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From apology to revolt: Benjamin Farjeon, Amy Levy, and the post-emancipation Anglo-Jewish novel, 1880-1900

Bryan Cheyette

<plain_text><page sequence="1">From apology to revolt: Benjamin Farjeon, Amy Levy and the Post-emancipation Anglo-Jewish novel, 1880-1900* BRYAN CHEYETTE By the 1880s, with large-scale immigration from Eastern Europe, a post emancipation 'Jewish question' was being debated, calling into question the liberal verities according to which British Jews had been granted full civil and political rights in the second half of the nineteenth century. The Anglo-Jewish novel had helped to promote the liberal image of the Jew as a good British citizen in the decades leading up to emancipation. However, by the 1880s, many Anglo-Jewish novelists moved from a position of apology, to 'revolt' against Anglo-Jewry's image of itself. In this paper I want to concentrate on Benjamin Farjeon (1838-1903) and Amy Levy (1861-89), as their fiction represents the extremes of apology and 'revolt' respectively. These writers will be discussed in relation to other Anglo-Jewish novelists and in terms of Anglo-Jewry's official pronouncements on the role of the Anglo-Jewish novel. The earliest Anglo-Jewish novels were a product of the debate surrounding the struggle for the Jewish civil and political rights in Britain from the 1830s until the 1850 s. The aim of these novels-especially those by Grace Aguilar (1816-47), Charlotte Montefiore (1818-54) and Celia and Marion Moss (1819-73 and i82i-i907)-was to portray Jews as particularly moral in character so that they could be considered 'deserving' of emancipation. A study of nineteenth-century Anglo-Jewish fiction has rightly concluded that these novels were 'propaganda fiction', intended to demonstrate to the English reader that they had nothing to 'fear' from the emancipated Jew.1 The novels of Grace Aguilar, for instance, have been described as being 'shaped and limited' by the 'plea for English sympathy and tolerance of Jews_' The preface to the fiction of Celia and Marion Moss similarly reflected the apologist nature of the early Anglo-Jewish novel. They aimed 'to awaken their readers' curiosity to know more of [Jewish] records; fuller of instances of fervent piety, courage, endurance and constancy under suffering than those of any other people.'2 And Charlotte Montefiore's novels were described by a near contemporary as 'pervaded with a moral atmosphere'. Such fiction portrayed the Jew as 'different from the Victorian Englishman only in his religion... these novelists stress[ed] the 'Englishness' of the Jew, presenting him generally as a product of the middle class, in manners if not in wealth.'3 The earliest Anglo-Jewish * Paper presented to the Society on 17 January 1985. 253</page><page sequence="2">Bryan Cheyette novels were, therefore, explicitly apologetic, aiming to present Jews 'sympa? thetically' as ideal 'good citizens'-that is, as middle-class Victorian English? men. The emancipated Jew was brought to life as an 'Englishman of the Jewish persuasion' or, in the often-repeated words of the Jewish Chronicle, an 'English Jewish gentleman with his English feelings and English heart'.4 Above all, it was the values of the English middle and upper-middle classes that post emancipatory Anglo-Jewry wished to emulate. As has been recently argued: 'Well-to-do Jews, as members of a minority group eager to secure social acceptance, took their cues from respectable society, especially Anglican upper-middle-class society, and, just as they adopted the fashions of those circles in matters of costume, entertainment, display and decoration, and recreation and leisure, so too they conformed in the area of religion.'5 In this way, 'Jewish values' were shown to 'run parallel to the values of Britain'. It was this supposed similarity that was given a secular literary expression by the mid-Victorian apologetic Anglo-Jewish novel.6 The extent to which Anglo-Jewry's elite internalized 'British values' and continued, in particular, to mediate the interests and values of middle- and upper-middle class society, is indicated by a representative editorial from the Jewish Chronicle in 1890, entitled 'Jews and the Financial Crisis': When the secret financial history of the last few weeks comes to be written, we venture to predict that a large share of the credit for the negotiations which have saved the money market from one of the heaviest calamities that could befall it will be awarded to Jewish finance... The thought that in the organisation and execution of this service, a Jewish house [Rothschilds] has taken part should be a source of pride and wholesome memory to the whole Jewish community. ... Since the temptation to become financiers is still strong among [the Jews], it is fortunate that they have these bright examples to guide them... The Jew is by nature far more speculative than is usually imagined, and although his apparent gambling has been declared by a competent observer to be largely due to a peculiarly subtle capacity for calculating infinitesimal margins of risk, there can be no doubt that there is still a strong leaven of the gambling propensity in the average Jewish character. It is feared that the present tendencies of the Stock Exchange are calculated to foster this propensity... nowadays there is too little faith in the Synagogue and too much in the Stock Exchange...7 The contrast between