Adam Kirsch

Modern Supernaturalism
April 24, 2012

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

Freedom Porn
April 20, 2012

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.

The Wound
March 19, 2012

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

Absent and Present
February 29, 2012

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

Presciently Sad
February 08, 2012

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

Lovers and Jews
January 24, 2012

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

The Individual Soul
December 06, 2011

Writing the story of the Holocaust is a futile ambition—not because the events of 1939 to 1945 are too horrible to be told, but because they are too v

Brushes with Jewishness
November 07, 2011

Is there a Jewish Art? Such questions are very familiar in modern Jewish cultural debates; they are regularly asked about Jewish writers. With the vis

The Inner Clamor
October 26, 2011

Alfred Kazin’s Journals Selected and edited by Richard M. Cook (Yale University Press, 598 pp., $45)  “As a man is, so he sees. As the eye is formed, such are its powers.” Alfred Kazin reveled in William Blake’s words in 1944, at the age of twenty-nine, as he stood in the Huntington Library turning the pages of The Marriage of Heaven and Hell. When he described this epiphany in New York Jew, the third volume of his memoirs, Kazin clearly wanted the reader to be swept up, as he was, by the sovereignty of the Blakean self: “All is within the vaulting leaping mind of man,” he continues.

The Self-Made Man
September 28, 2011

The nameless narrator of Lawrence Douglas’ new novel seems cut out to be the butt of an academic satire. Like so many fictional professors before him—

Pages