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This interview is taken from PN Review 209, Volume 39 Number 3, January - February 2013.

An Interview with Adam Kirsch Jonathan Derbyshire and David Herman
This is an exciting time in American writing and also in American criticism. There is a thrilling generation of young critics, among them Ruth Franklin, Adam Gopnik and Adam Kirsch. Kirsch is arguably the most interesting of them all. He is senior editor at the New Republic and a contributing editor to the Jewish cultural website Tablet, but his essays and reviews also appear regularly in Slate, the New Yorker and the New York Review of Books, as well as in the New Statesman and the TLS in Britain. His has written books on Disraeli (2008) and Why Trilling Matters (2011), and has also produced two collections of poems.

What is striking about Kirsch's work is the prolific output, the range and, above all, the critical intelligence. He has published over seventy articles and reviews for the New Republic and over a hundred and fifty for Tablet, all in just four years. He has written on Eliot and Philip Rieff, on Bellow and Thomas Bernhard, on Geoffrey Hill and Joseph Roth. Some of these pieces are among the most incisive and intelligent critical essays published in recent years. What marks him out is his ability to put writers into context and explore what is at stake in their work. His review of Nathan Englander's recent book of short stories and his revised Haggadah, for example, begins with a fascinating paragraph on 'the literature of Jewish disaffection', from Babel and Kafka to Philip Roth, as a way into the ...


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