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The Uncivil Servant: London Alexanderplatz

by Mitchell Abidor   Discussed in this essay: Berlin Alexanderplatz by Alfred Döblin, translated by Michael Hofmann. NYRB Classics, 2018, 458 pages.   ALFRED DOBLIN’S Berlin Alexanderplatz, originally published in 1929,  achieved its greatest fame in the English-speaking world in 1983 when Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s version, made for German TV, was released here. That was also […]

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Zemirovsky’s Flight from the Juif

ASSIMILATION AND DISSIMULATION by Zelda Gamson Discussed in this essay: The Nemirovsky Question: The Life, Death and Legacy of a Jewish Writer in 20th-Century France, by Susan Rubin Suleiman. Yale University Press, 2016, 376 pages. from the Autumn 2017 issue of Jewish Currents   THE LIFE could have made a good novel, and she might even have […]

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Oy, Rumania, Rumania

by Marty Roth Discussed in this essay: For Two Thousand Years, by Mihail Sebastian. Published in 1934, now translated by Philip Ó Ceallaigh into English, 2017, Other Press, 256 pages.   ARTHUR MILLER said that the Romanian Jewish writer Mihail Sebastian (1907-1945) wrote like Chekhov; Philip Roth that Sebastian’s Journal 1935-1944 deserves to be on the same shelf as The […]

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Clancy Sigal’s 20th-Century Road Trip

by Marty Roth   “He was a romantic man, Clancy. The Left was then romantic, heroic, monitored by the ghosts of heroes and heroines.” —Doris Lessing THE ROLLER COASTER that was Clancy Sigal’s life and career has shut down, the lights turned off. What is still worth savoring? Although he was celebrated as a legendary figure […]

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The Uncivil Servant: Fame and Disillusionment

by Mitchell Abidor Discussed in this essay: Late Fame by Arthur Schnitzler. NYRB Classics, 2017, 128 pages.    ARTHUR SCHNITZLER (1862-1931) was so central a figure in Viennese literary life in the first decades of the 20th century that the great cultural historian Peter Gay titled his book on the development of bourgeois culture between the Battle […]

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Diary of a Mad Housewife

Sue Kaufman, author of The Diary of a Mad Housewife (1967) and six other works of fiction before committing suicide after a long depression at age 50, was born on Long Island on this date in 1926. She was a graduate of Vassar, achieved early success as a freelance writer, and published her first novel, The Happy Summer Days, in 1959. Kaufman had […]

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November 12: Rosemary’s Daddy

Ira Levin, author of plays and novels that became major film, television and theatrical productions, including Rosemary’s Baby, A Kiss Before Dying, No Time for Sergeants (the play, adapted from a novel), The Stepford Wives, and The Boys from Brazil, died at 78 on this date in 2007. His best-known play is Deathtrap, the longest-running […]

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