-operative, transhemispheric assistance with my research for this dissertation. In Australia, Gael Hammer provided my initial connection with Jewish Australian literature through her fine anthology Pomegranates: A Century of Jewish Australian Writing. Both she and Dr. Ivor Indyk (Department of English, University of Sydney) answered many of my questions. Dr. Serge Liberman—writer, medical doctor, and bibliographer—has an extensive knowledge of Jewish Australian literature, and he shared both his information and resources freely. He has been very supportive of my research and tremendously generous with his time and energy. In South Africa, Dr. Mi l ton Shain, Senior Lecturer in Hebrew and Jewish Studies, and Director of the Isaac and Jessie Kaplan Centre for Jewish Studies, at the University of Cape Town, provided information and material. Veronica Bell ing, Librarian at the Kaplan Centre, was most attentive to my bibliographic questions. In addition to answering my frequent questions, Dr. Marcia Leveson (Department of English, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg) entrusted me with an advance copy (on computer disk) of her excellent study People of the Book: Images of the Jew in South African English Fiction 1880-1992. Her generosity and support is very much appreciated. In Canada, Janice Rosen, archivist at the Canadian Jewish Congress (Montreal), was instrumental in finding and sending me a copy of the original and obscure Ted Al l an story which became famous as "Lies M y Father Told M e . " Several people working in the English Department at the University of British Columbia deserve my special thanks. Professor Andrew Busza not only guided me through my comprehensive exams as Chairman of my examination committee, but he also has been an inexhaustible source of encouragement, advice, and friendship throughout my graduate studies. Rosemary Leach, Graduate Secretary, has been a tower of strength, helping me to negotiate my way through the graduate programme with her always cheerful and sage advice. To the members of my Dissertation Committee—Dr. Wi l l i am H . N e w (Research Supervisor), Dr. Patricia Merivale, and Dr. Michael Zeitlin—I wish to express my deep gratitude for their unstinting support, patience, and counsel during the writing of this dissertation. I must return to one person, Dr. Wi l l i am H . New. It is no exaggeration to state that i f it had not been for his unfailing empathy, encouragement, and compassion I would not have found my way to this point in my academic career. Finally, I would like to acknowledge my wife, partner, and friend, Kathryn Selby, for her unselfish and uncomplicated love and support. I am continuously thankful to that gentle guiding energy which brought about our unlikely encounter and has intertwined our lives ever since. v i i DEDICATION To the sacred memory of the Six Milion In loving memory of my brother, James David G. Hart, y\ (June 23, 1955-June 18, 1993) In loving memory of my friend, Ian Kent, (January 1, 1915-September 20, 1996) )iy p i omri 'n nn May the spirit of G-d place them in the Garden of Eden viii PART A 1 CHAPTER 1 Introduction After the Holocaust, we are all refugees from the human dream. William Heyen It has become clear that every version of an 'other,' wherever found, is also the construction of a ' s e l f James Clifford Every land is grown strange Al l lands all waters The songs of Zion are sung on every coast. Charles Brasch The enormity of the Shoahx—the catastrophic destruction of 6,000,000 Jewish men, women, and children in Eastern, Central, and Western Europe; the annihilation of an entire Jewish world; the incineration of continental European civilization—overwhelms. Claude Lanzmann, documentary chronicler of the events of 1939-1945, in an attempt to fathom the 2 fundamentally unintelligible nature of the most significant event of the twentieth century, writes: '"The destruction of Europe's Jews [. . .] cannot be logically deduced from any . . . system of presuppositions.. . . Between the conditions that permitted extermination and the extermination itself—the fact of the extermination—there is a break in continuity, a hiatus, an abyss.' That abyss forms the essence of the Holocaust" (qtd. in Howe 178). Not only did the intellect fail to prevent such an abyss, it precipitated and participated in an abysmal and genocidal slaughter unprecedented in both scale and devastation in world history. Confronted with the massive ruin now inadequately designated as the Shoah, the mind becomes paralyzed, the heart numb. The Shoah "is a novel event and a new marker in history" (Hilberg 17), and if, in the aftermath, we concur with Theodor Adorno's famous midrash that "[t]o write poetry after Auschwitz is barbaric," then how much more barbaric to write literary analysis and criticism (Adorno 34). Faced with the fact of Naz i German genocide, perhaps the most eloquent response is silence—dead silence. Indeed, critic George Steiner writes that his "own (provisional) feeling [is] that silence is the only, though in its way suicidal, option . . . " (156). In a similar turn, Saul Friedlander claims that "[s]ilence . . . is possibly the most explicit narrative of a l l " (67). However, silence, no matter how tentatively suggested as a possible response to the Shoah, would be a profanat