Literature

Email lit sends wrong message

By Gerald Jacobs, May 30, 2013

What was the earliest English novel?

Though preceded by such eminent works of fiction as Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe (1719) and Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels (1726), Samuel Richardson’s Pamela (1740) is often cited as the first “proper” novel written in English.

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Fact (and fiction also): Budapest-based author completes a notable double

By Gerald Jacobs, May 30, 2013

Hungary is not the best place to be Jewish at the moment, with rising antisemitism and the extreme nationalist Jobbik party a major force in the country’s parliament. Earlier this month, on the eve of the World Jewish Congress’s defiant plenary assembly in Budapest, Jobbik was allowed to stage a quasi-military antisemitic rally.

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Francesca Segal wins $100,000 prize for The Innocents

By Zoe Winograd, May 29, 2013

British author Francesca Segal has won the prestigious Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish literature in fiction for her debut novel The Innocents.

The prize, which is awarded by the New York Jewish Book Council , is worth $100,000 (£66,000).

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Poem by celebrated Victorian feminist sold at auction

By Jennifer Lipman, May 9, 2013

One of the final writings of a Victorian Jew who Oscar Wilde praised as a "girl of genius" has been auctioned for £3,500.

The poem by Amy Levy, At Dawn, was sold at Bonhams on Wednesday for £500 more than anticipated.

Written around 1889, shortly before Levy's suicide, it is the first time any of her work had been made for sale.

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Dickens’s Jew — from evil to delightful

By Charles Drazin, May 3, 2013

When David Lean directed Oliver Twist 65 years ago, the character of Fagin had already been long established as a popular villain. There was the serialisation and subsequent editions of Charles Dickens's novel, while the celebrated actor-manager Herbert Beerbohm Tree played the part in a successful stage version in 1905. And there had been many film adaptations.

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The tragic poet Oscar Wilde called a genius

By Jennifer Lipman, April 26, 2013

A handwritten poem written by one of Victorian Jewry's most highly-regarded writers and feminist thinkers shortly before her suicide is expected to fetch up to £3,000 when it is auctioned next month.

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Book gives crash course on glatt sex for Orthodox

By Nathan Jeffay, April 26, 2013

In 1999, Rabbi Shmuley Boteach wrote Kosher Sex. Now, there’s glatt sex.

For what is believed to be the first time, from next month, Charedim will be able to buy a Hebrew-language sex guide written especially for them.

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Review: Children of the sun

By John Nathan, April 22, 2013

Unlike his contemporary Chekhov, it’s not only Russia’s pre-revolutionary privileged class who populate Maxim Gorky’s plays but a hostile and starving proletariat. This work, which the political dramatist and activist wrote from his St Petersburg prison during Russia’s aborted 1905 revolution, gives a sense of them circling the home of scientist Protasov.

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Herzog play for London

By Jennifer Lipman, April 18, 2013

The play that put a Jewish-American writer in the running for a Pulitzer Prize, will be staged in London next month.

Amy Herzog was named as a finalist for the most prestigious award in American culture this week, for 4000 Miles, her drama about the reunion between a communist grandmother and her 21-year-old grandson.

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Last woman standing as four fail to make shortlist

By Jennifer Lipman, April 18, 2013

With five Jewish writers nominated for the annual Women’s Prize for Fiction, sheer probability alone would have meant at least one would make the shortlist.

In the event, only A M Homes remains a contender for the £30,000 award— formerly called the Orange Prize — after Francesca Segal, Shani Boianjiu, Deborah Copaken Kogan and Sheila Heti failed to make the cut this week.

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