Articles and Quotes from Book Reviews

Endtimes? Will The New York Times Survive and If So, in What Form?

The Times is a news product that has become as much a hybrid magazine-newspaper on both its Internet site and its print version. Once it was the "Paper of Record," printing maps, excerpts from -- if not complete -- historical documents, the names of cabinet members of important and not so important countries, and daily updates on the progress of bills through congressional committees.

The Internet, cable TV news channels, and 24/7 news radio have, of course, changed all that. Major news stories and not so major ones are posted online and on cable news, even if the stories later need to be corrected and updated. We all know immediately or soon after when something happens; for example, anyone can follow sports or the stock market in almost real time. When I was growing up in the New York area, people would buy the afternoon newspaper for stock prices, sports scores, and updates. Now even New York City is without an afternoon paper.

No longer the source of breaking news, the Times in its printed newspaper focuses on a five-pronged approach. First, it stresses analysis in the Sunday Review as well as in the daily paper. Second, the Times provides major investigatory journalism, what it calls "enterprise journalism." The Times still has the resources to pay a reporter or a small group of reporters for months to do a story and the flexibility with its large staff to assign stories that take time, while most papers and other media sources don't. Such a story was the exposé that 100 percent of retired conductors on the Long Island Railroad were retiring with huge disability payments. Third, the Times has ratcheted up its cultural coverage and extended it beyond New York City. Fourth, it has become more of a national newspaper, and with its Chicago, Texas, and Bay Area editions, has begun to make the national edition more local.

Finally, the Times now does much more of what is called value-added journalism, or what I call "life school." It offers practical advice on virtually every conceivable subject, whether it be retirement, investment, health, nutrition, restaurants, caring for elderly parents, or charitable giving. In these ways, the Times has become more of what used to be thought of as a magazine.

The Times, with its twenty-six foreign news bureaus, is the only U.S. paper or media outlet that still provides substantive foreign coverage. The major networks and cable stations as well as other newspapers borrow this news from the Times site without paying the Times anything.

You may see Anderson Cooper on the tarmac, but the Times is the only U.S. media source that covers in-depth places like Afghanistan, Iraq, and Pakistan and keeps up with such hot spots as Iran, Israel, Palestine, Zimbabwe, Syria, and Libya. Foreign reporting at this level requires maintaining a great number of expensive resources. The Times spends money on highly trained reporters, indigenous employees (some of whom, for safety purposes need, to remain unidentified), translators, electronic equipment, armored cars, security personnel, and secure buildings.

To survive in its present form with an 1100-person news and editorial staff, the Times needs to figure out how to charge other news media for using its product. To be sure some small papers pay minimally through the Times's news bureau, but that is not sufficient.

The biggest challenge, which all print papers are facing along with the Times, is how to profit from the Internet. In March 2011, the Times started charging those who didn't subscribe to its print edition for its Internet site, With about 450,000 subscribers, the Times is claiming great success in this experiment.

The Times Company, which owns the Times as well as some other newspapers, has eliminated its stock dividends and seen it share price drop precipitously. Costs rise, revenues drop. To date, Internet advertising revenue doesn't replace lost revenue from print advertising. The Times is desperate for revenue sources. The Times Company has the TimesTalk speaker program, sponsors courses, sells memorabilia, and even has a wine club and a cruise program.

Over the years, there has been rather loose talk about the Times being sold, but that seems unlikely, given the Sulzberger family trust, as well as the family's control of the B-shares of the New York Times Company, and the fact that those shares elect the majority of the Board of Directors. The A-shares are publicly traded and elect the rest of the Board.

There have been alternative business models proposed, such as running the Times as a nonprofit.The Christian Science Monitor, for example, is essentially a nonprofit. Some people think that a possible model would be that of NPR (National Public Radio) or PBS (public television) but that comes with its own set of problems such as every political group scrambling for its share of a presence.

For the print paper to survive in the long term, one model might be a short newspaper on the model of the New York Times Company-owned International Herald Tribune plus an optional separately marketed weekly magazine or perhaps even a daily magazine for those who pay for such an option. (Daniel Schwarz, The Huffington Post, April 26, 2012)


Endtimes: Crises and Turmoil at the New York Times, 1999-2009 (2012)

To paraphrase Sir Winston Churchill, The New York Times is the worst newspaper except for all the others in the world. Continuously published since its founding in 1851, The Times has won 106 Pulitzer prizes, the most of any news organization. Its electronic version is the most read American online newspaper website, with more than 30 million unique visitors each month.

No newspaper is more cited, honored and parodied. As the newspaper of record, it takes itself very seriously. Changes at the top of the masthead are scrutinized with the same diligence that Kremlinologists used to apply to photos of the Soviet Politburo arrayed atop Lenin’s Tomb.

For years, and even now, the rest of the mainstream media — particularly the evening news programs — have taken their cues from the Times front page, released at 9 p.m. the night before publication and regarded as a kind of Rosetta Stone of the news. Due to the paper’s prominence and prestige, everything concerning it is magnified, so warts become mountains of shame and modest scoops and insights the Word From On High. Call it unfair or unwarranted, but I doubt that the true Timesperson would have it any other way.

In this spirit comes Endtimes? Crises and Turmoil at the New York Times, 1999-2009 to examine a decade in which all manner of plagues befell The Times — many of them self-inflicted. Ten years like these would have killed some lesser rags. But this is The Times, and it survived Howell Raines, Jayson Blair and Judith Miller. What didn’t kill it may have made it stronger. . . .

Raines, a success as editorial page editor, became executive editor in September 2001, days before the 9/11 attacks. The Times’ coverage of those events was superb, winning seven Pulitzers, and it marked the high point of Raines’ tenure. His autocratic style eventually undid him (he resigned in June 2003), and Schwarz duly chronicles the “Raines reformation and demise.” Raines’ regime was also marked by the unmasking of reporter Blair, an admitted fabulist, and star writer Rick Bragg, who resigned under pressure after admitting to unorthodox reporting methods.

No one, however, is as emblematic of this period of turmoil as Miller, an “investigative” reporter whose exclusives on the purported existence of WMDs in Saddam Hussein’s Iraq during the run-up to the war were eventually revealed to be fraudulent. She was the “Woman of Mass Destruction” in columnist Maureen Dowd’s memorable phrase and the self-styled “Miss Run Amok” in her own. Schwarz details how she was coddled by Raines and tolerated by his successor, Bill Keller, until forced to resign. In 2005, Schwarz asked then managing editor (and now executive editor) Jill Abramson what she regretted about how the Times handled the Miller situation. “The entire thing,” she responded.

Schwarz treats Keller’s regime more gently, describing it as a period of restoration and general overall improvement of the paper. Keller “brought calm and equilibrium to the newsroom.” But it was not without its missteps, and Schwarz focuses on two: withholding a warrantless wiretapping story in 2004 that could have affected the presidential reelection of George W. Bush and a bungled attempt to tie Arizona senator and GOP presidential candidate John McCain to an attractive female lobbyist.

Schwarz is less kind to publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr., derided by his nickname “Pinch” as compared to his predecessor and father, the stalwart Arthur “Punch” Sulzberger. “Controversial, proactive, prickly, defensive, and self confident to the point where a listener wonders if he is delusional” is Schwarz’s take on the scion.

Schwarz also is highly critical of the Times’ coverage of pop culture—Timestrash he calls it—and the paper’s attempt to cover the new sexual frankness of the 21st century. He dislikes anything that smacks of prurience—as if The Grey Lady should be clad in blue stockings.

A final chapter—and what other paper could warrant such treatment?—is titled “Struggling With Its Ethnic Heritage” and wrestles with the assertions that the paper, owned by Jews, downplayed the Holocaust, opposed the creation of the state of Israel and “bends over backward to be fair to the Palestinians.”
The author, a Cornell professor, is diligent in his research and his interviews. . . . He puts The Times on the couch and gives us a very through psychoanalysis. . . .

