Two Worlds Critical Context - Essay

David Daiches

Critical Context

(Literary Essentials: Nonfiction Masterpieces)

The reviewers who discussed Two Worlds in 1956, the year of its American publication, primarily considered the specific identity of the author. David Daiches was a distinguished scholar, writer, and university lecturer descended from a long line of Orthodox Jewish rabbis. George Adelman, reviewing the memoir for Library Journal, Saul Bellow, writing for Saturday Review, Milton Hindus, writing for Chicago Sunday Tribune, and several others saw the book as one written by a master of language and literature, humorous and appealing, a Jewish story of a memorable father by his son.

What seems to have been ignored is the implicit but universal struggle of the son. In that sense, the true story has much broader appeal and wider relevance. Twelve years after the first American publication of Two Worlds, William G. Perry, Jr., published Forms of Intellectual and Ethical Development in the College Years (1968), in which he discussed results of interviewing large groups of students at Harvard University during their undergraduate years. He concluded that normal development involves a questioning and reassessment of family and community values and a final definition of oneself related to an informed choice of vocation. In the same year, Erik H. Erikson first published Identity, Youth, and Crisis (1968) and confirmed many of Perry’s conclusions about adolescent development.

Stories of such...

(The entire section is 460 words.)