Tuesday, 8 December 2009
The King of Schorrers, first published in 1894, tells the story of Manasseh Bueno Barzillai Azevedo da Costa, a proud and resorceful Sephardic Jew with a very confident view of his place in the world. An irrascible rogue, Zangwill places his beggar in late-18th century London, which he describes so brilliantly that the book has is only entertaining, but also has historic value. The city is real, the social settings are real, and the fictional Manasseh strides like a lord through it all.
When it was first published the book took London by storm. Zangwill never made the same impact as his contemporaries and friends, such as H.G. Wells and Jerome K. Jerome, but his work remains amongst the best social commentary of its time. Manasseh was possibly the Arthur Daley or Del Trotter of his day, and this book (which is available through Amazon) is one of the most under-rated of English classics. 10/10
Isreal Zangwill The King of Schorrers (2003 edition) Dover Publications
Posted by Gary at 08:26