Open Access (free)
Author: David Brauner

This is a comprehensive and definitive study of the Man Booker Prize-winning novelist Howard Jacobson. It offers lucid, detailed and nuanced readings of each of Jacobson’s novels, and makes a powerful case for the importance of his work in the landscape of contemporary fiction. Focusing on the themes of comedy, masculinity and Jewishness, the book emphasises the richness and diversity of Jacobson’s work. Often described by others as ‘the English Philip Roth’ and by himself as ‘the Jewish Jane Austen’, Jacobson emerges here as a complex and often contradictory figure: a fearless novelist; a combative public intellectual; a polemical journalist; an unapologetic elitist and an irreverent outsider; an exuberant iconoclast and a sombre satirist. Never afraid of controversy, Jacobson tends to polarise readers; but, love him or hate him, he is difficult to ignore. This book gives him the thorough consideration and the balanced evaluation that he deserves.

Open Access (free)
Philip Roth, antisemitism and the Holocaust
David Brauner

At a conference on ‘Jewish Identities and American Writing’, hosted by the Rothermere American Institute in 2001, Howard Jacobson gave a talk (which has never been published) in which he subjected the celebrated opening lines of Saul Bellow’s The Adventures of Augie March (1953) to a close reading that, he claimed, exposed its grammatical confusion and intellectual imprecision. He went on to juxtapose a sex scene from Philip Roth’s The Dying Animal (2001) with one from his own novel No More Mr Nice Guy , in order to demonstrate the alleged superiority of

in Howard Jacobson
Open Access (free)
David Brauner

It has been my intention to make the case here that Jacobson is an important figure in post-war British fiction who has been unjustly marginalised in academic discourse, partly because of persistent, unflattering comparisons with Philip Roth, partly because of his irreverent, iconoclastic comedy, and partly because of his polemical interventions into sensitive cultural and political debates. In spite of the critical vindication, increased readership and higher public profile that attended the Booker triumph of The Finkler Question , Jacobson remains at the

in Howard Jacobson
Open Access (free)
Comedy, the anti-pastoral and literary politics
David Brauner

existence, what Nathan Zuckerman at the end of Philip Roth’s The Counterlife describes as ‘life in the beautiful state of innocent prehistory, the appealing idyll of living “naturally”’ ( Roth 1987 : 327). For Fugelman, this is not simply an idiosyncratic aesthetic preference but a moral choice: to live in the city is to embrace life with all its messy vicissitudes; to live in the country is to retreat from reality, to inhabit a nihilistic realm of ‘nothingness’, an ahistorical world on which ‘time has made no impression’. For this reason, the revelation that he

in Howard Jacobson
Open Access (free)
David Brauner

the Charybdis of Cambridge University, with its arcane rituals and casual antisemitism. Peeping Tom ( 1984 ), published the year after Coming From Behind , seemed to confirm that Jacobson was an author in a hurry to make up for lost time, and to mark the emergence of his signature style as a novelist. A heady brew of sexual shenanigans, literary allusions and a comedy of Jewish otherness that has more in common with Woody Allen and Philip Roth than with any of Jacobson’s British predecessors or peers, its central conceit – that Barney Fugelman, a Jewish

in Howard Jacobson
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Masculinity, mortaliity and sexual politics
David Brauner

Ends , Howard Jacobson told the broadcaster Clive Anderson that the subject of his next novel, and indeed of all his writing from now on, was to be ‘old men feeling melancholic and thinking about the grave’ ( Anderson 2017 ). In doing so, Jacobson was invoking the two great lodestones of his career, Shakespeare 7 and Philip Roth, alluding to Prospero’s vow, at the end of The Tempest , that ‘every third thought shall be my grave’ (V, i, 366), but also, by implication, Roth’s novel Sabbath’s Theater , whose epigraph is this line and whose protagonist, Mickey Sabbath

in Howard Jacobson
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Rodney Barker

, different, associations. The point was expressed fictionally by Philip Roth at the conclusion of Portnoy’s Complaint where his protagonist visits Israel and finds his sense of identity, which in New York had been delineated by the presence of large numbers of people who were not Jews, shaken by a society in which even the muggers were Jews. 17 Simple accounts are simple Human action can be seen as one or a series of meaningful behaviours, in such a way that the material and the cultural or intellectual cannot

in Cultivating political and public identity
Open Access (free)
Janet Wolff

Philip Roth that same year, 1986, he says: ‘I worked in a factory for almost thirty years, and I must admit that there is no incompatibility between being a chemist and being a writer: in fact, there is a mutual reinforcement.’ hH In 1937, realising he needed to leave Germany, my father began to apply for jobs abroad, writing to chemical companies with which his employer, ORACEFA, had connections. Amongst these were two in Italy – one in Milan and one in Pisa. In his letters, he gives his qualifications and describes his expertise. To Dr Sessa, at Industria

in Austerity baby
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Ezra Pound
David Herd

elements; in which all the elements of the poem, all the nouns and all the actions, are rendered equally available, equally present. Beyond a certain date, there is no escaping the stain of Fascism in Pound – stain in the sense that Philip Roth speaks of the human stain, as going all through, as affecting everything – and while there are great contradictions and inconsistencies in his writing, there are major continuities also, themes that find development in all aspects and corners of his work. So there is no difficulty in appreciating why Pound should have thought

in Enthusiast!
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An introduction
John J. Joughin and Simon Malpas

’s Heart of Darkness. In ‘Melancholy as form: towards an archaeology of modernism’, Jay Bernstein’s focus is on what he terms the ‘dialectic of spleen and ideal’ as they are presented in Adorno’s modernist philosophical aesthetics and as a constitutive feature of modernism itself. In exploring the ‘collaborative antagonism’ between ‘forming-giving and decomposition’ Bernstein offers us an Adornian inspired reading of Philip Roth’s American Pastoral, a novel which interrogates the fate of American beauty, the history of that beauty and the ‘intrinsic meaning of its

in The new aestheticism