The Magic Barrel Essay

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Goluboff has taught English at Lake Forest College in Lake Forest, Illinois. In the following essay, he places the story within the context of Jewish fiction of the 1950s and focuses on the theme of inter-generational relations.

Publishing "The Magic Barrel" in 1954, Bernard Malamud was at the beginning of his career, and near the beginning of a brief and remarkable period in the history of Jewish-American writing. For perhaps a decade, from the mid-1950s to the mid- 1960s, the American literary imagination seemed to have been captured by a series of books by and about Jews. In 1953 Saul Bellow published The Adventures of Augie March, a story of tragicomic misadventures set in Chicago's Jewish immigrant milieu. In 1957 Malamud brought out his second novel, The Assistant, the tale of an impoverished Brooklyn grocer who becomes a kind of Jewish everyman. 1959 saw the literary debut of Philip Roth, whose...

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This section contains 1,672 words
(approx. 5 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy The Magic Barrel Study Guide
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The Magic Barrel from Short Stories for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.