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« Barry Schwabsky on Jess | Main | Poem for Moving Day »

July 09, 2008


This is a most entertaining if highly unconventional reading. What about Bathsheba's point of view? Was she consulted?

i don't know that much about Batsheva so i hesitate to comment. i'll do some reading. also a very entertaining take on these events is Joseph Heller's novel called (i think) "david," in which Batsheva is the ghostwriter of the psalms.

Thank you for looking into it. I have never encountered J. Heller's novel about King David. Do you think "Catch 22" holds up? How about "Something Happened"?

hi sylvie -- i have not read catch 22 since high school. but i have often thought of the effectiveness of the premise: that war is a kind of upside down world in which everyone turns out to be doing exactly the opposite of what they are equipped to do -- yet there is also a certain reverse practicality to this. so the main character, who is more frightened than anyone else, is placed in the transparent plastic nose of the plane where he frantically races around like a trapped rat and gives directions to the pilot (a twelve year old, i think) on "evasive action."

i have not read something happened. i did read his posthumous book portrait of the artist as an old man which had some excellent stuff but was not really finished. also read the king david book -- but i skimmed it. some good stuff.

if you're into the bible the episode with david and the beautiful girl abishag just before david's death is food for thought.

heller was friends with mario puzo who i believe truly achieved greatness as a person and as a writer -- most obviously of the godfather movies. i am hoping to do a video about him in which would discuss his ambivalent relationships to popular fiction and literary fiction. his novel fools die has some good stuff. his early "literary" novels are not too good, i think.

there is a series of books called "the midrash says" that presents a lot of biblical commentary in an accessable format. they are sold in jewish bookstores.

the greatest kabbalist of the 20th cent was yehuda ashlag who translated the zohar from aramaic to hebrew and also wrote commentaries. there is a good translation of one of his commentaries called in the shadow of the ladder. he was not a clear writer but he really did come up with a hugely powerful extension of r luria's ideas. another great guy was r yehuda brandwein, who besides being a scholar was a construction worker in israel. the kabblah centre of madonna fame has tried to appropriate these guys but they really were tzaddikim.

thanks for your interest and encouragement!

mitch s.

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