Bernard Malamud by Philip Davis
A Writer's Life

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Synopsis

Philip Davis tells the story of Bernard Malamud (1914-1986), the self-made son of poor Jewish immigrants who went on to become one of the foremost novelists and short-story writers of the post-war period. The time is ripe for a revival of interest in a man who at the peak of his success stood alongside Saul Bellow and Philip Roth in the ranks of Jewish American writers.

Nothing came easily to Malamud: his family was poor, his mother probably committed suicide when Malamud was 14, and his younger brother inherited her schizophrenia. Malamud did everything the second time round - re-using his life in his writing, even as he revised draft after draft. Davis's meticulous biography shows all that it meant for this man to be a writer in terms of both the uses of and the costs to his own life. It also restores Bernard Malamud's literary reputation as one of the great
original voices of his generation, a writer of superb subtlety and clarity.

Bernard Malamud: A Writer's Life benefits from Philip Davis's exclusive interviews with family, friends, and colleagues, unfettered access to private journals and letters, and detailed analysis of Malamud's working methods through the examination of hitherto unresearched manuscripts. It is very much a writer's life. It is also the story of a struggling emotional man, using an extraordinary but long-worked-for gift, in order to give meaning to ordinary human life.
 

About Philip Davis

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Philip Davis is Professor of English Literature at the University of Liverpool. His books include Sudden Shakespeare and The Victorians (Oxford English Literary History).
 
Published September 13, 2007 by OUP Oxford. 400 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Literature & Fiction, History, Education & Reference. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Bernard Malamud

Publishers Weekly

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On his first day of teaching composition at Oregon State College in 1949, Bernard Malamud (1914–1986) told his class, “It has been brought to my attention that many of you people here t

Aug 27 2007 | Read Full Review of Bernard Malamud: A Writer's Life

The New York Times

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An admiring literary biography of Bernard Malamud, whose compassion was hard for some other Jewish writers to forgive.

Dec 09 2007 | Read Full Review of Bernard Malamud: A Writer's Life

The Independent

Being a successful writer in America – "successful" in terms of sales and transitory fame, that is – means acting the showman to an extent, and Malamud was incapable, due to a combination of shyness and revulsion, of playing the part.

Nov 23 2007 | Read Full Review of Bernard Malamud: A Writer's Life

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