If you love newspapering and The Times, in whichever order, you will pass many a happy hour reading details about decisions on coverage, the new lifestyle sections, the dumbing down of features and blatant pandering to the stylish 1 percent. If not, well, you know who you are. (Steve Goldstein, The Washington Independent Review of Books, Dec. 13, 2011)


The New York Times is Dan Schwarz’s newspaper.

It belongs to him not because he’s its publisher, editor or reporter. He’s one of its devoted readers – addict, he says some would call him – and he’s been a Times reader for as long as he could read.

“I have had a lifelong love affair with the New York Times,” he writes in the introduction to his forthcoming book, “EndTimes? Crises and Turmoil at The New York Times, 1999-2009.” The State University of New York Press is publishing it in March.

This love doesn’t turn a blind eye to real problems. The book addresses the two tumultuous years of Alabama native Howell Raines’ editorship, 2001-03. These years included the scandal surrounding reporter Jayson Blair’s series of fictitious articles about serial killings in Washington, D.C., and the resignation of Pulitzer Prize winner Rick Bragg, also of Alabama, following a charge of fraudulent reporting for relying on stringers to do his footwork.

Another scandal rocked the paper after Bill Keller took over as executive editor. Reporter Judith Miller’s inaccurate stories about WMD in the run-up to the Iraq War and her involvement in the disclosure of Valerie Plame’s CIA identity also raise doubts about the steadiness of editorial leadership.

Still, some passages read like a love letter to the newspaper:
“Proust has his Madelaine, I my Times. For me it implies satisfying private moments when I recused myself from worries and lost myself in a world beyond my own concerns. Even though it doesn’t leave its mark – its ink – on my hands as it used to, it leaves its mark indelibly on my brain and heart.”

“EndTimes?” is a product of brain and heart – passion for its subject, yes, but also clear-eyed critique of that subject’s strengths and weaknesses. Brain and heart are well balanced here, and I expected no less from the book’s author.

“I have had a lifelong love affair with the New York Times,” he writes in the introduction to his forthcoming book, “EndTimes? Crises and Turmoil at The New York Times, 1999-2009.” The State University of New York Press is publishing it in March.

This love doesn’t turn a blind eye to real problems. The book addresses the two tumultuous years of Alabama native Howell Raines’ editorship, 2001-03. These years included the scandal surrounding reporter Jayson Blair’s series of fictitious articles about serial killings in Washington, D.C., and the resignation of Pulitzer Prize winner Rick Bragg, also of Alabama, following a charge of fraudulent reporting for relying on stringers to do his footwork.
Another scandal rocked the paper after Bill Keller took over as executive editor. Reporter Judith Miller’s inaccurate stories about WMD in the run-up to the Iraq War and her involvement in the disclosure of Valerie Plame’s CIA identity also raise doubts about the steadiness of editorial leadership.

Still, some passages read like a love letter to the newspaper:
“Proust has his Madelaine, I my Times. For me it implies satisfying private moments when I recused myself from worries and lost myself in a world beyond my own concerns. Even though it doesn’t leave its mark – its ink – on my hands as it used to, it leaves its mark indelibly on my brain and heart.”

“EndTimes?” is a product of brain and heart – passion for its subject, yes, but also clear-eyed critique of that subject’s strengths and weaknesses. Brain and heart are well balanced here, and I expected no less from the book’s author.

Daniel R. Schwarz is Frederic J. Whiton Professor of English Literature and Stephen H. Weiss Presidential Fellow at Cornell University. He’s written extensively about the works of James Joyce and other early 20th-century novelists. His many books include “In Defense of Reading: Teaching Literature in the Twenty-First Century” and “Broadway Boogie Woogie: Damon Runyon and the Making of New York City Culture.”Stephen H. Weiss Presidential Fellow at Cornell University. He’s written extensively about the works of James Joyce and other early 20th-century novelists. His many books include “In Defense of Reading: Teaching Literature in the Twenty-First Century” and “Broadway Boogie Woogie: Damon Runyon and the Making of New York City Culture.”

I met Dan in 1996 when he was Visiting Eminent Scholar in the Humanities at the University of Alabama in Huntsville and I was doing graduate work in the English department. I took his seminar on Joyce’s “Ulysses”. . . .

I discovered that his academic analyses are insightful and get to the point of the matter, and he presents his points in readable prose. So when [I learned about] his New York Times project, I knew I would appreciate his examination of America’s iconic newspaper and also enjoy the reading experience. I was right on both counts.

During a recent phone interview from his home in Ithaca, N.Y., Dan told me he conducted about 45 interviews starting in 2004 and continuing into 2008 when he began to write the book. Then he went back in 2010 “for a retrospective view.”

“I interviewed every living executive editor of the Times,” he said, “as well as a good number of the masthead figures and a good number of the section editors.”

Along with a good overview of the Times’ history and recent past, Dan focuses on an issue facing all newspapers in the digital age: Will there still be a print edition in 10 to 15 years?

“That’s one thing we see implicit in the question mark (in the title of the book),” he said. “ ‘Crisis and Turmoil’ implies that there was a period of difficulty, and I’m not talking about Jayson Blair and Howard Raines, although those are very important focal points in the book.

“I’m talking about the challenge of the Internet, or the challenge to the print newspaper by the Internet model and also the challenge to the business model, which is very real.”

Under the business heading, Dan looks at the growth of the paper’s lighter side, and not always favorably, as it tries to find new readers and revenue sources. He also offers critiques of various columnists, Maureen Dowd among them.

There was a bit of printer’s ink in Dan’s veins as well as on his hands before he began “EndTimes?” He’s written travel articles. His brother is a journalist. From the point of view of this newspaper veteran, the literary and social scholar becomes, in this book, a pretty good newspaper reporter.

Dan said writing about Damon Runyon  and his world [in his 2004 Broadway Boogie Woogie: Damon Runyon and the Making of New York City Culture]helped fuel the spark of curiosity that became “EndTimes?”

“It was after the Runyon book that I realized I was interested in journalism and how it worked, because I had done a great deal of reading about tabloids and about the newspaper industry from the turn of the century and even earlier.

“But you are absolutely right. This certainly made me 100 times more of a journalist underneath.” (Ann Marie Martin, The Times' former books editor, The Huntsville (Ala.) Times, Dec. 28, 2011)

In other Times news, Cornell professor Daniel Schwarz, who says he’s had “a lifelong love affair with the New York Times,” is coming out with a book titled “EndTimes? Crises and Turmoil at The New York Times, 1999-2009.”

Ann Marie Martin writes:
Dan told me he conducted about 45 interviews starting in 2004 and continuing into 2008 when he began to write the book. Then he went back in 2010 “for a retrospective view.”

“I interviewed every living executive editor of the Times,” he said, “as well as a good number of the masthead figures and a good number of the section editors.”

Along with a good overview of the Times’ history and recent past, Dan focuses on an issue facing all newspapers in the digital age: Will there still be a print edition in 10 to 15 years? (Jim Romenesko, Dec. 29, 2011;


In Defense of Reading: Teaching Literature in the Twenty-First Century (2008)

An eloquent defense of the pleasure of reading literature is the heart of Daniel Schwarz's In Defense of Reading: Teaching Literature in the Twenty-First Century (Wiley-Blackwell, 2008, one of the books in the "Blackwell Manifesto" series featuring leading critics).

The book explores why we read, how we read and what we learn from reading imaginative literature. Schwarz, the Frederic J. Whiton Professor of English at Cornell, based the book on his "experience as a teacher, faculty member and scholar-critic at Cornell these past 41 years." He said writing the book not only gave him a chance to "articulate my ideas about reading, teaching and critical and scholarly writing—and the crucial interrelationship among all three—but also to argue for the place of traditional reading projects in the digital age.