good Jewish citizens imbued with patriotism who 'have saved the money market from one of [its] heaviest calamities' and those 'speculative' others who gamble irresponsibly are common liberal stereotypes at the turn of the century. Such stereotyping will be seen to form the basis of the apologetic Anglo-Jewish novel at this time. In short, an ambivalent Jewish identity was the logical outcome of an emancipation process where 'Jews had to meet the expectations of gentiles'.8 The famous speech by Thomas Macaulay in 1830 on behalf of a Bill which would remove the 'Civil Disabilities of the Jews' illustrates this point. An ambivalent perception of the 'worth' of the Jews 254</page><page sequence="3">The Post-emancipation Anglo-Jewish novel was, in fact, implicit in Macaulay's call for the removal of Jewish civil disabilities: 'Jews are not now excluded from political power. They possess it; and as long as they are allowed to accumulate property, they must possess it... What power in civilised society is so great as that of the creditor over the debtor? If we take this away from the Jew, we take away from him the security of his property. If we leave it to him, we leave to him a power more despotic by far, than the King and all his cabinet.' Macaulay goes on to mock those that oppose Jewish political emancipation: 'It would be impious to let a Jew sit in Parliament. But a Jew may make money, and money may make members of Parliament... the Jew may govern the money market and the money market may govern the world... A congress of sovereigns may be forced to summon the Jew to their assistance. The scrawl of the Jew on a back of a piece of paper may be worth more than the royal word of three kings... but, that he should put Right Honourable before his name, would be the most frightful of national calamities... '9 In these terms, Macaulay usefully highlights what has been rightly called the 'Anti-Semitism of Tolerance':10 when outside the English State, Jewish financial power is deemed to be an evil force which according to Macaulay is 'more despotic by far than the King and all his cabinet'. Therefore, by granting Jews full political and civil rights, such stereotypical Jewish power can be utilized for the good of England. From this perspective, Jews would be transformed into 'good citizens' and 'meet the expectations of gentiles'. Within these liberal parameters, however, Jewish emancipation can be considered to have been coercive and dehumanizing. The ambivalent stereotype of Jewish power meant that Jews had to choose either to aid the State (as loyal Englishmen) or to be a (Jewish) force for evil. This paper is concerned with the determining imprint of this form of stereotyping on the consciousness of Anglo-Jewry. It has been convincingly shown that 'the fact of emancipation coloured both the external and self-perceptions of British Jews'. This was because 'Jews were virtually on trial as to whether they had in fact been deserving of emancipa? tion. Thus external opinion perpetuated the emancipation controversy long after the fact of emancipation had been legally attained.'11 After the 1870 s, the large-scale influx into England of poor Eastern European Jewish immigrants generated a post-emancipationist 'Jewish Question' in which the 'worth' of Anglo-Jewry was once again strenuously debated. It is important to recognize that the terms of this debate were not uniformly hostile, but that this debate, with a large degree of success, was intended to shape native Jewish behaviour with particular regard to its 'anglicization' and the repatriation of the Jewish immigrant.12 In terms of the post-emancipationist 'Jewish Question', the Jewish family, Jewish capitalists and Jewish nationalists were all stereotyped as ideal examples of good citizenship. However, alternatively, the same Jewish stereotypes could be popularly utilized to demonstrate that Jews were undermining a once great British nation.13 It was in the context of this debate-and the ambivalent Jewish 255</page><page sequence="4">Bryan Cheyette stereotyping associated with it-that the post-emancipationist Anglo-Jewish novel was written. Post-emancipationist Anglo-Jewish communal policy has been well described as 'dominated by considerations of public image'.14 It was in these terms that the apologetic tradition of the earliest Anglo-Jewish novel was, after the 1870s, once again encouraged by Anglo-Jewry's elite. It was hoped, in other words, that the Anglo-Jewish novel would enhance Anglo-Jewry's 'public image' and continue to demonstrate that British Jews 'deserved' emancipation. Lucien Wolf, in particular, understood well the moralizing function of the apologetic Anglo-Jewish novel. In a speech in 1905 on 'Anglo- Jewish Literary Ability', he was to argue that emancipation had provided British Jewry with an opportunity to create 'an Anglo- Jewish literary elite'. According to Wolf, Jewish men of letters before emancipation had drifted either into the Christian world or into Christian intellectual topics. Given emancipation, he believed, a truly Anglo-Jewish literature could flourish.15 Wolf, that is, viewed the Anglo-Jewish novel as a literary adjunct to Anglo-Jewry's official institutions. In fact, the Jewish Chronicle had long since been advocating such a role for the Anglo-Jewish novel. For instance, it editorialized The World and the Cloister (1890), by Oswald John Simon-the son of a founder of the Anglo-Jewish Association-in the following