Josh Cohen

Josh Cohen is a psychoanalyst in private practice, and Professor of Modern Literary Theory at Goldsmiths University of London. He is the author of numerous books and articles on modern literature, psychoanalysis and cultural theory. His books include Not Working, How to Read Freud and The Private Life. He lives in London.

Interrupting Auschwitz: Josh Cohen
Hitler, wrote Theodor Adorno, imposed a ‘new categorical imperative on humankind to arrange thoughts and actions so that Auschwitz will not repeat itself.’ Josh Cohen’s book Interrupting Auschwitz: Art, Religion, Philosophy is a sustained exploration of what this might mean. He argues that what gives the imperative its urgency is that it is paradoxical, impossible to fulfil; we can never be certain that it won’t happen again. In an intense and sometimes controversia...
Tea Time Stories: Jonathan Wilson ‘Dead Ringer’

Set in America, a middle-aged man comes to terms with mortality – his own, his mother’s and that of his long-dead baby brother – a story full of mordant humour as well as pathos.

Reading Louis Jacobs
Rabbi Louis Jacobs was Anglo-Jewry’s greatest scholar. To mark his passing, a structured reading scheme has been set up in London, Chicago, Jerusalem and on-line at www.readingrabbijacobs.org. This was a unique session which allowed participants to study and discuss Rabbi Jacob’s works with a range of scholars. The text used for this Jewish Book Week meeting was be God, Torah, Israel – Tradition without Fundamentalism, in which Rabbi Jacobs distils his approach in an ...
Josh and Judy’s Speed Read

Looking for adventure, romance, political satire? Worried about what’s left on the shelf? We helped participants find a book they will treasure for years to come. Participants brought along their favourite underrated book and enthused about it for 1 minute – speed reading rather than speed dating. Guided by the hosts Josh Cohen and Judy Batalion, a whole world of literature was discovered in the space of an hour, and there was a chance to win a mystery literary prize.

Promiscuous – a Biography of Portnoy’s Complaint
Portnoy’s Complaint provoked instant, powerful reactions when first published in 1969 and it retains an enduring hold over the imagination today. It blasted Philip Roth into international fame, subjected him to unrelenting personal scrutiny and conjecture, and shocked legions of readers — some delighted, others appalled. The book gave new meaning to the words “liver”, “couch” and “shrink”. Alexander Portnoy and other main characters became instant archetypes, an...
The Jewish Quarterly Wingate Literary Prize 2014
Enjoy a glass of wine and listen to a lively discussion about the difficulties – and joys – of judging a completely disparate group of fiction and non-fiction books submitted for the prestigious £4,000 JQ Wingate Prize. Past recipients include Amos Oz, WG Sebald, Howard Jacobson, Zadie Smith and Shalom Auslander. The 2014 winner will be announced at the end of the event. Shortlisted books: Binocular Vision by Edith Pearlman (Pushkin Press) Landscapes of the Metropoli...
Ayelet Gundar-Goshen – One Night, Markovitch
Together with Pushkin Press, Jewish Book Week is delighted to launch the English edition of Ayelet Gundar-Goshen’s One Night, Markovitch, a colourful debut novel tracing the destinies of a group of young people on the eve of WWII. Ayelet Gundar-Goshen will be talking to author and analyst JoshCohen about her characters and exploring some of the strengths and weaknesses behind the Zionist narrative. The book’s fil...
Feeling Jewish (A Book For Just About Anyone)

Why are ‘negative’ feelings such as self-hatred, guilt, resentment, paranoia, hysteria, and overbearing mother-love characterised as ‘Jewish’? In her sparkling debut, Devorah Baum delves into film, fiction and psychoanalysis. In so doing, she explores what it’s like to be a Jewish woman, shining a light on cultural icons from Groucho Marx to Freud, to examine what it’s like to feel Jewish, even when you’re not.

Doing Nothing
Oscar Wilde said that doing nothing is, ‘the most difficult thing in the world’. Today we live in a culture that demonises idleness, and the glorious art of doing nothing is disappearing. We are subject to a constant flow of information, and a permanent busyness pervades even our quietest moments. But although inactivity can induce lethargy, it can also foster imaginative freedom and creativity. Psychoanalyst Josh Cohen explored the paradoxical pleasures of inactivity, and asked h...