"I think that my present and former students—and perhaps other Cornellians who have majored in the humanities or taken some literature courses—will smile when they read about my teaching and reading philosophies," he said. (“Pleasure Reading, EZRA, Cornell’s Quarterly Magazine, Spring 2009, 20)
Daniel R. Schwarz, an influential scholar and critic, presents in this book a passionate and joyful defense of the pleasures of reading. Schwarz provides valuable insights for teachers and students on why we read and how we read. The author explores the life of the mind, the rewards and joys of committed teaching, and the relationship between teaching and scholarship in the contemporary university. (Union College, “Bookshelf,” Spring 2009, 26)

As a Jewish graduate student trained in the formalism of the New Criticism, Dan Schwarz recalls reading without noticing, or pretending not to notice, anti-Semitic passages in T. S. Eliot and other writers: “After all, were we not part which New Criticism and Aristotelian criticism depended—even as we ignored the fact that the imagined audience of ideal readers were WASPs.” Although the chapter “Eating Kosher his discussion of being both Jewish and Ivy League undergirds the whole book, which passionately argues that literature is always “by humans, for humans, about humans.” This humanism, which insists on our ability to connect with people, times, places, and values unlike our own, just as strongly insists that as readers we must also read from our particular set of values and our position in the world. Reading therefore becomes both an ethical act (by which we align ourselves with or against other readers and groups of readers) and a “transaction” with the author and the text that differs with every reading. How, then, does being Jewish affect Schwarz’s sensibility as a reader? Among his various answers, he notes that “because Jews have historically lived on the margin…we have tended to be skeptical of sweeping universals and to dwell in particulars.” As part of the Blackwell Manifesto series, this book is in many ways Schwarz’s most personal. With a commitment to pluralism and open-endedness, he brings the experience of forty years to bear on questions that will interest anyone who cares about literature: Why do we read? What can literature teach us and how can it change us? What makes a good teacher? And what is the future of teaching and reading in the new century that meets us? (Paul Sawyer, English at Cornell 12 (Fall 2009), l1

Damon Runyon, Guys and Dolls and Other Writings (Penguin Classic, 2008)

[This volume: makes us see afresh a writer whose hard-bitten and Ironic point of view prefigures the fictional worlds of "The Godfather" and "The Sopranos." There's much more to Runyon than Marlon Brando and Frank Sinatra looking sharp and talking cute in the 1955 film version of "Guys and Dolls."
[In his editor notes to this collection, Schwarz describes as a noir, the bleak little fable ["Drean Street Rose"] as a noir, and he hints that Runyon was influenced by Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler . . . Schwarz is right . . . to stress that Runyon took the side of the underdog, an inclination that informed both his fiction and his work as a crime and sports reporter. A hefty chunk of Runyon's reportage is included here. By the mid-1920s, Runyon was perhaps the most famous newspaperman in America. (Richard Raynor, "His Wit Was Hard-Boiled," Los Angeles Times, May 25, 2008)

Reading the Modern British and Irish Novel, 1890-1930 (2005)

Reading the Modern British and Irish Novel 1890-1930 (2005) sets up each of the books it introduces with an engagin short piece of essential background before delving into the kind of explanations most likely to appeal to the new reader. The background humanizes texts that might otherwise seem to forbidding, and Schwarz goes for a "plural" approach designed to make modernist fiction much more readily available to a whole range of potential needs. The chapter on Dubliners begins with a speedily informative three paragraphs on Joyce's feelings about turn-of-the-century Dublin and his hope to produce stories that might cure the world of "Dublin-think" (130). It then describes the three different audiences and the thirteen different intrepretations "Araby" invites (132-35). The broadly diverse sens of human interest that results can only dispel any contrary senes of modernism's exclusivity, difficulty, or autonomy . . . Schwarz's method similarly humanizes Ulysses and To the Lighthouse, suggesting approaches to these modernist texts that are so pluralistic they will surely convince readers of all kinds that modernism is essentially inviting . . .
Schwarz . . . wants to restore "humanistic values" to pride of place among reading practices . . . This humanistic priority matches perfectly, in a way, with the introductory enterprise; if introducing modernism is all about making the difficult accessible, then it might well best be done by foregrounding the value of the hard individual quest for meaning . . [E]ven skeptical readers will most likely be willing to attribute any excess humanity to Schwarz's manifest generosity; more than anything else, Reading the Modern British and Irish Novel is welcoming and warm, and the tone alone makes it a lovely way to bring new readers in from the cold (Jesse Matz, James Joyce Quarterly 41:4[Summer 2006]).

