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The Poisoned Chalice

David Brauner contemplates the problems of writing a literary biography of Philip Roth. First, we had the previews of the Philip Roth biography by Blake Bailey (reviewed for JewThink by Donald Weber) – notably Joshua Cohen, assuming the voice of the dead Roth (a trick Tim Parrish had pulled off with more wit and elan […]

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The Jewishness of a Very Palestinian Intellectual

Aidan Joseph Beatty reviews a new biography of Edward Said. At the very start of the current millennium, in the decade-long interregnum after the end of the Cold War and before the War on Terror, Edward Said, by then the most commanding voice for Palestinian causes in the West, informed the vaguely centrist Israeli journalist […]

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COVID, Ducks and Balak the Crazy Dog

A dream-like state. Thousands of random flashing images gradually replaced by a piercing, high frequency sine-wave and my wife’s urgent pleas to ‘wake up! Wake up! Kirk, wake up!’ After initial confusion, I realised I had passed out in the lobby of our apartment block. I remembered exiting the lift and telling my wife I […]

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‘The Plot Against America’ comes back to haunt me

I can vividly remember reading Philip Roth’s novel when it was published in 2004 and being completely gobsmacked that Charles Lindbergh was the American President. We were on holiday in Portugal in the same place we’d gone back to every year since who knows when, for a week of walking, Scrabble and reading. I can still […]

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What types of Jewish culture have you been consuming during the pandemic?

To answer this question, I return to a beginning – a discovery in graduate school where my work concentrated on the history and theories of British literature.  When we reached the twentieth century, devoid of Jewish content, it was the Anglo-Irish writer Elizabeth Bowen who inspired my fascination with British Jewish history and culture.  Although I found Bowen a compelling writer, it was her treatment of British antisemitism […]

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