terms: 'The novel is now the recognised means of those who have messages to deliver; and we welcome Mr. Oswald Simon's message to the world. It is prompted by pure and lofty thought and informed by reverence and true religious feeling_16 In viewing the Anglo-Jewish novel merely as a vehicle for delivering 'messages', it is not surprising that the Jewish Chronicle goes on to comment that 'with the story, which is the vehicle of [Simon's] teaching, we are not concerned'. Most Anglo-Jewish novelists, moreover, were happy to be an 'antidote'-in the words of the Jewish Chronicle -to contemporary anti-Semitic images of Jews.17 Thus Emily Harris, for instance, described her novel Estelle (1878) as aiming 'plainly and truthfully [to] delineate the life led by many a talented, aspiring, yet tender and devout Jewish girl; her struggles, the strength and steadfastness of her religion; the single-mindedness and simplicity of her home life, all passing within the domestic household of an orthodox, intellectual Jew, her father.'18 From the 1880s onwards, such moralized accounts of Anglo-Jewry were increasingly applauded and encouraged by the Jewish Chronicle. Samuel Gordon's Sons of the Covenant (1900) in particular portrayed newly arrived Jewish immigrants marrying into Anglo-Jewry's West End 'cousinhood'. As the St James Gazette noted, Gordon's main aim was to 'treat the fortune of some Jewish families and show very clearly how they stand together humble or rich'.19 In this way, Gordon obliged the wealthy Anglo Jewish elite who wanted to assimilate the Jewish East End into its sphere of influence or, at the very least, into its 'public image'. In this novel, Gordon in fact explicitly advocated an 'East End Scheme' to 'anglicize' London's East End. 256</page><page sequence="5">The Post-emancipation Anglo-Jewish novel This was in line with communal thinking on the question in the 1880 s and the 1890s.20 No wonder the Jewish Chronicle argued that Sons of the Covenant had 'rendered the community a single service' and, in turn, devoted a whole page and an editorial to the novel: 'It is to our writers that the world is beginning to look as representing all that is best and most typical in Jewish life and thought... In his Sons of the Covenant [Samuel Gordon] has given his readers a picture of Ghetto life, as edifying as it is truthful. It is one of the most wholesome stories that has ever been written.'21 As well as being a novelist, Gordon was Secretary of the Great Synagogue in London's East End which, one might assume, epitomized Wolfs ideal role for the post-emancipated Anglo Jewish writer. However, it was Benjamin Farjeon and not Samuel Gordon who can be said to have brought the apologetic Anglo-Jewish writer into the twentieth century. Benjamin Farjeon was bora in England of North African origin. His parents were Orthodox Jews who lived in London's East End. Farjeon, from the age of seventeen, travelled to Australia and New Zealand. He returned to England when he was thirty, with an American Protestant wife. Nevertheless, accord? ing to his daughter, 'Farjeon was a devout believer without a creed... who remained a Jew by instinct, as well as by race...'22 In 1875, for example, Farjeon, addressing an audience of 'Jewish Working Men', articulated the common stereotypical distinction between the evil 'speculative' Jew and the patriotic Jew who makes money for the good of England. This was to be the stuff of his fiction: 'Men now-a-days are more eager in their pursuits, more grasping, more insatiable than their forefathers a score of generations ago; [Farjeon] hoped the time would come when a crusade would be declared against the parasites that are clinging around civilisation and sucking at its heart and when canting hypocrisy, successful dishonesty, and prosperous knavery shall be held in proper contempt.'23 Farjeon's novels, Solomon Isaacs (1877), Aaron the Jew (1894) and Pride of Race (1900), all distinguish between 'good' and 'evil' ways in which Jews make money. The first of these novels concentrates on the dark Jewish stereotype, with its central character, Solomon Isaacs, representing the 'speculative' Jew who has 'too little faith in the Synagogue and too much in the Stock Exchange'. The wealthy Solomon is miserly, irreligious, vulgar, gaudy and un-English. The Jewish Chronicle, ironically, failed to grasp the novel's apolo? getic message when it argued that: 'Solomon Isaacs is a gross and vulgar caricature. His sudden rise to wealth, as well as his re-descent to poverty, are the most clumsily and improbably managed, nor is it likely that a man shrewd and clever enough to make his fortune in the way that Mr. Farjeon puts before us, should be so ill-informed as to the manners and customs of the upper classes. It is scarcely possible that persons, such as Solomon Isaacs is represented to be, do exist amongst us.'24 Solomon Isaacs is considered unrealistic because wealth and assimilation into the English upper classes are 257</page><page sequence="6">Bryan Cheyette synonymous in terms of the emancipationist stereotype. However, Farjeon explains this moral hybrid by the fact that Solomon, fatally, likes money for its own sake and not for the good it can do in English society: '"What do people worship?"' Solomon asks, '"Money. What was the temple made of? Money. What'U buy fine 'ouses, fine clothes, fine diamonds? Money-Money-Money! There's nothing like Money"' (909). Unsurprisingly, Solomon ends