Divine Right

The Sept. 11 attacks altered many people’s convictions. For ultra-Orthodox Jews, they reinforced a strongly held belief in divine authority.

The Non-Belonger

Alfred Kazin brought out the Jew in Emerson, the mystic in sex, and the terrible beauty in community. There’s no better guide for the “social me” age.

No Escape

The American Jewish response to Sept. 11 interprets—but doesn’t explain—the anti-Semitism, trauma, and mourning that still linger after the attacks

Yiddishkeit

The last fully realized work by Harvey Pekar illuminates the bluntness and delight of American Yiddish in the last century. A new excerpt.

Darling Wendy

A breathless biography of Wendy Wasserstein hints at the tensions in the playwright’s life but, like its subject, fails to confront them

Caracas Retreat

Junketing to South America in the late 1960s with Robert Lowell, a wealthy Venezuelan, and Alfred Kazin. An excerpt from the forthcoming memoir Lucky Bruce.

In the Picture

Bruce Jay Friedman’s darkly comic novels, short stories, and screenplays place him among the past century’s best American writers. In his new memoir, Lucky Bruce, he reminisces about many of them.

Parlor Games

In his novel The Vices, Lawrence Douglas spins a Nabokovian web of intrigue and self-deception that hints at the way Jewish identity is constructed and performed

War Poet

In new translations of his poems about soldiers, disappearance, and life cycles, Israeli poet Yitzhak Laor uses biblical allusions, humor, and rage to explore the absurdities of modern Israeli life

Partisan

The Spanish writer Jorge Semprún, who died in June, survived Buchenwald and had a love-hate relationship with Communism in postwar Europe. A longtime friend remembers his star power and derring-do.

Jerusalem Stone

Robert Stone’s 1998 novel Damascus Gate sets spies, cultists, and terrorists loose in the Holy Land

On the Bookshelf

Jews have always been keen on joining revolutions. Some revolutionaries, like Emma Goldman, sought to change the minds of workers; others, like Richard Feynman, looked to change our understanding of matter.

Prophet Margin

The poet Joseph Lease waxes prophetic while wondering what prophesy can mean in an age of corporate greed and round-the-clock cable news

Growing Pains: Delmore Schwartz, Forgotten Genius

The writer Delmore Schwartz is largely forgotten today, but he once captured the anxieties and hopes of the Jewish intellectuals of the 1930s and stunned his generation with his poems and short stories

Dreamer

Delmore Schwartz, once one of America’s most celebrated writers, died mad and forgotten, having produced little in his later life. His story remains a compelling cautionary tale for American Jews.

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