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Master storyteller and literary stylist Bernard Malamud is considered one of the top three most influential postwar American Jewish writers, having established a voice and a presence for other authors in the literary canon. Along with Philip Roth and Saul Bellow, Malamud brought to life a decidedly American Jewish protagonist and a newly emergent voice that came to define American letters and that has continued to influence writers for over half a century. This collection is a tribute to Malamud in honor of the hundredth anniversary of his birth. Literary critic Harold Bloom suggests that "Malamud is perhaps the purest storyteller since Leskov," the nineteenth-century Russian novelist and satirist. Novelist Cynthia Ozick, in a tribute to Malamud, described him as "the very writer who had brought into being a new American idiom of his own idiosyncratic invention."
Unlike other collections devoted to Malamud, this collection is international in scope, compiling diverse essays from the United States, France, Germany, Greece, and Spain, and demonstrating the wide range of scholarship and approaches to Bernard Malamud’s fiction. The essays show the breadth and depth of this masterful craftsman and explore through his short fiction and his novels such topics as the Malamudian protagonist’s relation to the urban/natural space; Malamud’s approach to death; race and ethnicity; the Malamudian hero as modern schlemiel; and the role of fantasy in Malamud’s fiction.
Bernard Malamud is a comprehensive collection that celebrates a voice that helped to shape the last fifty years of literary works. Readers of American literary criticism and Jewish studies alike will appreciate this collection.
Bernard Malamud: A Centennial Tribute is an essential addition to Malamud scholarship. Gathering accomplished transatlantic scholars to revisit Malamud’s central role in twentieth-century Jewish-American fiction, this timely, exemplary collection freshly illuminates Malamud’s preoccupations and places his work in vivid conversation with the work of other American and European writers.
– Debra Shostak, Mildred Foss Thompson Professor of English Language and Literature, the College of Wooster
Bernard Malamud was one of the great Jewish literary icons of the twentieth century. The essays in this volume reveal an international and cross-cultural dialogue bound to illuminate both scholarly and lay readers. Victoria Aarons and Gustavo Sánchez Canales deserve our appreciation.
– Alan L. Berger, Raddock Family Eminent Scholar Chair in Holocaust Studies
A volume of this scope and significance, marking the centennial of Bernard Malamud’s birth, is long overdue. Bernard Malamud is arguably one of the major postwar writers whose work, connecting immigrant literature with postwar literature, changed American writing and American Jewish writing in a profound way. No other volume like this one exists, combining the work of Malamud scholars in the United States and Europe, and pointing to the continuing evolving relevance of Malamud’s work for a global audience in the twenty-first century. The editors and contributors have made a major contribution to the field in this impressive volume that is a fitting tribute to the lasting legacy of Bernard Malamud.
– Avinoam Patt, Maurice Greenberg Center for Judaic Studies, University of Hartford
This Centennial Tribute delivers significant new insights into the writing and the life of the exemplary American author Bernard Malamud. With internationally known contributors from the U.S. and abroad, the collection enacts a global dialogue on such pertinent issues as Malamud’s unique literary voice, his representation of the ethical life, and his legacy. As such, the contributors honor the linguistic fluidity and adaptability we associate with Malamud himself, whose own representation of the American Jewish landscape has changed the way we think about canonical literature in the twentieth century.
– Aimee Pozorski, professor of English at Central Connecticut State University