Adam Kirsch

Art Over Biology

Before 2013 begins, catch up on the best of 2012. From now until the New Year, we will be re-posting some of The New Republic’s most thought-provoking pieces of the year. Enjoy. Why Lyrics Last: Evolution, Cognition, and Shakespeare’s Sonnets By Brian Boyd (Harvard University Press, 227 pp., $25.95) Wired for Culture: Origins of the Human Social Mind By Mark Pagel (W.W. Norton, 416 pp., $29.95) The Age of Insight: The Quest to Understand the Unconscious in Art, Mind, and Brain, from Vienna 1900 to the Present By Eric R.

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The Imaginary Jew

What is genuinely illuminating in the Bech stories is not what John Updike knows about Jewishness, which is not very much, but what he imagines about

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In every respect, The World Without You marks an advance on Joshua Henkin’s previous book, Matrimony, which came out in 2007. On the spectrum of Ameri

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Laurent Binet sets out to retell the life story of Reinhard Heydrich—one of the primary architects of the Holocaust and the highest ranking Nazi offic

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To read Isaac Bashevis Singer’s collected stories is to realize the extent of American Jewish piety toward the Old World, because of its total absence

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Freedom Porn

Parallel Stories By Péter Nádas Translated by Imre Goldstein (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1,133 pp., $40)  Péter Nádas’s novel begins with the most formulaic kind of narrative device: the discovery of a corpse.

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The Wound

Mr. Sammler’s Planet is not a “Holocaust novel.” It is, emphatically, a novel about its own time and place—New York in 1969, during the summer of the

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Absent and Present

By Blood, the marvelously creepy new novel by Ellen Ullman reads like a nineteenth-century novel, but grapples with the problems of Jewish identity in

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Presciently Sad

The rediscovery of Joseph Roth has been one of the happiest literary developments of the last decade or so—perhaps the first time that the word “happy

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Lovers and Jews

In defiance of the Holocaust, Giorgio Bassani claims the Jamesian right to draw the circumference of the story where he wants it, where it is most art

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