Bernard Malamud 1914-1986
By Emilie Fortin
Malamud was born on
Bernard Malamud’s Style
writings have both tragic and comic components and “rooted deeply in depression”,
which can be partly explained by Malamud’s distress of the Holocaust,
especially being a Jewish man (Shechner, p. 3). Because Malamud did not give
interviews very often and did not write a biography, we can only guess how and
why he wrote. However, a quote from Malamud, published in the New York Times
give his readers an insight on his way of writing, which says “people say I
write so much about misery, but you write about what you write best” (Advameg
Inc). This quote is only a small glimpse into Malamud’s tormented world.
Nevertheless, Bernard Malamud can also be funny. In his work, Pictures of
Fidelman, it is described as a “raucous comedy of art, art criticism, sex
and desire gone beserk” set in
At the end of his life he had written fifty-five short stories and seven novels (Shechner, p. 3). One of his most famous short stories is “The Magic Barrel”, which is described as a story with “bright energy of a fairy tale, […] with something of the somber tones of a depression tract” (Bluestone, p. 404). The story is often compared to a metaphor for a human’s spiritual existence, where one looks at their relationship with God (Bluestone, p. 404”. This important short story is an example of Malamud’s mastery of language and story-telling, and it is the reason why he is “one of the most prominent figures in Jewish American Literature” (Advameg Inc).
1952 – The Natural, 1957 – The Assistant, 1961 – A New Life, 1966 – The Fixer, 1969 – Pictures of Fidelman: An Exhibition, 1971 – The Tenants, 1979 – Dubin’s Lives, 1982 – God’s Grace.
1958 – The Magic Barrel, 1963 – Idiots First, 1973 – Rembrandt’s Hat. (Farrant, p. 2)
Advameg Inc. (2007). Bernard Malamud’s
Bluestone, S. “God as Matchmaker: A Reading of Malamud’s The Magic
Barrel”. Critique. 41.4 (2000).
Farrant, P. A. “Bernard Malamud”. Research guide to biography and criticism. 2 (1985):
M. Bernard Malamud (1914-1986).
Picture source: www.Holtzbrinckpublishers.com 2006