Broadway Boogie Woogie: Damon Runyon and the Making of New York City Culture

Schwarz's . . . excellent study manages two difficult feats at the same time. On the one hand, it . . . brings together much of the strong criticism on Runyon . . . and crosses it with recent cultural studies work on his role in the New York of the 1920s and 1930s. . . . On the other hand, it provides the most comprehensive reading of Runyon's short stories yet published, and it offer a jumping off point for a new wave of Runyon criticism.
Perhaps Schwarz's most provocative claim in reading the Broadway stories is his argument that we make a mistake when we regard the narrator as a stable, single figure . . . That . . . liberates the stories in two key ways, First, it invites an awareness of the perpetually contingent quality of Runyon's writing. As Schwarz reminds is, whether Runyon worked as a reporter, columnists, or fiction writer, he was always aware of the specific and immediate context of his work . . . Schwarz argues that the perspective is different enough that we not insist on a consistency of character and biography for the narrator.
Second,[Schwarz] makes possible new ways of seeing connections among stories . . . . The heart of Schwarz's study consists of three chapters in which he provides a reading of each Broadway story and places it within one of seventeen "genres of the fiction. The categories that Schwarz proposes . . . provide a terminology and approach for new readings of individual stories that otherwise run the risk of being overshadowed by the effect of these stories as a whole.
In addition to his groundbreaking work with the Broadway stories, Schwarz also proposes relationships between Runyon's career as a whole and his columns, reporting, and other story series. . . . [Schwarz] does a good job of synthesizing much of the substantial but dated work by writers such as Edwin Hoyt who, having known Runyon personally, offer rich anecdotes that benefit from Schwarz's critical context.
Schwarz takes Runyon's world apart with real acumen, showing that exploring the differences in the stories and in the persons(s) of the narrator allows us to see each story in a new light. . . . [His} thorough catalogue of the stories is unrivalled . . . . There are other good places to turn for ideas about Runyon's work, but none is more essential than Schwarz's new book, and none offers the same opportunities for asking new questions about a writer who is overdue for new appreciation. (Joe Kraus, Modern Fiction Studies, 50:3 (Fall 2004), 752-53)
Recent books by Jerome Charyn and Daniel R. Schwarz examine New York’s Jazz-Age culture macroscopically and microscopically, respectively. Both authors recount the cultural milieu of the 1920s and 1930s, with Charyn tending toward imaginative leaps linking literature to actual events. Schwarz, however, grounds his argument in historical context and a close reading of particular subject: the sportswriter and columnist Damon Runyon. Recent books by Jerome Charyn and Daniel R. Schwarz examine New York’s Jazz-Age culture macroscopically and microscopically, respectively. Both authors recount the cultural milieu of the 1920s and 1930s, with Charyn tending toward imaginative leaps linking literature to actual events. Schwarz, however, grounds his argument in historical context and a close reading of a particular subject: the sportswriter and columnist Damon Runyon . . . .
In Broadway Boogie Woogie: Damon Runyon and the Making of New York City Culture (2004), Daniel R. Schwarz approaches the era from a more scholarly perspective. An English Professor at Cornell, Schwarz spends 322 pages working his way through salient points in Damon Runyon’s life—an inversion of Horace Greeley’s invocation to “go west”—as Runyon made his way from Colorado to New York. Although there is some overlap between Charyn and Schwarz, the latter tends to back his assertions with historical context, serious analysis, and careful notation . . .
Schwarz argues that Runyon was a societal insider, a voyeur filtering life as “theater and spectacle” for his working-class readers (68). That his writing allowed Runyon to earn a handsome living, dress immaculately, and own many homes is a somewhat ironic side effect (8–9). Schwarz . . . notes the predominance of male relationships in Runyon’s life (8). He highlights the characters tellingly absent from Runyon’s narratives: In [Runyon’s] world of “homosocial bonding,” gay and African-American life are “ostentatiously absent” from Runyon’s work (55). The author also notes Runyon’s role in creating what Schwarz calls “trial reporting and spectator culture” (111).
Schwarz’s project is more focused than Charyn’s . . . .That Schwarz sometimes strains his case does not undermine his careful analysis of dozens of Runyon’s stories and the ways in which those stories may be located in Broadway culture. (Jeffrey Eric Jenkins, “Through a Glass, Nostalgically: The Death and Life of Broadway,” American Literary History, 19:1 Spring 2007, 190-209).
Damon Runyon's popularity and importance in shaping American culture during the first half of the 20th century can hardly be exaggerated . . . Cornell English Professor Daniel Schwarz has made it his mission to bring back the important voice of Damon Runyon in his new book . . . Schwarz is an able and enthusiastic guide into Damon Runyon's world . . . Schwarz methodically and minutely sets the context of Runyon's writings throughout the chapters of Broadway Boogie Woogie, utilizing biography, cultural history, and artistic comparisons to contrasting cultural figures, including F. Scott Fitzgerald and Norman Rockwell.
Broadway Boogie Woogie will reach far more [than college students and academics]. This book is important to those who are interested in how our popular culture came to be, the impact and power of the media (especially newspapers and magazines), [and] the making of New York Culture in the pivotal l time "between the wars."
Schwarz makes his argument for the importance of Runyon's work in popular and sophisticated literary circles from many directions. Given the complexity of Runyon's messages—and the diversity of the American people he was communicating with—this is entirely appropriate. In the last sentence of the book Schwarz says: "Nearly a half-century after his death, our role is to show how he mastered sophisticated literary techniques to make this communication work, to understand why he was read by millions, to recapture his contexts, and to reintroduce him to a contemporary audience. For Damon Runyon not only reflected but created our images of New York City, urban culture, and ourselves." (Pamala Goddard, "All About Runyon," Ithaca Times, 26:10 [Nov. 5, 2003], 21)
In this thought-provoking examination of Runyon and his historical context, Schwarz . . . argues that scholars have overlooked many of the writer's contributions to American culture. Runyon's pen helped usher in a new age dominated by consumer capitalism and a fascination with popular culture. To demonstrate the writer's importance, Schwarz surveys the context of a large number of Runyon's short stories and newspaper articles. The work's early chapters explore Runyon's background and his infatuation with the new and uniquely American culture that was emerging on New York City's Broadway. Later chapters demonstrate how Runyon's fiction both mirrors the gritty, urban imagery captured by artists of the Ash Can School, and reflects [the American] obsession with gangsters, gamblers, jazz musicians, and sports heroes of the 1930s. From a biographical perspective, the work serves as an excellent companion piece for Jimmy Breslin's Damon Runyon (1991) and, as a study of the formation of commercial culture, its complements William R. Taylor's In Pursuit of Gotham. Summing Up: Recommended. All levels/collections. (T.D Beal, Choice, 41:3, November 2003, 545)
If you love anything to do with the history of New York City, Dan Schwarz has written just the book for you. Broadway Boogie Woogie: Damon Runyon and the Making of New York City Culture is a fascinating look at the gritty nether world in which writer Damon Runyon lived and worked . . . . Between the two world wars, Runyon wrote from an insider’s view of the city’s underbelly. The high-rollers, the glitzy nightlife, the underworld characters, the palookas he wrote about transfixed his readers much as the gory photogravure tabloid shots by crime photographer “Weegee” (Arthur Fellig) who could find “beauty” even at a murder scene. (Monica Finch,, Union College, Summer 2003, 62, 64)
This intriguing scholarly study of Damon Runyon . . . examines his contribution to New York City Culture and identity in the early part of the 20th century. Schwarz (English, Cornell) considers Runyon's work in shaping urban culture from 1910 until his death in 1946, arguing that his subject was "high lowbrow," a cultural identity that shaped the media and created work that had "historical importance in forming the genres that still dominate mass culture today." His argument is supported by a critical and engaging study of the Runyon oeuvre, including short stories and newspaper columns . . . . Schwarz points out that Runyon's popularity originated in his understanding of reader's cultural and economic values . . . . Runyon . . . had an enormous influence on popular culture in America. Recommended . . . . (Katherine E. Merrrill, Library Journal, April 15, 2003).
Schwarz's book shows how Runyon captured--and in some ways created—the sights and sounds of New York City in the first half of the twentieth century. [According to Schwarz], "To read Runyon is to read New York City history between 1910 and 1946 . . . . His trial reporting had much to do with creating the spectator culture." One of the best chapters in the book deals with that topic. Among the trials Runyon covered was the ordeal of Bruno Richard Hauptmann, who was convicted in the 1932 kidnapping and death of Charles A. Lindbergh, Jr., the 20-months son of Charles and Anne Lindbergh. Runyon, whose short story "The Idyll of Sarah Brown," became the hit Broadway musical "Guys and Dolls," could provide both [entertainment and information].
Schwarz revels in describing the impact and style of Runyon, who was one of the two most important, and hard-working, columnists in America from the 1920s until his death in 1946. The other was Walter Winchell . . . Runyon's impact was widespread. . . .
Runyon was tailor-made for New York City, which he draped with memorable characters, such as Harry the Horse, Sky Masterson, Dave the Dude, and Apple Annie. Runyon was a good listener, Schwarz says. That allowed him to absorb the tone of the times. According to Schwarz, "Runyon understood that . . . talk is performance . . . . He told people what New York was about." That meant, primarily, show business, crime, and politics.
The focus on Runyon is an apt vehicle for Schwarz's larger goal of writing a book about the culture of New York City. ("'Damon Runyon Says . . .': Journalist Captured Sights and Sounds of New York Culture," Frank Heron, The Syracuse Post-Standard, Sept. 14, 2003, 21).
Moving from one work to the next, Schwarz (English, Cornell U.) summarizes and discusses the vast oeuvre of Damon Runyon's fiction. Emphasis is given to the recurring motifs of gambling, vaudeville, and street sensibilities. The roots of these subjects in Runyon's own life and the influence of his representation of New York City on later writers are important themes. (Reference & Research Book News, August 2003)
Damon Runyon (1880-1946) survives . . . because his name and its spin-off, the argot called "Runyonese," evoke a perhaps mythical Manhattan occupied by amusing, sometimes violent or greedy perps. Daniel R. Schwarz . . . reexamines the whole of Runyon's flood of writing, from his first newspaper days in Pueblo, Colorado, to his death . . . . Schwarz is most effective in his handling of such topics as "A. Mugg," the name Runyon offered as the putative author of his column when he was developing the arch, pseudo-formal voice that became Runyonese. (James Boylan, Columbia Jounalism Review, July/August 2003).
[Schwarz's] Broadway Boogie Woogie puts Runyon right up there with the great Seabiscuit, a horse Runyon admired, bet on, and wrote about. Schwarz says that Runyon, in his fiction, could transform the ordinary into the extraordinary: "But most important, his stories give us a complex reading of the diverse contexts that defined the image of New York City Culture for Americans and Europeans—and indeed for New Yorkers themselves. Moreover, he was not merely a mirror of the world he observed but a creative force in shaping that world. When we look back at the major cultural forces shaping the history of the first half of the 20th century, and in particular our image of New York City, Damon Runyon looms large." (Jacob Stein, The Wilson Quarterly 27:4 , November, 2003, 118-19.).

