The Uncivil Servant: Ave Caesar!

by Mitchell Abidor   Discussed in this essay: The Landmark Julius Caesar, edited and translated by Kurt A. Raaflaub. Pantheon, 2017, 793 pages.   AS I WAS READING the magnificent new Landmark edition of Julius Caesar’s works, my initial instinct was to relate the Roman leader to the anti-democrats of today, starting — of course — with our […]

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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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The Uncivil Servant: Looking in on Western Literature

BOOKS ABOUT BOOKS by Mitchell Abidor Discussed in this essay: Essays on World Literature by Ismail Kadare, translated by Ani Kokobobo, Restless Books, 2018, 255 pages; The Wild Book by Juan Villoro, translated by Lawrence Schimel, Restless Books, 2017, 232 pages.   IT SOUNDS like damning with faint praise to call Ismail Kadare the greatest Albanian novelist, […]

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Aaron Lansky and the Gospel of Yiddish

by Bennett Muraskin   IS THERE A FUTURE for yidishkayt in North America? Aaron Lansky thinks so and offers as a model his National Yiddish Book Center in Amherst, Massachusetts. I just heard him speak at a synagogue in Livingston, New Jersey. Anyone who read his outstanding memoir, Outwitting History, would have been familiar with the first […]

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Shaul Tchernikhovsky

Hebrew poet Shaul Tchernikhovsky, twice awarded Israel’s Bialik Prize for Literature, was born in Russian Empire on this date in 1875. He became a doctor in 1906 and served as a medical officer in World War I. In 1931 he settled in Palestine, where he would work as doctor for the Tel Aviv schools while writing poetry […]

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Yiddish Vilna Before the Destruction

COLORFUL SKETCHES FROM THE INTERWAR YEARS by Martha Roth From the Autumn 2016 issue of Jewish Currents Discussed in this essay: Vilna My Vilna: Stories by Abraham Karpinowitz, translated from the Yiddish by Helen Mintz. Syracuse University Press, 2016, 216 pages. WHAT A PLACE it  must have been — the Jerusalem of Lithuania,  the Paris […]

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A Conversation with Bernard-Henri Lévy

by Mitchell Abidor Shortly after undertaking my review of Bernard-Henri Lévy’s The Genius of Judaism, but before completing it, I was able to interview Lévy before his conversation at the 92 Street Y ( January 11). He arrived late, so the interview, which was conducted in French, was brief. —M.A. Q: In 1968, during the […]

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Paul Celan as Existentialist Poet

THE COMPLEX BEAUTY OF HIS LATE POEMS by Marc Jampole from the Autumn 2016 issue of Jewish Currents Discussed in this essay: Breathturn into Timestead: The Collected Later Poetry, by Paul Celan, translated from the German by Pierre Joris. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2014, 736 pages. MOST PEOPLE know poets by one or two poems […]

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