Bernard Malamud

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Malamud, Bernard

Malamud, Bernard (mălˈəməd), 1914–86, American author, b. New York City, grad. College of the City of New York (B.A., 1936), Columbia (M.A., 1942). His works frequently reflect a concern with Jewish tradition and the nobility of the humble man as well as with the burdens of conscience and the redemptive nature of suffering. His novel The Fixer (1966; Pulitzer Prize), set in czarist Russia, reveals the courage of a handyman falsely accused by the government of ritual murder. The Tenants (1971) describes the confrontation of two writers—one Jewish, one African American—and probes the nature of the art of writing. Among his other works are the novels The Natural (1952), A New Life (1961), Dubin's Lives (1979), and God's Grace (1982); and the short-story collections The Magic Barrel (1958), Idiots First (1963), and Rembrandt's Hat (1973), gathered together in The Collected Stories (1997).


See biography by P. Davis (2007), memoir by his daughter, J. M. Smith (2006); studies by J. Helterman (1985), J. Salzberg, ed. (1987), S. Solotaroff (1989), E. A. Abramson (1993), P. Davis (1995), and M. U. Shaw (2000).

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Malamud, Bernard


Born Apr. 26, 1914, in Brooklyn, N.Y. American writer.

Malamud is the son of Jewish immigrants. His first novel, The Natural (1952), describes a victim of corruption and gangsterism in American sports. The novel A New Life (1961) is a satiric picture of the morals of a modern provincial college. Psychological sketches from the everyday life of the urban Jewish poor and petite bourgeoisie predominate in the short-story collections The Magic Barrel (1958, Pulitzer Prize) and Idiots First (1963). Malamud, a realist writer, also makes use of grotesque and fantastic elements in his works.


The Assistant. New York, 1957.
The Fixer. New York, 1966.
Pictures of Fidelman. New York, 1969.
Rembrandt’s Hat. New York, 1972.
In Russian translation:
Tufli dlia sluzhanki. Moscow, 1967.


Mendel’son, M. Sovremennyi amerikanskii roman. Moscow, 1964.
Klein, M. After Alienation. New York, 1964.
Bernard Malamud and the Critics. New York-London, 1970. (Bibliography, pp. 333-38.)
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

Malamud, Bernard

(1914–86) writer; born in New York City. His Russian-Jewish parents ran a small grocery store, and he would use such biographical material in much of his writing. He studied at the College of the City of New York (B.A. 1936), and Columbia University (M.A. 1942). He worked for the Census Bureau in Washington, D.C. (1940), and then taught English at New York City evening schools (1940–49). He then moved up to college teaching, first at Oregon State (1949–61), then at Bennington (1961–86). His first novel, The Natural (1952), is regarded as launching the modern tradition of serious baseball fiction, while many of his later novels, such as The Assistant (1957) and The Fixer (1966), were contemporary morality tales based on the Jewish experience.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.
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"Bernard Malamud (1914-1986), The Natural." April 2013,
The Magic Barrel, one of Bernard Malamud's finest short story collections and the winner of the 1959 National Book Award for fiction, contains thirteen tales roughly set in the ten years following the Second World War.
As reported in an editor's note in Talking Horse: Bernard Malamud on Life and Work, "...during his lifetime as an artist and writer, [Malamud] said little in private about his own work.
Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Bernard Malamud wrote the book while he was on the OSU faculty in the 1950s.
Bernard Malamud, for instance, was one of America's most prominent short story writers in the 40s, 50s, 60s and 70s, but is hardly read today.
In addition to adapting "The Natural" with Roger Towne from Bernard Malamud's novel, Dusenberry penned, with Larry Spiegel, 1973's "Hail," about a president who sets up a secret army and concentration camps for dissidents.
Castronovo compares the "artistic boldness" of Ralph Ellison, Saul Bellow, Bernard Malamud, and Flannery O'Connor to that of James Joyce, Virginia Woolf, and Joseph Conrad in chapter one.
This resonates of Singer, yes, but also of Bernard Malamud and Lewis Carroll, plus the Kafka who wrote The Trial, and, if I'm not mistaken, quite a bit of Jiff Weil, the Czech Jew whose long-lost novels were rediscovered by Philip Roth on one of his trips to Eastern Europe.
The not specifically sequential discourse, at times uncomplicated, at others imperious, engages the standards of black-Jewish relations--identity, liberalism, civil rights, racism, anti-Semitism--but also contributes perceptive and astute examinations of other black and Jewish antagonisms utilizing the vista of literary narratives, including Bernard Malamud's The Tenants and Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird.
The awards have honored distinguished past recipients such as Richard Avedon, Andy Warhol, Robert Redford, Truman Capote, Sylvia Plath, Cy Twombley, Tom Otterness, Joyce Maynard, Joyce Carol Oates, and Bernard Malamud and continue to provide a platform for creative expression for millions of students across the country.
No other sport has Philip Roth or Bernard Malamud devoting novels to it--especially hockey.