Rereading Conrad (2001)

Rereading Conrad collects Daniel R. Schwarz's invaluable yet heretofore far-flung essays of the past twenty years on the fiction of Joseph Conrad. Schwarz observes that "the theoretical explosion of the past two decades has dramatically reshaped the way we read Conrad" and, indeed, Rereading Conrad reflects these myriad theoretical developments . . . The present collection aso serves as a worthy postscript—and in places even a challenge—to Schwarz's two important Conrad volumes of the early 1980s, Conrad: "Almayer's Folly" to "Under Western Eyes" and Conrad: The Later Fiction.
Schwarz's Introduction, written especially for the volume, lays out the concerns that have motivated the author's investigations of Conrad's work over the past twenty years . . . . [T]he Introduction and the essays that follow self-consciously mirror and map the changing face of Conrad criticism since the early 1980s . . . . In short, as its title suggests, Rereading Conrad provocatively holds up the mirror to the process of reading—and interpretation—itself.
The essays that follow the Introduction are . . . well-argued and carefully organized . . . . Perhaps my favorite [essay] in the volume, ["Abroad as Metaphor: Conrad's Imaginative Transformation of Space"], . . . explores the ways in which Conrad transformed his personal travel experiences into imaginative geographies to serve his fictional needs . . . Rereading Conrad does treat a wide array of Conradian texts, subjects, and theoretical /critical perspectives; the volume is admirably broad-minded in every way.
Schwarz is also to be commended for actually engaging in interdisciplinary work (witness for example the chapter on Heart of Darkness and Gauguin, as well as Schwarz's use of Manet's 1863 Dejeuner sur l'herbe . . . to illuminate "The Secret Sharer"), rather than merely gesturing towards such inquiry, as is so often the case in criticism today.
In sum, Schwarz's volume asks—and in many places deftly answers—many of the most important questions that serious readers of Conrad have posed over the past two decades . . . . Rather than aiming for "definitive" readings that threaten to close down discussion, Schwarz adopts a "dialogic" approach—what he calls an "interrogative mode to encourage an openness to discussion"—that promotes participation in an open-ended "community of inquiry." . . . Indeed, the volume's plurality of approaches and its thoughtful formulation of so many penetrating questions make me confident that it will find a wide and enthusiastic readership. (Brian W. Shaffer, Studies in the Novel, 34:2 (Summer 2002), 239-40.
This is a collection of Conrad essays about Joseph Conrad by a noted Professor of English at Cornell attempting to reread primarily the famous, widely read texts, but also some less well known. . . . Professor Schwarz reads Conrad as a great English novelist, a humanist, and at least less racist than his times.
There are eight essays originally published from 1985 to 1997, but collected here in sensible order. . . . Although his techniques vary, Schwarz's tone is engaging and cheery, his manner loquacious, analytical, inclusive, judicious and . . . dialogic. It is possible to imagine him hosting a television series, excitedly addressing viewers . . . talking about dream narratives and political contexts and exchanging candid glances of both awe and irony with the camera . . . .
The first essay examines Conrad in overview, starting with his early efforts to discover a way to examine the lonely soul's place in an implacable universe. . . . Interestingly enough, this chapter could serve readers who don't have time to actually reread all of Conrad as a refresher before the essays with more specific focus, thereby nesting one rereading within another.
There are two essays on "Heart of Darkness;" one contends with deconstructionist and Marxist interpretations by beginning with Elie Wiesel and ending with the Book of Daniel to posit pragmatic Aristotelianism as de-deconstruction, while the other delights in the post-modern play of the intertextual influences of Gauguin's Tahitian paintings and memoirs on Conrad's contested novella set at the other end of the Southern hemisphere. The first allows Schwarz to explain himself, so that the later analyses will be more readily intelligible, while the second allows him to continue with Conrad's most frequently read text with a refreshed palate.
In his essay on Lord Jim, . . . he advocates . . . Conrad's insistence on Jim's guilt and convictability. This return to the necessity of moral judgement seems even more attractive today.
So this large yet svelte book features a professor's . . . essays with a different tacks on various parts of Conrad the contested canonical contributor . . . It should not intimidate anybody who has ever enjoyed reading Conrad. Schwarz is too sensible and down-to-Earth for the theory side to expunge the pleasure side. (Bert Patterns, Ithaca Times 24:12 [Oct. 24, 2001] 31)
[Rereading Conrad] gives us glimpses into how a seasoned scholar incorporates new insights and approaches into the tried and true model of formalist criticism . . . . This collection's real import, however, lies in its deeper commitment to promoting an alternative reading practice to those of the more theoretical schools with which it engages. Specifically, Schwarz advocates a "humanistic cultural criticism which has a place for the aesthetic."
Rereading Conrad 's structure mirrors the stages and principles of Schwarz's approach. The first three chapters provide something of an overture to the rest of the work, corresponding roughly to the "trialogue" existing among" 1)authorial intention and interest ; 2)the formal text produced by the author for a specific historical audience; and 3)the responses of a particular reader in a specific time." The first chapter after the Introduction provides a quick biography of Conrad, fulfilling Schwarz's claim that an informed criticism needs to take into consideration the life, patterns of thought, and private obsessions of the author under study. The second chapter [on Heart of Darkness] fulfills the second principle of Schwarz's critical methodology: that the critic should be clear and self-conscious about his or her own biases, tendencies, and situation . . . . The third chapter demonstrates Schwarz's concern with "the formal text produced by the author for a specific historical audience" by juxtaposing Heart of Darkness with Gauguin's Tahitian diaries and his early Tahitian paintings to suggest . . . a direct influence of Gauguin on Conrad. . . . In Chapters four through seven" Schwarz read both with and against the grain of Conrad's texts, incorporating insights from . . . [deconstruction, marxism, postcolonialism, psychoanalysis] to expand traditional formalist readings of Conrad texts,
The final chapter . . . . [argues] that Conrad's later novels exhibit a continuity with his earlier work rather than representing the last throes of an exhausted imagination . . . . [P]roviding interesting analyses and engaging commentary, it shows Schwarz's real strength as a scholar and critic.
The result of this collection of essays is double-edged as, perhaps must be the case with any book that chooses to fight on two fronts (here the interpretive and the methodological). Rereading Conrad is . . . as much a contribution to the ongoing discussion over which theoretical and methodological paradigms will rule the roost of literary criticism as it is a genuine return to Conrad's texts by a veteran scholar. It will undoubtedly provide much fodder for arguments both theoretical and exegetical. In that sense, it will have achieved its aim of helping to turn the tide of contemporary literary critical practice away from a multitude of monologic discourses and toward a multiplicity of perspectives. (Stephen Ross, Joseph Conrad Today, Summer 2002)
Sensitivity to textual ambiguity through close reading is a marked feature of Daniel Schwarz's study. Rereading Conrad . . . [constitutes] a coherent intellectual study . . . [and hits] the high spots of the Conrad canon . . . . [H]e argues for the unity of Conrad's entire oeuvre as the expression of an individual's moral vision
As a challenge to contemporary critical orthodoxy, Schwarz's study is refreshing. Schwarz is surely right that it is important to place Conrad within a "cultural context" in which the author's personal experience—included his stated opposition to colonial practices—plays a part, rather than seeing his works as simply "sexist and racist" reflections of colonial discourse.
Schwarz's careful formalism at its best exemplifies a practice of reading which attends to the minutiae of the text, and refuses to push aside uncomfortable details in order to achieve symmetry between theory and text. (Philip Holden, English Literature in Transition, 45:3)
Rereading Conrad . . . [reflects Schwarz's] attempt to adjust a formalist approach to post-structuralism, new historicist, and postcolonial imperatives redefining literary criticism since the publication of Schwarz's first book on Conrad in 1980. The "interrogative mode" Schwarz frequently adopts—asking questions of the works he discusses—invites an open-minded, attentive, and collaborative interrogation of Conrad's works and the way others have read them. Its strengths are exemplified in his 1997 edition of "The Secret Sharer" (1910) in Bedford's case studies in contemporary criticism, from which Schwarz has rearranged his own contributions for the present volume . . . Schwarz outlines some of the shared assumptions of postwar American criticism: an emphasis on form; biographical and historical context; mimetic function; interpreting the central meaning; interpreting character; and evaluating the work's unity . . . . Schwarz . . . [argues] that Conrad is more a humanist than the "nihilist and prophet of darkness" that much recent criticism has depicted. (Chris GoGwilt, Victorian Studies 46:1 (Autumn 2003)
[Schwarz] writes a lucid, easygoing, at times almost conversational prose. His knowledge of Conrad and "of Conrad's contexts" is immense. And the interest he has taken throughout his career in the interconnections between literature and painting, especially in the modern period, pays off handsomely, especially in the essay on Conrad and Gauguin. (David Punter, Modern Language Review, 98:3 (2003)

S. Lillian Kremer, Editor. Holocaust Literature: An Encyclopedia of Writers and Their Work. 2 vols. New York: Routledge, 2003. xlvii = 1499 pp. Contributor's biographical notes, eight appendices, glossary, and index.

