Friday, July 25, 2014 Tammuz 27, 5774
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Vitebsk. If the name has a familiar ring, it might be because this was the Byelorussian town where Marc Chagall was born and raised, and that provided him with a magical landscape for much of his art. You may particularly recall the sight of a couple, dressed in their provincial, bohemian finery, flying "Over the Town," as the painting was...
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When he's not investigating certain arcane wrinkles in the religious mystical tradition, Harold Bloom, that ever-prodigious man of letters, seems determined to corner the market on literary criticism through analyses of every conceivable genre. (He has made no secret of the fact that he's an insomniac, which helps explain the vast array of sizable books he's produced throughout his long...
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I am generally opposed on principle to books like Mazel Tov , which is subtitled Celebrities' Bar and Bat Mitzvah Memories . Its bare-bones premise, expressed by the title and its accompaniment, makes it seem like a pure product of the celebrity culture, which will simply pander to the gossipy, People -magazine-loving side of our personalities. These lowest-common-denominator kind of...
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About a month ago, while discussing Jerome Rothenberg's ambitious three-part poem called Tryptych , which touches on numerous and sundry Jewish themes, I asked what I think is still one of the central aesthetic questions of our time: Can art of any kind encompass the enormity of the Holocaust? Now that we're well into the new millennium, you would think...
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Seasoned author takes on a new topic
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The question at the heart of Janet Malcolm's new book Two Lives: Gertrude and Alice -- how did a pair of elderly Jewish lesbians survive the Nazis? -- is unmistakably intriguing; more than a little provocative; startling, actually, despite the fact that we live in an age when the concept of a private life has become downright laughable. Secrets are...
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