So much of American Jewish pop-culture sets out to shame the audience, one wonders why there's such an appetite for it.
Susan Sontag kept saying hello to George Steiner, louder and louder, as he stared out the bus window refusing to answer. More or less standard behavior for both of them . . .
We now understand Sigmund Freud as an anxious Jewish humanist, not the intrepid scientific investigator he thought himself to be. Does that help explain why his interpretations seem so talmudic?
A Spielbergian Fable with an Opaque Moral.
Baram’s characters are righteously indignant at the system and determined to bring it down.
Julien Benda’s The Treason of the Intellectuals is one of those books that is famous even though no one actually reads it. Can it help keep those whose business it is to think in public on the straight path? Did it help Benda?
Alexander Hamilton was, as the song goes, a “bastard, orphan, son of a whore and a Scotsman.” Was he also a Jew? Well, he did go to Hebrew School in the West Indies, but ...
The idea of a scribe who, like El Hanani, sets to work every day but never produces the same text twice—or never produces a legible text at all—would have appealed to Franz Kafka.
Adam Kirsch, one of our favorite contemporary critics, sits down with Abe Socher to discuss everything from his childhood (turns out, a critic’s eye does run in families), to why…
The Lehman Trilogy, both the novel and the play, are mythic in scale, using three generations of the Lehman family (one per section of the “trilogy”) as characters in a didactic pageant about capitalism, America, modernity—and Jewishness, which plays an unsavory role in the proceedings.
In Morningstar Heights, Joshua Henkin tells his story simply and directly, with a narrative economy that conceals much close observation and human understanding. These have always been the strengths of his work, though they are not the qualities best rewarded in contemporary American fiction.
In the 14 years since he published the Five Books of Moses, Alter has steadily progressed through the Tanakh, producing translations that aim at something like a 21st-century American equivalent of what he has called the “simple yet grand” English of the King James Version, while attending closely to the literary techniques of the Hebrew text. We asked a learned, eclectic group of six critics to discuss the results.
The scroll, which was originally a secular technology, became closely associated with Judaism at a time when Christians were adopting the codex for their holy books.
The radical publisher Verso has re-issued Isaac Deutscher’s The Non-Jewish Jew: And Other Essays. But what is a “non-Jewish Jew”? And what was Deutscher?
Outside of Germany, Nathan the Wise is one of those works more often read than performed, and more often read about than actually read.
Lincoln encountered a surprising number of Jews in his life. Throughout, he seems to have treated them with the benevolence and absence of prejudice one would expect from the Great Emancipator.
It is in his stories, rather than his novels, that Malamud emerged as a unique writer. A new series brings new exposure to both.
Proust and Bialik were both great literary modernists, but they aren’t usually thought of together. Reading In Search of Lost Time in light of “Halacha and Aggada.”
For an American Jew to read the magnificently funny and serious Howard Jacobson is to understand just how different the situation of English Jews is from their own.
The director of the landmark documentary Shoah, Claude Lanzmann, has written a memoir, which sheds new light on his death-defying life.
A newly published collection of letters shows a new, softer side of Rosa Luxemburg.
Part of Trilling's mystique came from the way he seemed "to be a Jew and yet not Jewish."
Religion, faith, and the search for tenure at Harvard underpin a comic novel by Rebecca Newberger Goldstein.