Reviewed for H-Holocaust by Eric Sterling, Department of English and Philsophy, Auburn University Montgomery.

S. Lillian Kremer . . . recently edited Holocaust Literature: An Encyclopedia of Writers and Their Work, a two-volume set essential to scholars and students studying literature of the Shoah. Kremer's comprehensive encyclopedia contains 309 entries, from those victimized by the Holocaust, such as Anne Frank, Eilie Weisel, Adam Czerniakow, and Charlotte Delbo, to those who wrote abouyt the Shoah years later, such as Amox Oz, Peter Barnes, Cynthia Ozick, and Edward Lewis Wallant. The encyclopedia covers various genres, including eyewitness diaries, autobiographies, biographies, drama, fiction, poetry, archives, letters, memoirs, and testimonies. It also features entries on literature from authors from all over the globe, writing in Yiddish, English, Polish, German, Hebrew, Spanish, French, Italian, Dutch, Portuguese, Serbian, Czech, Russian, and Hungarian, and an impressive list of contributors including prominent Holocaust scholars such as, Daniel R. Schwarz
Although the encyclopedia contains many excellent entries, one of the best is Daniel R. Schwarz's entry on Jerzy Kosinski. Schwarz adeptly recognizes and describes the complexity of Kosinski's The Painted Bird--a work of fiction that the author originally claimed was autobiographical. Schwarz discusses the murkines involving Kosinski's early days and the author's opportunish related to his trauma. Kosinski's book narrates the experience of an isolated boy who suffers rejection, like a painted bird perceived as different from the others of its flock. Schwarz shows how various influences affect the reading of the novel, including Kosinski's own trace "Notes of the Author on The Painted Bird." Schwarz also deftly ties in Kosinski's work to other authors of Holocause literature: "Like primo Levi and Tadeusz Borowski, Kosinski wrestled with feelings of emptiness and worthlessness, characteristics we see in many Holocaust authors and their characters, including Art Spiegelman's self-dramatization in Maus I, 698-699.

Imagining the Holocaust (1999)
Rated byToday's Books as "Must Read 90 points!!!!!"(anything over 85 is "Must Read")