up: 'a laughing stock...a ruined man and a beggar' (913). To underline the apologetic nature of Solomon Isaacs, Farjeon contrasts Solomon with Moses Levy, a devout Jew who starts as an 'old clo' man' but, unlike Solomon, sells his goods slowly, honestly and productively. It has been rightly stated that, for Farjeon, 'the good Victorian Jew is a devout Jew because a devout Jew is more successful'.25 In Aaron the Jew, the ethical Moses Levy reappears as the novel's central character, Aaron Cohen. Aaron has been described as a 'Hebrew Aristides... a miracle of amiability and generosity', a view echoed by the novel's contempor? ary reviewers.26 Aaron is 'an erudite as well as an orthodox Jew' who 'knew the folly of expecting to grow rich in a week' (I, 119). In short, he is nothing more than a moral emblem: 'Work and Prosper and Work in the right way' (II, 7), is his family motto. As a successful businessman who 'employs his workmen for less than the usual hours [and for] more than the usual wages', he speaks out 'against the backsliding of the modern Jew' (III, 73) and advises the Jewish usurer-figure to 'reform your life, give back to the poor what you have stolen from them...' (II, 186).27 As well as the 'speculative' Jew, the gentile anti-Semite is placed beyond the pale in Farjeon's moral universe. Thus, Mr Poynter, the unscrupulous businessman, 'hated Aaron with a very sincere and conscientious hatred. He hated him because he had lost several profitable contracts, which Aaron had obtained;... he hated him because Aaron was genuinely respected by large bodies of working men, and had great influence with them; he hated Aaron because he was a Jew' (III, 117). Interestingly, the images of the medieval un-English usurer-figure and the medieval un-English anti-Semite both reinforce Farjeon's emancipatory ethic. Thus, the Jewish 'good citizen' is defined in contrast to others who are evil-whether they be Jewish usurers or gentile anti-Semites.28 The Pride of Race concentrates on articulating what Farjeon calls 'the spirit of the English-born Jew, whose parents are also English born', as opposed to the unemancipated 'foreign Jew who, of late years, has over-flooded the East End Ghetto'.29 Once again, the emancipatory image of the 'English Jewish gentleman' is to the fore in this novel. Such are the views of Mr Melbourne, the sympathetic narrator: '"A man may be both a Jew and a gentleman; I have met with many such, and have learned from them much that is worth learning"' (3). The Jew in question is the hero of the novel, Moses Mendoza, who is an unemancipated 'foreign Jew'. It is his son, Raphael, the second generation 'English-born Jew', who has the potential to become a Jewish gentleman: 'AH the hopes Moses Mendoza had in life were centred in this child 258</page><page sequence="7">The Post-emancipation Anglo-Jewish novel of his love, who was going to make a name in the world, who was going to be what his father could never be-a gentleman' (29). It is the 'spirit of the English born Jew' that is seen to save the unemancipated 'foreign Jew' from himself and, in particular, from an immoral way of making money. As Moses explains: 'Don't run away with the idea that because I'm a Jew I think of nothink but money. I want Raphe to be rich, of course, but I want 'im to be somethink better as well' (18). Moses Mendoza is financially successful, but, significantly, becomes wealthy in the 'wrong' way, with the help of South African gold and diamonds. The 'boom in South African affairs' which 'set England mad and made the Stock Exchange frantic with excitement' meant that Mendoza made 'a million and another million on top of that' (39/40). In short, Moses' 'even-balanced brain had steered him unerringly through the intricacies of his speculations' confirming, once again, the stereotype of the Jew as 'a born financier' (45). Other stereotypes are evoked by Farjeon, as impoverished aristocrats are kept waiting by Moses which, in Moses' words, seems to be 'turning things upside down...' (42). Moses, moreover, is described in terms of 'the survival of the fittest', as one horror-struck character asks, 'what is to be the end of it all?' (62). It was a common view of this time that a declining English aristocracy was being replaced by a racially superior Jewish pluto? cracy.30 However, Farjeon qualifies his negative Jewish stereotypes by emphasizing that Moses wished to make money 'chiefly for Raphael's sake' (45), and even goes so far as to argue that it will 'not do Raphael any good to go about in his company' (46). Contaminated by the means of making his wealth, Moses cuts himself off from the 'spirit of English-born Jews'-his own son. Raphael, having undergone the best of English educations, stands as a Member of Parliament to highlight his status as an emancipated 'Jewish gentleman'. As 'a born orator; [with] the gift of Gladstone and John Bright' (68), Raphael uses his exceptional rhetorical powers to argue that the present government is not providing the nation with enough battleships (71). During Raphael's election campaign, Moses therefore presents a 'battleship to the nation', to show that his son is 'a true patriot and an Englishman to the backbone' (72). In this way, Farjeon synthesizes the Jewish financier and Jewish gentleman to demonstrate that Raphael is focusing his father's financial skills in the 'right' direction. It is in these rather crude terms that Farjeon enacts the emancipationist