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David Rakoff, a contributor to our site, died Aug. 9, 2012, after a battle with cancer. He was 47.

Some years ago, Rakoff wrote an essay on the life and work of Viennese writer Felix Salten. The creator of Bambi, Salten was a European Jew who wrote soft porn and a prominent critic in early 20th-century Austria. In concert with this essay, Rakoff joined Vox Tablet host Sara Ivry for a podcast conversation about the brutality in Bambi, about Salten’s place in literary society, and about the dark side of fairy tales—and life.

We re-run this piece now to celebrate David Rakoff, whose wit, warmth, and grace come across in every utterance, and whose reading of a particularly wrenching scene from Bambi gives a sense both of the work’s violence and of Rakoff’s own captivating voice. [Running time: 19:12.] 

May his memory be for a blessing.