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The Whitechapel Renaissance and its Legacies: Rosenberg to Rodker

Grafen, Alexander; (2020) The Whitechapel Renaissance and its Legacies: Rosenberg to Rodker. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London).

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This thesis studies the writing and painting of several members of a generation that grew up in the Jewish East End in the early twentieth century, mostly the children of immigrants from the Russian Empire. Previous work on the subjects of this thesis has tended towards one of two approaches. Either it has taken them as peripheral members of various groupings: for example, the war poets or the Bloomsbury Group. Alternatively, and with increasing frequency, they have been tied together as the ‘Whitechapel Boys’, a grouping with merit, but which implies a greater degree of organisation and coherency of aim than the evidence supports. The thesis contains chapters on Stephen Winsten, Mark Gertler, John Rodker and Isaac Rosenberg. It attempts to assess the descriptive and explanatory power of the ‘Whitechapel Boys’ as a label, while remaining attentive to the agendas and strategies of the figures taken separately. More broadly, it looks at the significance of the Jewish East End in early twentieth-century cultural production. On the one hand, my thesis considers this question in the terms of how these writers and artists were shaped by the Jewish East End: through its philanthropic and educational institutions; the opportunities it presented and the strictures it imposed; its political and linguistic commixture. On the other, it looks at how popular, frequently antisemitic conceptions of the Jewish East End conditioned the interactions of the Whitechapel Boys with different coteries, critics and little magazines in London. It asks how those conceptions changed, especially during the First World War, and how they were adapted to theories of literary and artistic renewal. What is under study then is not so much a countable number of Whitechapel Boys, but a Whitechapel Renaissance, understood as a collection of sociological conditions, contemporary conceptions and subsequent nostalgia.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: The Whitechapel Renaissance and its Legacies: Rosenberg to Rodker
Event: UCL (University College London)
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © The Author 2020. Original content in this thesis is licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) Licence (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/). Any third-party copyright material present remains the property of its respective owner(s) and is licensed under its existing terms. Access may initially be restricted at the author’s request. - Some third party copyright material has been removed from this e-thesis.
Keywords: East End, Isaac Rosenberg, John Rodker, Mark Gertler, Stephen Winsten, David Bomberg, Whitechapel Boys, Jewish, modernism, antisemitism, twentieth century, Yiddish, Thomas Moult, Leo Koenig, Leo Kenig, Colour, Voices, Renesans, Gilbert Cannan, D. H. Lawrence, Wyndham Lewis, war poetry, Samuel Roth, Art and Letters
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Arts and Humanities
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10096737
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