desire that Jewish financial power will serve England.31 To this end, the rest of the novel's plot is designed to transfer the wealth of the Jewish financier across to the Jewish gentleman and to the English aristocracy in a bid to legitimize it. In Farjeon's terms, wealth made in the 'wrong' way cannot be rewarded and is therefore passed on to a Jewish gentleman who had nothing to do with its creation. Because Raphael is 'somethink better', he marries the daughter of an impoverished aristocrat and restores their family fortunes. Such is Farjeon's ideal type of the post-emancipatory good Jewish citizen. However, as early as the 1880s, as an analysis of the fiction of Amy Levy will now show, not all 259</page><page sequence="8">Bryan Cheyette Anglo-Jewish novelists could be relied upon to promote Anglo-Jewry's official image of itself. The Anglo-Jewish novel of 'revolt' was a term coined in 1927 when Lucien Wolf reflected on Anglo-Jewry's official attitude to the Anglo-Jewish novel of the 1880 s: 'Revolt was in the air. Amy Levy's Reuben Sachs illustrated at once its intensity and its dangers... Amy Levy and Mrs. Sidgwick had yielded clever studies of Jewish character in Reuben Sachs and Isaac Eller's Money, but they were too near the familiar caricatures.'32 In short, the Anglo-Jewish novel of 'revolt' refused to engage in literary apologetics on behalf of Anglo-Jewry's version of morality. In particular, these novels described 'the materialism of the rising Jewish middle classes', an Anglo-Jewish genre which extends at least until Brian Glanville's The Bankrupts (1958).33 In this genre, a Jewish idealist-a persona of the novelist-is represented as an example of a moral Jewish self which opposes official Anglo-Jewry. The novel which, in these terms, transformed the Victorian Anglo-Jewish novel was Amy Levy's Reuben Sachs (1888). It was immediately popular and quickly went into a second edition. Unsurprisingly, it was condemned by official Anglo-Jewry.34 However, Reuben Sachs can be said to have stimulated a dozen popular Anglo-Jewish novels of 'revolt' over a twenty-year period and, in this way, Amy Levy modernized the Anglo-Jewish novel. Unlike Benjamin Farjeon, whose fiction reworked the Anglo-Jewish novel of the past, Amy Levy can be considered to have anticipated the Anglo-Jewish novel of the future. It is mistaken to classify Farjeon as the 'first modern Anglo-Jewish novelist' and to dismiss Amy Levy as 'bigoted'.35 Reuben Sachs, in fact, can be shown to have been a major influence on Israel ZangwiU's Children of the Ghetto (1892). To be sure, Zangwill was to argue in 1901 that 'the small band of English and American writers who study the types and problems of the Ghetto' were 'pioneered' by the 'genius' of Amy Levy. He continued: 'She was accused, of course, of fouling her own nest; whereas what she had really done was to point out that the nest was fouled and must be cleaned out.'36 Such accusations meant that by 1926 Amy Levy could be described by an admirer as 'much neglected', 'ostracized' and 'ignored' by Anglo-Jewry. However, as ZangwiU's comments make plain, Reuben Sachs should be seen as the most influential and underrated Anglo-Jewish novel of its time.37 Amy Levy's Reuben Sachs described what was perceived as Anglo-Jewry's 'structure of gold'. It is a narrow, restricted, nepotistic middle- and upper middle-class universe which 'lies almost entirely within tribal limits' (36). Such a characterization of Anglo-Jewry was designed to subvert the 'public image' of the Anglo-Jewish community as a bastion of English morality. This stereotype is, perhaps, best represented in the character of George Eliot's Daniel Deronda. In making this point, Lionel Trilling has argued that: 'George Eliot is the originator of the modern myths which the Jews have constructed to present themselves, best foot foremost, to the world; she gave them their direction, a 260</page><page sequence="9">The Post-emancipation Anglo-Jewish novel direction which Amy Levy in her Reuben Sachs was probably the first to follow.'38 However, Amy Levy 'followed' Daniel Deronda (1876) only in the sense that she inverted the world of Daniel Deronda to show the lack of morality in Anglo-Jewry's vision of emancipation. The narrow repressive world of Gwendolen Harleth (symbolized by the gambling den at the beginning of the novel) is therefore used to represent the world of Amy Levy's Anglo-Jewry. The vision of freedom and 'universal kinship' which Deronda finally represents is the unwritten other world which is beyond the 'tribal limits' of Reuben Sachs.39 The desire 'to strike out from the tribal duck-pond into the wider and deeper waters of society' (37) is not, however, realized in Reuben Sachs. Leo Leuniger is the only character in the novel who opposes Anglo-Jewry's 'materialism' and, like Amy Levy, he is a Cambridge graduate. In fact, Amy Levy was the first Jewish female student at Newnham College Cambridge (1879-81). In other words, she belonged to a generation of Jews that became immersed in 'an atmosphere of culture and politics' at Oxford and Cambridge, that 'made Jewish communal concerns seem narrow and parochial by comparison'.40 Certainly, the women's suffrage movement and a radical attitude to wealth-most of Amy Levy's associates seem to be 'socialists' of one variety or another-characterizes an idealistic world which opposes the 'tribal limits' of Reuben Sachs.41 Unsurprisingly, in this context, Leuniger