In his Bech books, the great novelist of American WASPdom parsed the allure and otherness of Jewish writers
The funny, sad Dark Horse adds a creepy loser in love to the director’s catalog of misanthropes
Does the president really know more about Judaism than John Adams and James Madison did?
Hebrew University professor Bernard Avishai’s playful new critical look at Philip Roth’s 1969 classic digs deep into the novel’s neurotic passion
New artwork, ‘Every Inch A Man,’ features ‘The Great American Novel’
Saul Bellow’s Mr. Sammler’s Planet is a document of the cravings of 1960s America, and an attempt to bring the Holocaust to bear on America
Three of the five memoirs up for a National Book Critics Circle award are by Jewish women, who somehow leave out the juiciest introspection
Herman Wouk wrote a foundational text for American postwar Modern Orthodoxy, and for the emancipated Jewish literature in its wake
In the new collected stories of Nathan Englander, and in his revised Haggadah, Jews cling tenuously to the easily broken chains of tradition
Joseph Heller, who embodied masculinity in American postwar literature, for better and for worse, chronicled a major shift in American Jewish identity
Introducing The Rebutter
Philip Roth’s defenders point to his later, more serious works to argue for his place in the canon. In truth, those books make clearer his weaknesses.
Holocaust survivor Aharon Appelfeld, Israel’s greatest living writer and author of the new Until the Dawn’s Light, retains his capacity for wonder
Today on Tablet
Philip Roth’s legacy of writerly narcissism left a generation of young novelists with the wrong idea of what makes great literature
Henry Miller had complicated feelings about Jews, but his works wouldn’t have reached American audiences without them
In the final phase of his literary life, Harold Bloom, like Philip Roth, refuses to relinquish his vitality
Syrian poet Adonis favored; Roth at 25:1
Ransom Center in Austin is a hotbed of Jewish literary papers
Reading books like Franny and Zooey as a child in California made Jews seem an exotic minority. In New York, they seem like any old hegemony.
Plus Perry goes kosher, the fatal mustache, and more
The American Jewish response to Sept. 11 interprets—but doesn’t explain—the anti-Semitism, trauma, and mourning that still linger after the attacks
A few more suggestions
Anthony Weiner, Eliot Spitzer, and Dominique Strauss-Kahn are all a certain type: the Jewish Big, narcissistic, entitled, and unapologetic. And society loves to see a Jewish Big fall.
‘Far to Go’ tells of Czech Jews in the 1930s
Two new books, The Druggist of Auschwitz and Reluctant Accomplice, offer true stories of average citizens’ divergent responses to Nazi rule. They help us examine our own rationalization of genocide.
Comment of the week
Alfred Kazin’s journals were more than just repositories for literary reflections; they were the laboratories in which he fashioned the writer—and Jew—he aspired to be