“Hurrah to Be a Goy!”: Stevie Smith and Suburban Satire

  • Kristin Bluemel


Novel on Yellow Paper boasts the same, quirky, comical charms of the poetry that later made Stevie Smith famous. It is also distinguished, with Smith’s second novel Over the Frontier and her wartime stories and sketches, by a commitment to integrating probing, often unflattering portrayals of English gentiles’ attitudes toward Jews within a distinctly intermodern imagining of heroic English resistance to Hitler and Fascism. Like Orwell’s essays that address the problem of anti-Semitism in Britain, Smith’s fiction makes discomforting inquires into the ordinary English citizen’s complicity with Hitler’s treatment of Jews, of what Pompey Casmilus describes in Novel on Yellow Paper as “the sort of vicious cruelty that isn’ t battlecruelty, but doing people to death in lavatories” (104).1 Also like Orwell’s writing, her literary treatments of Jews earned her a reputation for anti-Semitism.2


Regional Identity English People Radical Eccentricity Suburban Home Yellow Paper 
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© Kristin Bluemel 2004

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  • Kristin Bluemel

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