At the center of [Schwarz's] study is a focus on specific Holocaust fictional works—the most discussed in contemporary studies—whereas in the margins Schwarz situates each work in the context of its Western and Jewish literary and philosophical traditions. This structural discipline is one of the book's main achievements, for it prevents the works discussed from being universalized or trivialized.
Schwarz's argument for accepting new poetic boundaries in Holocaust narrative is innovative . . . . . Schwarz distinguishes genres that offer a teleology from those suggesting a different structural and textual design . . . . This kind of delineation makes these books available to both Jews and non-Jews in America as much as it explains their success with a heterogeneous audience . . . . Indeed, Schwarz moves on in search of other modes of Holocaust representations, but before doing so he examines some more complex problems emerging from the ethic-poetic junctures in realistic novels.
Schwarz ends his book by presenting two primary ethical questions raised by Bruno Schulz's The Street of Crocodiles and Sanitarium Under the Signs of the Hourglass, on the one hand, and Cynthia Ozick's response to Schulz, on the other: the ethical difficulty encountered through invading the past and creating and (re)inventing oneself in the context of its history and the moral dilemma of forgery. The major complication then, as Schwarz puts it, is the mode we choose in our quest for truth about the Holocaust and ourselves. One possible response to these problems is reflected in Schwarz's own book, and here we reach full circle, confronting Schwarz's own identity as a humanist in his world view, scholar of modern literature, and Jew.
For him, as for his readers, Imagining the Holocaust provides an epistemological ground, painful, controversial, and complex as it is, for the establishment of self-identity through an imaginative and intellectual journey into Jewish recent history and its collective responses, which also entails, as he so eruditely demonstrates, a quest for universal Jewish and European history, culture, and traditions.
[Schwarz]'s style is fluent and direct . . . . Through a close reading of the narratives, Schwarz develops an intellectual dialogue not only with the authors of selected fictional works but with other scholars of the Shoah as well . . . . [H]e asks many questions and is courageous enough to try to deal with the most grievous and difficult dilemmas, engaging along the way his rich knowledge of Western and Jewish artistic and literary traditions. For this, and because he encourages the expansion of the boundaries in Holocaust representations, the appearance of Schwarz's book is a significant event in Holocaust studies. (Yona Shapira, AJS Review: TheJournal of the Association for Jewish Studies, 26:1 April 2002, 188-94)
In Imagining the Holocaust, Daniel R. Schwarz describes the tapestry of styles, genres, and perspectives that constitute our representation of the Holocaust more than fifty years after the catastrophe occurred. Connecting the aesthetics of representation to the moral impact of story-telling on history and memory, Schwarz comments on a how a polyphony of voices has shaped our recollection of disparate events now grouped under the term Holocaust or Shoah. Discussing Claude Lanzmann's . . . . Shoah (1985), Schwarz writes words which could apply to his own text.
But within that single perspective is a complex chorus of voices showing us that history is composed not merely of the actions of the powerful but the behavior of ordinary people and their retrospective view of it. Rather than having one homogenized voice, history has many voices. As Lanzmann moves from place to place and country to country, he is effective as a character engaged in an Odyssean journey of sense making.
The range of Lanzmann's "Odyessean journey of sense making" is, on a different level, reproduced in Schwarz's own critical task of surveying five decades of representation by men and women, Jews and non-Jews, survivors, second-generation survivors, journalists, and writers with literary pretensions . . . .
Schwarz does ask important questions. I was especially moved by his challenge to the ethics of what he calls "pseudo-docudramas" found in texts such as Sophie's Choice by William Styron. Schwarz questions Styron's mix of actual persons and historical settings with the fictional "bildungsroman" of Stingo, a Southern writer living in Brooklyn who compares the American Civil War to the Holocaust.
[Schwarz's] omnibus or big tent approach to Holocaust studies has its advantages. Schwarz's primary audience is . . . ordinary readers and teachers who are seeking guidance into how to sort through the plethora of available texts to create their own reading lists. Judicious and yet impassioned about the kind of work he favors, Schwarz' Imagining the Holocaust serves as a valuable guide book.
In Imagining the Holocaust, Schwarz continues to purse the argument he has made in numerous studies of modernist fiction for the semantic or meaning-bearing and autobiographical impulses that motivated the composition of even the most hermetic of modernist texts . . . . Schwarz's signature critical method—self-interrogating, provisional (this is true, isn't it)—is evident in his passages about the many texts he addresses. Such a style would serve us well as a model for a type of non-ideological cultural criticism that remains impassioned in its argumentational claims . . . . Schwarz's rhetorical style is deeply interactive. His method is dialogic in the Bakhtinian sense of producing meaning through a conversation between hermeneutic friends. (Daniel Morris, Studies in the Novel, 33:2 (Summer 2001, 243-45).
After a lengthy and engaging introduction, Schwarz divides his book into four parts . . . . Schwarz considers popular novels (such as Green's Holocaust and Schwarz-Bart's The Last of the Just) as well as more traditional works . . . . The author gives several explanations as to why American Jewish writing was somewhat circumspect when the atrocities of the Holocaust were first revealed, especially in regard to telling or not telling children . . . .
In defense of Speigelman's [Maus] books . . . Schwarz argues that the use of cartoons can capture the Holocaust as Picasso did the horrors of war in Guernica . . . . Schwarz's analysis of Holocaust literature is quite intriguing in regard to the role he assigns to memory . . . . In discussing the movie adaptation of Schindler's List, Schwarz points out the role played by different kinds of memory in portraying the Holocaust . . . . In his analysis of Ozick's story "The Shawl," and its sequel, "Rosa," Schwarz shows how imagination and memory often cross the boundaries between them . . . . It is the fallibility of memory, which uses imagination to try to recover some of what it has lost, that makes Holocaust literature so difficult to put into a historical context . . . . Schwarz's excellent analysis of so many [Holocaust texts] brings us closer to an understanding of the Holocaust. (Joel Shatzky, "The Holocaust: Remembrance and Reflection," Jewish Currents, April 2001, 28-29)
Schwarz's work is the work of a formalist literary critic. He reads literary texts through the lens of a crucial question: Can an imaginative text, as opposed to a documentary text, do justice to the horror of genocide? More importantly, can an imaginative text do what, it is generally believed, Holocaust texts are supposed to do: teach the world what happened and help ensure it will never happen again.
Schwarz's answer to both questions is yes . . . .
Schwarz's goal throughout is to put each text in historical context, examine the circumstances of its production, and read it in light of the questions articulated above. In certain ways, this is a daring project: reading holocaust literature as if it were literature. On the other hand, his formalist approach frees him from the necessity to take positions on some of the controversies that surround the texts he examines.
Two things made this book satisfying for me. First was the context Schwarz provided. I had heard, for instance, about the emendations made by Anne Frank's father before publishing his daughter's diaries. Schwarz does a fine job of articulating both the publishing history and the implications of the editing. Along similar lines, he traces the history of Wiesel's Night and Primo Levi's, multiple holocaust narratives. It is, moreover, satisfying to read the sensitive and intelligent readings of the works of many authors— Lanzmann, Spielberg, Ozick—by a literary critic of such wide experience and such formidable intelligence. (Elliot H. Shapiro, Ithaca Times: 22:32 March 22, 2000, p. 32).
Imagining the Holocaust . . . . examines how fiction writers (some Jewish and some not, some Holocaust survivors and some not); the producer of a movie (Steven Spielberg); and the producer of a documentary (Claude Lanzmann) have interpreted the Holocaust . . . . [L]ike Inge Clendinnen's Reading the Holocaust, Schwarz's book should be considered essential because of its purpose: to persuade readers that to vicariously experience the Holocaust means to address critical philosophical questions. To ignore these questions and to concentrate only on emotional content is to risk not understanding the little that can be understood—not only how such a catastrophe could have happened but how it was experienced.
Among the questions Schwarz poses, "(1) Is the concept of a `fictive construct' disrespectful to the Holocaust, the events of which are all too true? (2) How does one discuss how memory transforms reality and words transform memory? (3) How can those of us who are not survivors write respectfully about the Holocaust since we cannot make amends through our writing for not being victims? . . . . (4) Why do those survivors and their kin and others immersed in Holocaust studies strongly object to films like Schindler's List, which, while twice told tales to the cognescenti, make Holocaust themes and images available to a general audience?" (p. 3)
Schwarz divides the book into four parts. The first, "Memoirs," concentrates on Elie Wiesel, Primo Levi, Anne Frank, and Sophie Goetzel-Leviathan. "Realism," Part Two, considers Taduesz Borowski, John Hersey, Gerald Green, Jerzy Kosinski, William Styron, Thomas Keneally, and Stephen Spielberg. "Myth, Parable, and Fable," Part Three, analyzes works by Andre Schwarz-Bart, Aharon Appelfeld and Leslie Epstein. Part Four, "Fantasy," addresses articles and books by Art Spegelman, Cynthia Ozick, and Bruno Schulz. Each part includes observations by historians. An appendix (essential, because of the number of items cited) provides full bibliographic information . . . .
Schwarz has not based his career on Holocaust studies, but through his literary analyses gives us new approaches to studying it. One of the key themes in "Memoirs" is the overwhelming, overpowering effect when a writer who witnessed the calamity does not attempt to describe its historical or sociological significance but simply provides detail after detail answering questions how it was experienced: How did parents relate to their children and children to their parents? How much actual contact was there between a Jew and the SS? To what extent, if any, was it possible to maintain decency? Was it possible for a person to will himself to survive? And surely not least, What, exactly, should remembrance remember?
After Schwarz deals with the wooden prose of Gerald Green's Holocaust, William Styron's "insensitivity" in sections of Sophie's Choice (for example, Sophie's complaint, "Oh, it was so very Jewish of Nathan to do that -- he wasn't giving me his love, he was buying me with it, like all Jews."), (p. 204) and Kosinski's self-invented persona in The Painted Bird (Kosinski first claimed he was a Polish Christian and then reluctantly admitted he was a Polish Jew), Schwarz arrives (in Parts Three and Four) at discussions that will jar readers less interested in learning how Jews behaved than in what Germans did. (I want, here, to emphasize that Schwarz in no way exonerates Germans from their guilt; forgiveness is not the issue, reactions are the issue.). . . .
To enable readers to grasp the degree to which Germans crushed the Jewish spirit, in his introduction Schwarz reminds us of the barber, Abraham Bomba, in Lanzmann's Shoah, who says that "in one second" the concept of family ceased.(p. 29) Also of Filip Muller, in the same documentary, who tended Auschwitz ovens and astounds us with, "I was ready to do whatever I was told)" (p. 28). (Milton Goldin, Book Review Editor, H-Holocaust, Jan 29, 2000)
Schwarz (English, Cornell Univ.) divides his study of Holocaust literature into sections on memoir, realism, fantasy and myth, parable, and fable. He describes the difference in techniques and philosophical ideas and covers questions of aesthetics and moral statements in the works by Primo Levi, Tadeusz Borowski, Aharon Appelfeld, Cynthia Ozick, and Bruno Schulz, among others. Jerzy Kosinksi's life and works are poignantly explained, s are Art Spiegelman's graphic works. Schwarz is especially good in his discussion of the American popular realism of John Hersey's The Wall, Gerald Greens's Holocaust, and William Styron's Sophie's Choice. A discussion of Claude Lanzmann's and Stephen Spielberg's films on the Holocaust frames the overall discussion. Recommended for Jewish studies collections. (Gene Shaw, Library Journal , Feb 15, 2001)
The postmodern approach to Mausexamines how the text, with its formal and thematic innovations, suggests new ways of reading the Holocause within the context of self-reflexivity and metafictionality . . . In his 1999 [chapter], "The Comic Grotesque of Speigelman's Maus," Schwarz is one of the earliest critics using this postmodern frame. . . Schwarz identifies Mausas a post modern text that, in its use of playful and innovative discourse, breaks with many traditional forms of Holocaust narratives. Schwarz's most consistent claim seems to be an implicit response to questions he poses in his book's introduction. He posits there that modernism is uncomfortably aligned with Nazi language, and in classifying Spiegelman's text as postmodern, he suggests that it provide an alternative to more conventional narrative forms. His chapter on Maus in particular--interestingly grouped in the "Fantasy' section of [his] book as opposed to the sections, "Memoirs," "Realism," or "Myth, Parable, and Fable"--details the ways that some of Maus' most striking images effect in readers the ability to see their "human Commonality" with Jewish Holocaust victims by instantly eliciting more intense and immediate emotional responses (Hye Su Park, "Art Spiegelman's Maus: A Survivor's Tale: A Bibliographic Essay," Shofar 29:2 [Winter 2011], 146-64; see 156-57).

