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Lost Books

An archive of the best books lost in the stacks

Tablet Magazine
June 03, 2011
(Joanna Neborsky)
(Joanna Neborsky)

We scoured Tablet Magazine’s and’s archives to find books (and their writers) long forgotten. Each week we will feature one lost book and the story behind it. So blow the dust off the cover, and begin!

Hurst and Hurston: Seventy years after their road trip, the best-selling sentimental novelist has run out of gas, while Zora is still in the driver’s seat. By Kate Bolick

No Exit: Raised in the last golden days of the Hapsburgs, the Viennese writer Stefan Zweig found his world shattered by war. By Jennifer Weisberg

Restoration Project: Where have all Bernard Malamud’s readers gone? By Rachel Donadio

Back from the Shadows: Dovid Bergelson’s skepticism served him poorly in life but sublimely in art. By Boris Fishman

Third Look: On rereading Leonard Michaels’s I Would Have Saved Them If I Could. By Shalom Auslander

The Odd-Bod: In literary London, Elias Canetti was everybody’s favorite refugee. By Jonathan Wilson

School Ties: Jacques de Lacretelle won praise when he wrote in Dreyfus’ shadow, but today his portrait of a prep-school peer looks grotesque. By Paul LaFarge

Glamour and Peril: Tempestuous, cold, and intensely private, Elsa Morante considered herself a genius. Are others finally starting to agree? By Andrea Crawford

Melting Point: British playwright Israel Zangwill coined America’s most enduring metaphor as his reputation dissolved in controversy. By Chloe Veltman

Give ‘Em Hecht: A young Chicago newspaperman thought he was perfect for the part of his hero. By Neal Pollack

The Spy Who Loved Me: An Israeli thriller that captivated Graham Greene. By Paul LaFarge

King of the Forest: The Viennese pornographer turned critic who dreamed up Bambi. By David Rakoff

Funny Guys Finish Last: Philip Roth and Bruce Jay Friedman were rising stars in the 1960s. Roth became part of the canon. Friedman became “that guy who wrote Splash.” By Meg Wolitzer

Westward Expansion: Prostitutes, Christian Scientists, cross-dressing teachers. By Margy Rochlin

A Fine Mess: How a filmmaker turned his movie flop into a groundbreaking book. By Lawrence Levi

Asch’s Passion: A popular Yiddish novelist strove for immortality by taking on Jesus, but it cost him his core audience and made him a marked man. By Ellen Umansky

So Big: Human awkwardness was at the heart of Edna Ferber’s popular novels, but she shied away from writing about the outsiders she knew best. By Mollie Wilson

Fall From Grace: In 1843, British novelist Grace Aguilar was a household name on both sides of the Atlantic. So how come we’ve never heard of her? By Justin Taylor

A Woman Out of Time: In 1938, at the height of U.S. isolationism, Americans devoured Phyllis Bottome’s chronicle of a German-Jewish family’s struggle to survive under the Nazi regime. By Andrea Crawford

Regatta Land: Amid Harvard’s ivy-covered bricks, the hero of Myron Kaufmann’s Remember Me to God struggles to become part of the in crowd. By Josh Lambert

Great Pretenders: In Romain Gary’s family, invention was the necessity of mother and son. By Emma Garman

Wartime Truths: In 1945, Jerzy Andrzejewski’s novel of the Warsaw ghetto enraged Poles and Jews alike. How will it read to audiences today? By Andrea Crawford

Dizzy with Life: Clarice Lispector’s gorgeous, vibrant writings made one writer’s head—and heart—spin. By Anderson Tepper

Storm Warning: The surprising alliance at the heart of John Oliver Killens. By Josh Lambert

In Bloom: Pearl Buck breathes life into a disappearing Chinese community. By Jennifer Cody Epstein

Toward the Abyss: The final work of a doomed Yiddish novelist. By Elizabeth Mitchell

The Student Who Wouldn’t Go Away: How a bumbling immigrant from Kiev became a literary sensation. By Jennifer Weisberg

What Happened to Mary Berg? A young girl’s account of the Warsaw Ghetto was a big success. Then the diary—and its author—disappeared. By Amy Rosenberg

The Good of ‘A Bad Man:’ How Stanley Elkin hit his stride. By Sarah Almond

The Hermit of Oliphant: After the literary pioneer Dvora Baron immigrated to Palestine, she never again ventured out. By Haim Watzman

The Road Not Taken: Decades before Herzl, Benjamin Disraeli wrote a novel that grappled with Zionism. By Adam Kirsch

Third Life: For Jakov Lind, reinvention was the heart of fiction. By Sasha Weiss

The Paragraph That Changed My Life: On Yaakov Shabtai’s Past Continuous. By Todd Hask-Lowy

Baruch Obama: How a black president was imagined as a Jewish one, more or less. By Ben Greenman

Comeback Kid: Having failed to assimilate, Ludwig Lewisohn went on to write the great American Jewish novel. By Josh Lambert

Beginning of the End: Decadence and anti-Semitism in Arthur Schnitzler’s Vienna. By Wesley Yang

Touchy Subject: Frederick Busch feared his novel Invisible Mending would upset readers. He didn’t anticipate his own discomfort. By Andrea Crawford

Child’s Play: Seventy years ago, a contentious novel scrutinized Judaism through the eyes of a young boy. By Sasha Weiss

Where the Heart Is: A 1951 novel parses the meaning of home. By Elizabeth Gumport

Swallowed Whole: Réjean Ducharme’s mysterious 1966 novel. By Benjamin Nugent

Big Bang: With Lionel Trilling and Robert Giroux cheerleading, Sam Astrachan had a stellar future. Then the glimmer faded. By Josh Lambert

A Wanderer in the Desert: How a tubercular shoemaker became a great Yiddish poet. By Jacqueline Osherow

Of a Feather: Communing with Bernard Malamud’s Jewbird. By Joe Hill

From the editors at Tablet Magazine