David Herman was a TV producer for twenty years and for the past twenty years has worked as a freelance writer, writing more than a thousand articles, reviews and essays for The New Statesman, Prospect, The Guardian and a wide range of Jewish publications including The Jewish Chronicle, Jewish Renaissance and The Jewish Quarterly.
Lev Ozerov: Portraits without Frames
Robert Chandler, in conversation with David Herman, discuss his recently published translation of Lev Ozerov’ s stupendous Portraits without Frames, one of the most remarkable books of Russian poetry to have been published since the collapse of the Soviet Union.
Saul Bellow: A Legacy
Zachary Leader presents the second volume of The Life of Saul Bellow. Arguably the greatest of American writers, Bellow’s enduring appeal perhaps lies in his ‘gift for reading reality’. Leader’s exhilarating biography focuses not only on the unsurpassable writing, but on the tangled and numerous love affairs, the five wives, the girlfriends, the friends, the enemies and the ‘lunatics’ who stalked him.
In association with the ...
What Does it Mean to be a Jewish Writer?
Saul Bellow said, ‘I have tried to fit my soul into the Jewish-writer category, but it does not feel comfortably accommodated there.’ To many of us, Bellow and authors such as Philip Roth are quintessentially Jewish writers. But does the concept of a Jewish writer even exist? Three of our greatest living – and ‘Jewish’ – writers discuss the notion.
In Association with the TLS
Sponsored by Dangoor Education
Translating an Epic: Vasily Grossman’s Stalingrad
Russian author Vasily Grossman spent four years reporting from the Eastern Front during WWII, where he claimed to read only one book, twice: Tolstoy’s War and Peace. Grossman produced two novels – Stalingrad, and its sequel, Life and Fate – based on his experience of the pitiless Nazi siege of the city. Like War and Peace, this a family saga; it tells the tale of the Shaposhnikov family and their friends as they battle with the brutaliti...
Al Alvarez, Elaine Feinstein and Clive Sinclair: A Tribute
In the past two years we have lost three of the greatest Anglo-Jewish writers of their generation: the poet Elaine Feinstein (1930-2019), the novelist and short story writer Clive Sinclair (1948-2018) and the writer and critic Al Alvarez (1929-2019). They introduced a new voice to Jewish writing in post-war Britain. A panel including the translator and literary editor Natasha Lehrer, and the critics Professor Bryan Cheyette and David Herman (chair) pay tribute to these three remarkable writer...
This discussion was recorded via the Zoom webinar facility.
One of the world’s most renowned novelists, A.B. Yehoshua has been dubbed, together with Amos Oz and David Grossman ‘one of the three tenors of Israeli literature’. In conversation with literary critic David Herman he discusses his life and work, and his new novel, The Tunnel, an exploration of identity, ageing, family, secrets and spies.
Yehoshua’s protagonist Zvi Luria has begun to lose his memory. When his wi...
Who Wants to be a Jewish Writer? – Virtual Event
Poet, leading literary critic and Columbia University teacher Adam Kirsch is one of our foremost experts on Jewish thought and history. His stunning new collection brings together his essays on poetry, religion, and the intersections between them, as he explores the definition of Jewish literature and the relationship between poetry and politics, asking questions such as how did Stefan Zweig and Isaac Deutscher, who coined the phrase “the non-Jewish Jew” deal with politics? Why ha...
George Steiner: A Celebration
Stephen Greenblatt described polymath and polyglot George Steiner as, ‘one of the great, restless wanderers of modern criticism… His astonishing intellectual career was a moving, emblematic refusal in the wake of Auschwitz to settle down to cultural business as usual’, while Lisa Jardine called him, ‘a rebel who made us aspire to being Europeans; he helped move British culture from utter provincialism to cosmopolitanism, and taught us to listen to language – ho...
Robert Alter on Nabokov
One of the world’s leading literary and biblical scholars turns his attention to one of the most polarising novelists of all time in this unmissable online event. Live from the US, Robert Alter, professor of Hebrew and comparative literature at Berkeley since 1967, joins literary critic David Herman, to discuss his exploration of Lolita author Vladimir Nabokov. In Nabokov and the Real World: Between Appreciation and Defense, Alter – whose previous works include his t...
Michael Ignatieff: On Consolation
How do we console each other and ourselves in an age of unbelief? In On Consolation: Finding Solace in Dark Times, author and academic Michael Ignatieff shows how humans in extremity have looked to each other to recover hope and resilience. From Job and Camus to Anna Akhmatova and Primo Levi, he brings stories from across the centuries into the present. A unique career has seen him serve as Canada’s Leader of the Opposition as Justin Trudeau’s Liberal Party prede...