echoes an earlier article by Amy Levy on Daniel Deronda when he argues that he has: 'always been touched at the immense good faith with which George Eliot carried out that elaborate misconception of hers... we are materialists to our fingers ends... we have outlived, from the nature of things, such ideals as we ever had' (115/116).42 Reuben Sachs, the polar opposite of Leo Leuniger and the representative of Anglo-Jewry's post-emancipation, argues that 'this is a materialistic age, a materialistic country' (116). In the eyes of Anglo-Jewry he is thus a 'safe investment' who was destined for a 'career of political distinction' (2) and a 'safe' marriage with at least a ?50,000 dowry (65). This is a world where Anglo-Jewish women 'wore big diamond solitaires in their ears' (6) and continually played cards in a 'small' room with 'intent Semitic faces' (16). It is a world where the men, inevitably, make money on the Stock Exchange, which is, as usual, associated with the 'gambling den' (96). It is a world of a small number of Bayswater and Maida Vale families whose numbers are made even smaller by intermarriage; usually for 'business' reasons (122). It is, in fact, almost a caricature of the world of Gwendolen Harleth, with the motif of the 'gambling den' added to the vulgar, sparkling diamonds which were no doubt taken from South Africa. The portrayal of the ghetto-like 'tribal limits' in terms of images of restriction, gambling and vulgar materialism, is not, however, 'on the level of their more virulent English counterparts'.43 The Anglo-Jewish ghetto is perceived in terms of the heroine of the novel, Judith Quixano, whose repression as a woman comes to represent the narrowness of Anglo-Jewry's 'tribal limits': 'It is difficult to conceive a training, an existence, more curiously limited, more completely provincial than hers... material advantage, things 261</page><page sequence="10">Bryan Cheyette that you could touch and see and talk about; that these were the only things that really mattered, had been the unspoken gospel of her life' (38). Materialism, in this context, is not perceived as a natural 'Jewish' condition but, on the contrary, is seen as a force which represses the major characters in Reuben Sachs. Thus, it is the conjunction of Judith Quixano's repression as a woman and the repressive nature of a rampant materialism that is the crucial focus in this novel. Reuben Sachs is similarly 'affected by the scramble of his whole clan to get on in the world' and it is this 'affectation' that determines Judith Quixano's narrow vision.44 Her passivity is a function of Anglo-Jewry's overpowering materialism: 'It may be said that she had seen nothing at first hand; had looked at it all, not with her own eyes, but with the eyes of Reuben Sachs' (38). Her perception of herself was 'merely as one of a vast crowd of girls awaiting their promotion by marriage' (34). Although Judith is a woman of 'beauty and intelligence', she is restricted by the fact that she is a poor relative-'a beggar maid'-and therefore could only have a small dowry: 'it was a matter of common knowledge that her uncle would settle [only] ?5,000 on Judith when she married' (34). Judith is a part of the declining and poverty-stricken Sephardic Jewish 'aristocracy', but the criterion imposed on Reuben concerning his marriage is a purely material one. It is the failure of Reuben to marry Judith for love that gives this novel its considerable emotional impact. Judith's growing realization both of her powerlessness with regard to Reuben and her life in general, is the metaphor used in Reuben Sachs to illustrate the repressive nature of the materialist 'tribal limits' on its Jewish inhabitants. Reuben's premature death due to over-work is a function of the 'unnatural' pressures of the 'ghetto', and Judith's disastrous marriage for wealth and status becomes an 'unnatural' and grotesque alliance of convenience. The portrayal of the emptiness of Judith's life after she hears of the death of Reuben Sachs acts as a dramatic illustration both of the emptiness inherent in Anglo-Jewry's materialist ethos, and of the assumption of well-being if the values of the Victorian middle classes are adopted. The power of Amy Levy's statement was, however, caricatured and rewritten throughout the modern Anglo-Jewish novel. Not all Anglo-Jewish writers conceived of Leo Leuniger's idealistic other world which lay beyond the 'tribal duck-pond'. Julia Frankau's Dr Phillips (1887), which anticipated Reuben Sachs, was heavily influenced by the impact of French naturalism on the English novel and was, therefore, confined to a negative discussion of Jewish 'realities'. And Cecilly Sidgwick's Isaac Eller's Money (1889) had an implicitly con versionist message, as it concluded that wealthy Jews would only become 'good citizens' by marrying into the English upper classes. (In this context, it is unsurprising to note that Sidgwick 'considered herself a Christian' and was baptized and confirmed by her own wish.)45 Two novels, Mrs Mark Herbert's Mrs Danby Kaufman (1890) and Leonard Merrick's Violet Moses (1891), were both written in response to these 262</page><page sequence="11">The Post-emancipation Anglo-Jewish novel novels of 'revolt'. In short, what all these novels indicate is that by the 1890s the Anglo-Jewish novel was not simply apologetic, but veered between apology and revolt. The novel could both promote Anglo-Jewry's image of itself and, with more