The Magic Barrel Criticism

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When Malamud's "The Magic Barrel" first appeared in Partisan Review in 1954, it provided a colorful glimpse into the world of American Jews. Fours years later, after his second novel, The Assistant, had been enthusiastically received, Malamud reprinted "The Magic Barrel" as the title story in a collection of his short fiction. The collection sold well, and was praised by reviewers for its honesty, irony, and acute perception of the moral dilemmas of American Jews. It won the National Book Award for fiction in 1959.

Between the publication of the collection in 1958 and his death in 1986, Bernard Malamud became one of America's most respected writers of fiction, publishing six more novels and numerous collections of short fiction. Malamud's writing has been the subject of critical debate for three decades. Writing in 1966, Sidney Richman examines the emotional sterility of the protagonist Leo Finkle. According to Richman, ". . . Finkle knows the word but...

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This section contains 450 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy The Magic Barrel Study Guide
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Short Stories for Students
The Magic Barrel from Short Stories for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.