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Adam Kirsch CliffsNotes: Giorgio Bassani And The Jews Of Italy

Taking quick stock of Giorgio Bassani and other European Jews who made it through World War 2. Read More

By / January 4, 2012
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Welcome to the second installment of Adam Kirsch CliffsNotes, where we try and boil down a 2000+ word essay by the prominent literary critic into around 200 or less.

Adam Kirsch’s latest tablet column, “Earthly Gardens,” focuses on the Italian-Jewish author Giorgio Bassani’s 1962 novel The Garden of the Finzi-Continis, and it made me think of the wide swath of European Jewish writers who lived during World War 2.  Bassani belongs to a class of Jewish writers from that generation who made it out alive, but have been largely forgotten, ignored, or not given their proper due from the reading world at large.  Bassani would be the Italian representative of the class, even though he was born in Bulgaria and moved around as a child.  Elias Canetti lived and wrote in England for well over 30 years.  Jakov Lind told people he was a Dutchman and stayed out the war in the thick of Nazi Germany, and although he was born in Germany, Hans Keilson fled to the Netherlands and stayed there until he died at 101-years-old last May.

Kirsch’s piece essentially reinforces that there was a whole world of Jewish literature from during and following the war that is still largely ignored, and should be reissued and read.