success, question its gentlemanly 'public image'. In fact, by the 1890s, the Anglo-Jewish novel of 'revolt' gained such prominence that the Jewish Chronicle was moved to editorialize: 'In England, Jewish writers have usually felt themselves called upon to portray the seamy side of Jewish life... It is hard that the Jewish novelist in England should have a keener vision for defects than for beauties, should show on the whole less sympathy with Jews than do those who accept an absurd convention and can at least plead ignorance in justification. Perhaps Mr Zangwill's forthcoming novel, Children of the Ghetto, will prove the long-awaited antidote to the literary poison that has been poured in the public ear by several clever and unsympathetic writers.'46 However, Israel Zangwill's Children of the Ghetto (1892) was not the 'antidote' prescribed by the Jewish Chronicle. A year after the novel's publica? tion, Zangwill was to state that T did not think that I could possibly write anything which would please the Jews... Reuben Sachs did not meet with such a reception at the hands of the Jews as would guarantee any great success for a book on similar lines_'47 In particular, the second half of the novel, Grandchildren of the Ghetto, included a lengthy description of a novel of 'revolt'-based on Reuben Sachs -which was contrasted with an anglicized Anglo-Jewry which, unsurprisingly, corresponded exactly to Amy Levy's novel. Predictably, Zangwill was vehemently attacked for this portrait of West End Anglo-Jewry.48 In the first half of the novel, however, Zangwill was to encourage the 'glorification of the Eastern Jew' as a 'Zionist "countermyth" to set against prevailing liberal definitions of Jewish identity'. The Jewish East End, in these terms, could be viewed as the 'embodiment of Jewish authenti? city, [and the] exemplar of the spiritual, unfragmented Jewish self....' In Zangwill's words, the Jewish East End was 'a Jewry that is morally sound and likely to remain so... a bright example to the proletariat of any capital of any country'.49 Thus, before publishing Children of the Ghetto, Zangwill was to sum up this ambivalent Jewish identity in the following terms: 'It is a hard thing that while Jewish students, and Jewish writers, and Jewish workers are doing their best to live useful lives, they are liable to be bespattered with mud on account of Jewish financiers and merchants who want chariots and fine linen, and municipal importance. I should like to know what compensation these godless School-building business men...are going to make to the humble workers, who have to bear with opprobrium and defamation for their sakes.'50 It is the division of Anglo-Jewry into morally commendable 'Jewish students, Jewish writers and Jewish workers' on the one hand, and, on the other, undesirable 'Jewish financiers, merchants' and 'godless business men', which is the basic contrast in Children of the Ghetto. Furthermore, for Zangwill, the stereotype of the Jewish working man as a morally ideal type was the logical corollary to his attack on 'Jewish materialism'.51 In these terms, Zangwill was 263</page><page sequence="12">Bryan Cheyette to censure Samuel Gordon for not conforming more to the 'school' of Amy Levy: 'Mr Gordon is, I believe, the first Jewish novelist to write sympathetically of the 'grandchildren of the Ghetto'. I rather grudge them his geniality. Despite their unquestionable seems to me at the present stage of our development that the furnace of satire is much more likely to conduce to our purification than the censers of incense.'52 Gordon, as a result of this criticism, inverted his desirable emancipationist stereotypes in Sons of the Covenant and, in 1904, published Unto Each Man His Own, which emphasized the undesirable qualities of West End Jewry. The reaction to Gordon's novel was predictable, and letters to the Jewish Chronicle from 'hurt, surprised and horror-stricken' readers vigorously invoked Anglo-Jewry's liberal emancipatory stereotypes: 'Have the higher class and rich Jews done nothing for the spread of civilization over the whole world? Have they not done much for the amelioration of distress and the improvement of the thrifty and industrious workers in the slums of London and other cities? Are there no Rothschilds, Montefiores, Sassoons, Samuels, Phillips's, and Adlers to be remembered by a novelist?' Other letters argued that by abandoning the apologetic novel, Gordon would 'do incalcul? able mischief to the community and Jewry in general'.53 In fact, just as the apologetic Anglo-Jewish novel was actively encouraged by official Anglo Jewry, the non-apologetic Anglo-Jewish novel of 'revolt' was attacked precisely because it did not fulfil the apologetic role of its mid-Victorian counterparts.54 Above all, what this hysterical quest for conformity indicates is the dehumaniz? ing impact on Anglo-Jewry of the ambivalent Jewish stereotype. The message was abundantly clear to the leadership of Anglo-Jewry. If the Jew was not a good citizen he was an evil alien, outside liberal England's rigid cultural parameters. The result was Anglo-Jewry's unceasing need to proclaim itself a community of 'good citizens' and the need to promote images that reinforce that message. NOTES 1 L. Zatlin, The Nineteenth-Century Anglo Jewish Novel (New York 1981) chap. 3. 2 Ibid. 33-40. Celia and Marion Moss, Tales of Jewish History (London 1843) 1-3. 