Adam Kirsch

Positively Jewish
June 25, 2010

Sacks omits the existential dimension of faith, the one in which each of us must decide for him- or herself whether to believe and why. Nor does he re

Why Do We Care About Countries We'll Never Go To?
June 24, 2010

This week, as I looked forward to the launch of Entanglements, I happened to be reading selections from the Spectator of Addison and Steele.

No Prize
June 08, 2010

If you were an immigrant sailing into New York harbor at the close of the nineteenth century, the first building to catch your eye would have been the

Heirs to the Throne
May 11, 2010

As Robert Alter puts it in his new study, America, even more than England itself, was affected by a “biblicizing impulse”: “It was in America that the

Flight of Fancy
April 29, 2010

The Escape is a carnival of allusions, silently incorporating phrases and situations from a whole roster of other writers and challenging the reader t

Axis of Evil
April 21, 2010

Koranic anti-Judaism, European anti-Semitism, Arab anti-Zionism: mix them together and you have an intoxicatingly paranoid worldview, in which Jews ar

Exodus '56
March 30, 2010

From beginning to end, From the Four Winds is a didactic book. Its ideas are not new ideas, and a reader who has heard them many times before may wel

Austen in Connecticut
March 19, 2010

Reading The Three Weissmanns of Westport, the new novel by Cathleen Schine, is a curious experience. Even as you turn the pages, following the genteel

Against Beauty
March 16, 2010

One of the running jokes in On Beauty, Zadie Smith’s third novel, is that its main character is philosophically opposed to beauty. Howard Belsey is a professor of art history at Wellington College, and like all middle-aged professors in campus novels, he is a ludicrous figure--unfaithful to his wife, disrespected by his children, and, of course, unable to finish the book he has been talking about for years. In Howard’s case, the book is meant to be a demolition of Rembrandt, whose canvases he sees as key sites for the production of the Western ideology of beauty. “What we’re trying to ...

The Other Secret Jews
February 15, 2010

In The Dönme: Jewish Converts, Muslim Revolutionaries, and Secular Turks, Marc David Baer has produced the first scholarly study of this group. That i