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Saul Bellow Is Having a Very Quiet Birthday

In defense, and praise, of the champion of personality, for whom Jewishness was simply a fact of life, not an ‘identity’

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Saul Bellow Was a Cranky Essayist

A new collection of the writer’s aggrieved nonfiction sends readers running back to his masterful fiction

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Mark Greif’s Brilliant Contribution to the History of Ideas

‘The Age of the Crisis of Man’ traces the fall and rise of individualist pragmatism in America

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A Trip to the Library

‘This is a report on a library trip to Israel from a bookish girl who is now a bookish old lady’

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The Time of His Time: Letters From Norman Mailer

The turbulent private—and public—affairs of a titanic figure in American Jewish intellectual life

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The 13 Worst Jewish Fathers in Literature, From Abraham to Mr. Portnoy

They lie. They cheat. The treat their kids terribly. This Father’s Day, be thankful your own dad is such a mensch.

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Joshua Ferris Takes on All Kinds of Decay in His Ambitious New Novel

‘To Rise Again at a Decent Hour’ wrestles with faith, community, baseball, and what it means to refuse to fill your cavities

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Ben Sidran, the Original Jewish Hipster

Talking to the musician about jazz, Lenny Bruce, and being an outsider

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Dangling Men

Saul Bellow was a complicated father to his three sons. In a new book, the eldest tries to parse his inheritance.

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Don’t Ask, Don’t Ask

Artists, particularly in theater, are still plagued by the slur “Gay Commie Jew.” But how did it come about?

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On “Jewish” Writing

Starting a conversation about Jewish fiction

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Daybreak: Clinton Takes Blame for Libya Attack

Plus Knesset dissolves (itself)

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My Harold Rosenberg: Saul Bellow Fictionalized My Love Affair—Now Here’s My Version

Three decades after Saul Bellow fictionalized my love affair with the great art critic, it’s time for my version

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John Updike the Jew

In his Bech books, the great novelist of American WASPdom parsed the allure and otherness of Jewish writers

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Re-Opening the American Mind

Allan Bloom’s The Closing of the American Mind remains as important as ever, and as misunderstood, 25 years after the 1980s culture wars

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Flower Children

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

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Modern Times

Herman Wouk wrote a foundational text for American postwar Modern Orthodoxy, and for the emancipated Jewish literature in its wake

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Roth Redux

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.

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Goldstone Continues Public Psychodrama

South African judge, of notorious Goldstone Report, rejects ‘apartheid’ charge

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Sundown: Occupy Yom Kippur

Plus some reading for when you’re not eating

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Pilgrim’s Progress

Creating Jewishness in a post-religious age: Leon Uris’ Exodus and S.Y. Agnon’s Only Yesterday paint Israel’s history in broad and fine strokes

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‘Commentary’ Archive Heads to Texas

Ransom Center in Austin is a hotbed of Jewish literary papers

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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

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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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Rough Draft

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

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Less Interesting Jewish Books

Thank God we have better stuff to read

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Paddle Tale

In The Mighty Walzer, Howard Jacobson serves up not just the greatest ping-pong novel ever written but a rollicking portrait of mid-century Jewish Manchester

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Sundown: Syrian Stonewalling Called Out

Plus whom Anne Frank belongs to, and more

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The Pugilist

Friends and Politics, Part 3: Norman Podhoretz. The neoconservative icon and I weren’t personally close, but we shared a more important bond, over the struggle to defend Israel and American Jewry.

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