Davis, Philip Books1995 0-7734-9060-4
In Dubin's Lives, and some of his later short stories, Bernard Malamud began to experiment with the use of fiction as a way of thinking about writers and writing. This study takes Malamud's model and offers six short stories, about books and their effect upon the imagined lives of their writers and readers, as a means of thinking about the work of Bernard Malamud himself. The result is an experimental alternative to more conventional forms of literary criticism, an essay intermingling biography, autobiography, literary analysis and fiction, in an effort to broaden the means of literary thinking available within cultural studies today. It tells stories about imagined people reading Malamud - in particular The Assistant, A New Life, Dubin's Lives, The Fixer and The Natural. The author sees Malamud as an undervalued writer not yet safely established within an impersonal canon; a writer whose commitment to the richness of realism, whose secularized Judaism, and whose sheer power of language constitute a challenging involvement in the uncertainties of uncategorizable experience; and a man whose unfashionable concern for human personality, serious emotions, and ordinary efforts at better lives offer a testing-ground for the claims of literary humanism. This controversial book will be of benefit to students, teachers and general readers specifically interested in Bernard Malamud, and to all those concerned with the current theory and practice of literary study.