Joshua Lambert


Delmore Schwartz: Diminished Responsibility and Literary Genius

By Joshua Lambert

Delmore Schwartz was a poet first and foremost, and an important one, but his short stories—a valuable selection of which are collected in In Dreams Begin Responsibilities and Other Stories—aren’t too shabby themselves. Concerned for the most part with sensitive young men at odds with their families, these pieces often hark back to the 1930s, to the Great Depression as it was experienced in New York City, and to the philosophical struggle between left-wing ideologies and the desire to earn a solid living that characterized Jewish communities of that era. That conflict has long been more or less resolved, but in Schwartz’s telling, it retains a kind of freshness and poignant humor: in a representative moment, one of Schwartz’s young intellectuals introduces his mother to a brilliant scholar and tells her, “You have just seen a genius”; without missing a beat, she answers him, “How much money does he make?”Read More






    Find us on Facebook!
    • In WWI, Jews fought for Britain. So why were they treated as outsiders?
    • According to a new poll, 75% of Israeli Jews oppose intermarriage.
    • Will Lubavitcher Rabbi Moshe Wiener be the next Met Council CEO?
    • Angelina Jolie changed everything — but not just for the better:
    • Prime Suspect? Prime Minister.
    • Move over Dr. Ruth — there’s a (not-so) new sassy Jewish sex-therapist in town. Her name is Shirley Zussman — and just turned 100 years old.
    • From kosher wine to Ecstasy, presenting some of our best bootlegs:
    • Sara Kramer is not the first New Yorker to feel the alluring pull of the West Coast — but she might be the first heading there with Turkish Urfa pepper and za’atar in her suitcase.
    • About 1 in 40 American Jews will get pancreatic cancer (Ruth Bader Ginsberg is one of the few survivors).
    • At which grade level should classroom discussions include topics like the death of civilians kidnapping of young Israelis and sirens warning of incoming rockets?
    • Wanted: Met Council CEO.
    • “Look, on the one hand, I understand him,” says Rivka Ben-Pazi, a niece of Elchanan Hameiri, the boy that Henk Zanoli saved. “He had a family tragedy.” But on the other hand, she said, “I think he was wrong.” What do you think?
    • How about a side of Hitler with your spaghetti?
    • Why "Be fruitful and multiply" isn't as simple as it seems:
    • William Schabas may be the least of Israel's problems.
    • from-cache

    Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















    We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

    Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.