3 Zatlin (see n. 1) 55 and 73. See also Edward Calisch, The Jew in English Literature as Subject and as Author (Richmond 1909) 163. 4 S. G. Bayme, 'Jewish Leadership and Anti-Semitism in Britian, 1898-1918' (Unpub? lished PhD Thesis, Columbia University, 1977) 34 and chap. 2. 5 T. M. Endelman, 'Communal Solidarity Among the Jewish Elite of Victorian London', Victorian Studies Vol. 28, No. 3 (1985) 504. 6 Bayme (see n. 4) 34. 7 Jewish Chronicle (hereafter JC) 21 Nov. 1890 p. 11. 8 M. C. N. Salbstein, The Emancipation of the Jews in Britain (London 1982) 201 and chap. 11. 9 P. Mendes-Flohr and J. Reinharz (eds) The Jew in the Modern World: A Documentary History (Oxford 1980) 133 and 132-8 collects this speech, which was originally published in the Edinburgh Review Qanuary 1831). For a recent discussion of Macaulay in this context see I. Finestein, 'A modern examination of Mac aulay's case for the emancipation of the Jews' Trans JHSE XXVIII (1984). 10 B. Williams, 'The Anti-Semitism of Tol? erance: Middle-Class Manchester and the Jews 18 70-1900' in A. J. Kidd and K. R. V. Roberts (eds) City, Class and Culture (Manchester 1985). 11 Bayme (see n.4) 1 and 317. 264</page><page sequence="13">The Post-emancipation Anglo-Jewish novel 12 T. M. Endelman, 'Native Jews and Foreign Jews in London, 1870-1914' in D. Berger (ed.) The Legacy of Jewish Migration: 1881 and its Impact (New York 1983). 13 B. Cheyette, 'An Overwhelming Ques? tion: Jewish Stereotyping in English Fiction and Society, 1875-1914' (Unpublished PhD Thesis, University of Sheffield, 1986) discusses this in full. 14 I. Finestein, Post-emancipation Jewry: The Anglo-Jewish Experience (Oxford 1986) 6. 15 L. Wolf, 'Anglo-Jewish Literary Ability', Jewish Literary Annual III (1906) 11-12. I owe this reference to Bayme (see n. 4) 38-9. 16 JC 20 May 1892 p. 9. 17 Ibid. 18 JC 27 May 1892 p. 12. 19 St James Gazette 28 Nov. 1900. 20 JC 4 Jan. 1901 p. 8 and 6 July 1901 p. 6. See also Endelman (see n. 12) 115 and David Feldman, 'Immigrants and Workers, English? men and Jews: Jewish Immigration to the East End of London, 1880-1906' (Unpublished PhD Thesis, Cambridge University, 1985). 21 JC 2 Nov. 1900 p. 19 and 25 Jan. 1901 pp. 17-18. 22 Zatlin (see n. 1) and Eleanor Farjeon, A Nursery in the Nineties (Oxford i960) 179-80. 23 JC 7 May 1875 p. 9 24 JC 23 Nov. 1877 p. I2 25 L. Zatlin, 'High Tea and Matzo Balls: Religion in the Victorian Jewish Novel' Victor? ian Newsletter (Spring 1979) 18. 26 M. F. Modder The Jew in the Literature of England (Philadelphia 1939) 312-3. 27 JC 22 June 1894 reinforces this belief. See also JC 19 April 1878 p. 4, 19 March 1880 pp. 5-6 and n. 7. 2 8 Bayme (see n. 4) 4 7-5 3. 29 JC 8 Feb. 1901 p. 8. 30 Cheyette (see n. 13) chaps. 2 and 3 for this stereotype. 31 P. Kennedy and R. Nichols (eds), Nation? alist and Racialist Movements in Britain and Germany before 1914 (Oxford 1981) 68-87 discusses this form of nationalism. 32 L. Wolf, 'Israel Zangwill, 1864-1926' Trans JHSE XI (1928) 254-6. 33 H. Fisch, The Dual Image: A Study of the Jew in English Literature (London 1971) 103. See also H. Pollins, 'Sociological Aspects of Anglo-Jewish Literature', Jewish Journal of Socio? logy Vol. II No. 1 (i960) 25-41 and E. Sicher, Beyond Marginality: Anglo-Jewish Literature after the Holocaust (New York 1985). 34 JC 2 Aug. 1889 p. 12, 13 Sept. 1889 p. 6, 6 Dec. 1889 p. 16 and Calisch (see n. 3) 159 35 Zatlin (see n. i) 97 and chap. 4. 36 JC 25 Jan. 1901 p. 19. 37 Beth Zion Lask, 'Amy Levy' Trans JHSE XI (1928) 168, 176 and 188, to which I am indebted. See also E. Wagenknecht, Daughters of the Covenant: Portraits of Six Jewish Women (Massachusetts 1983) 57-93, S. Levy, 'Amy Levy: The Writer and Her Circle' (Unpublished PhD Thesis, Oxford University, forthcoming) and my introduction to the Virago reprint of Reuben Sachs (forthcoming). 38 L. Trilling, 'The Changing Myth of the Jew', Commentary (August 1978) 34. 39 B. Cheyette (see n. 13) chap. 8 discusses Daniel Deronda in these terms. 40 Endelman (see n. 5) 525. 41 I am thinking of Eleanor Marx, Olive Schreiner, Clemintina Black and Oscar Wilde, all of whom knew Amy Levy (see n. 37). 42 JC 'The Jew in Fiction', 4 June 1886, 43 Zatlin (see n. 1)104. 44 Charlotte Klein, 'The Jew in English and German Fiction and Drama 1830-1933' (Un? published PhD Thesis, University of London, 1967)250. 45 Cheyette (see n. 13) chap. 6 discusses these writers in detail. Unpublished letter from Sidgwick to Cecil Roth, 16 October 1926 (refer? ence AJ/151/I/A/4/54, Anglo-Jewish Arch? ives). I am indebted to T. M. Endelman for this reference. 46 JC 'The Jew of Fiction, and the Jewess', 20 May 1892 p. 9. 47 R. Blathwayt, 'A Talk with Mr Zangwill', Great Thoughts IX (January 28 1893) 302. 48 B. Winehouse, 'Israel Zangwill's "Child? ren of the Ghetto": A Literary History...' in English Literature in Transition XVI (1973) 108-110. 49 JC 25 Jan. 1901. S. Aschheim, 'The East European Jew and German Jewish Identity' in J. Frankel (ed.) Studies in Contemporary Jewry (Indiana 1984) 14-19. 50 JC 17 Oct. 1890 p. 9. 51 For this argument in full, see B. Cheyette, 'The Modern Anglo-Jewish Novel and the Representation of Jews in England, 18 75-1900' in D. Cesarani (ed.) The Making of Modern Anglo-Jewry: New Essays in Anglo-Jewish History (forthcoming). 52 JC 25 Jan. 1901 p. 19. 53 JC 22 Jan. 1904 p. 8 and 29 Jan. 1904 p. 8. 54 See n. 33 for references to contemporary Anglo-Jewish fiction in these terms. 265</page></plain_text>

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