Reconfiguring Modernism:
Explorations in the Relationship Between Modern Art and Modern Literature

The signature argument of Daniel Schwarz's many years of discussion of modernism is that the major modernists (James, Conrad, Forster, Lawrence, Woolf, Eliot, Joyce, . . . Stevens and others) fashioned a "more subjective, self-expressive novel [and poem] than their predecessors." . . . One could argue that the new return to ethics signals a return to the territory that has been Schwarz's home ground (and high ground all along) . . . . Of the work of keeping this [humanistic claim for modernism] before us—the claim of tradition, as Michael Levenson might put it—Schwarz, with his moral stake in the argument, has done more than anyone.
Has done and continues to do so. Schwarz's indefatigable and incisive seeking out of the humanistic elements in modernism becomes only riskier—and more rewarding—in this, his most recent study of modernism, Reconfiguring Modernism, which intrepidly complements . . . modernist works of fiction and poetry by placing alongside them well-known, much-discussed works of modern painting . . . . Here the focus is on recognizably human figures (Picasso "retains a strong interest in the human subject, p.7) experiencing familiar kinds of feeling and thought . . . . Note, for example, the brilliant chapter on Conrad and Gauguin.
Schwarz's investments in "the humanistic heritage". . . more often . . . prove richly rewarding. For example, many of the triptychs on display in . . . "Picasso, Joyce, and Stevens as a Cultural Configuration" (chapter 6) delight and instruct . . . . Linking each artist's . . . "role playing" (pp.51, 181) to his preoccupation with urban and popular (lower) cultures, Schwarz shows how these faithless and fatherless modernists move through subversiveness to a god-like aesthetic of self-creation that is nonetheless ethical . . . .
Schwarz's sense of a complex balance of often "contradictory impulses" is itself complex and nuanced, as is his account of how "aesthetic, mystical, naturalistic, and boldly sexual aspects of Modernist art struggle dialogically for space in the same work" (p.197) . . . . This striking exercise in seemingly apolitical formal analysis does not end before reminding us that the modernists were their own first "post-modern" critics.

Schwarz's signature critical method [is[ self-interrogating, provisional . . . . This is a method likely to alight on reflections of its own generosity and self-scrutiny in the verbal and visual artworks it studies. In so doing, it is also likely to profit even those whose view of modernism is decidedly dimmer than Schwarz's own. Like it or not, such anti-modernist critics will find in Schwarz's engaging studies a model balance of intellectual acuity and critical generosity—as well as a compelling response. (Brian May, JEGP, 100:3,[ July 2001], 461-65.
[Reconfiguring Modernism] is useful in two important ways: as a commentary on the modernist aesthetic an as an exploration of the complex critical world of interdisciplinary study . . . . Schwarz's analyses of such "high modernists" as Henry James, Joseph Conrad, T.S. Eliot, James Joyce, and Wallace Stevens in terms of modern artistic movements (Impressionism, Post-Impressionism, and Cubism, with references to Dadaism, Fauvism, Futurism, and Surrealism) are provocative and introduce possibilities for further interdisciplinary discussion of modernists.
Schwarz uses Matisse's dance paintings to refer back to primitive, symbolic expressions of life and forward to new expressions of being alive . . . . Schwarz also uses dance as a metonym for coping with modern paradoxes (disorder/order, movement/gesture, symmetry/asymmetry, spontaneity/control) . . . . Schwarz uses dance itself as a narrative to exemplify the interaction of modern art's polyperspectivism.
Chapter six explores affinities among Picasso, Joyce, and Stevens in their use of self-portraiture to explore the modern psyche and imagination . . . . In the final chapter . . . Schwarz's assessment of Stevens's poetic principles brings together the visual and verbal into a synthesized aesthetic, one that insists on the validity of what the artist sees and feels and how the reader responds.
[Schwarz] explores the complexity of the modernist aestheti—its focus on subjectivity, self-reflection, and paradox—by taking apart particular artistic works, viewing their common characteristics, then reassembling the discovered relationships and patterns . . . . Finally, inReconfiguring Modernism, Schwarz has initiated a dialogue between literature and the other arts that should, in his words "open the doors and windows of literature" to diverse points of view. (Kathyrn N. Benzel, Clio, 29:1 (1999), 70-74)
"The kind of creative criticism Schwarz proposes . . . offers more than close readings of Modernist paintings vis-a-vis their literary counterparts. These alone make the book worth reading, for Schwarz is a most generous and knowledgeable docent whose critical expertise in literary Modernism has prepared him well to look with informed freshness at an art from that is so different from, yet, related to, writing . . . . Schwarz pursues in this study a Lacanian thrust to encounter compositions of selfhood as constructed by the gaze (looking and being looked at). This is but one strand of a complex theoretical framework that includes and goes beyond stories of influence and seeks a cultural criticism that is 'more . . . verb . . . than noun' and that emphasizes inquiry over answer.
[I]n his compelling reading of To the Lighthouse . . . he shows how Woolf's painting-as-writing metaphors operate through Lily Briscoe's choice of form and subject and in the narrative formed between her first and second painting, even as the novel's 'narrative code' reminds us not be seduced by Lily's epiphany . . . . In translating the rhythm of Cézanne's Millstone in the Park into literary terms vis-à-vis Eliot's Prufrock in a way that lets us feel that sideways-walking crab energy of Cézanne's visually entrapping intersecting planes, Schwarz appeals to the part of the perceptive faculty that revels in metaphor . . . . Thus Schwarz connects the literary recuperation of the subject from its word-symbol to the centrality of subject in modern painting, even in terms of Klee who believed in a non-optical approach to what is real and discoverable, as Kandinsky believed that the cosmic order can be discovered (not just created) in and through abstraction.
His own syntax becomes part of the text . . . . Schwarz adds a performative element to his criticism, much as Joyce, Eliot, and Forster make representation a subject of their work and Lawrence, Stevens, and Woolf make imagination the focus of theirs.
Schwarz'a study makes much of the Joycean notion of parallax, that things look different depending on where one stands. From where we stand as literary critics, the humanizing elements of this deeply engaging study appear most welcome" (Diane Richard-Allerdyce, Studies in the Novel, 32:1, Spring 2000, 97-100.
"In Reconfiguring Modernism, Daniel R. Schwarz pursues the argument he has made in numerous studies of fiction for the mimetic valences and autobiographical impulses behind even the most hermetic of modernism's visual texts . . . . As in his treatment of Joyce, Conrad, Woolf, and Lawrence, Schwarz finds evidence that modernism's 'genetic code' is inscribed by artists such as Picasso and Cezanne to the degree that the viewer senses a 'struggle with their subject.'  Cezanne's multiperspectival landscapes and Picasso's quixotic portraits document their anxious confrontation with the problem of consciousness in motion.  The act of telling a story or constructing a painting become central to the artist's composition of his or her identity and is among the major determinants of the cultural configuration of modernism . . . . [H]e offers a persuasive influence study in chapter 3 by arguing that Gauguin's Tahitian journal Noa Noa may have inspired Conrad's Lord Jimand Heart of Darkness.
Schwarz is at his best as a critic, teacher, and advocate for the value of modern painting when he describes the tonal valences and stylistic variations in different versions of the same painting by the same painter.  A good example is when he compares the 'more joyful' version of Picasso's The Three Musicians (1921) that is held in Philadelphia with the 'deathly' and 'claustrophobic' resonances he finds in a version of the same painting held at New York's MOMA.  'In the New York version, the movement from white to black through the multicolor clown figure playing the guitar suggests the inevitable movement from life to death,' writes Schwarz.  Reading difficult paintings by Cezanne, Gauguin, Picasso, and Matisse, Schwarz displays his passion for artists who have changed the way many of us think about the history of painting, but also how we react to the world with a responsibility, in Stevens's phrase, to patch' it together as we can.  Of Le Dejeuner sur l'herbe (1863) Schwarz writes:  'Isn't Manet calling attention to his ability to mix genres however he pleases and to defy—like the naked woman--conventions of genre and perspective?'  Schwarz's signature critical method—self-interrogating, provisional (this is true,isn't it?—is evident in this and many other passages he devotes to specific paintings.  Such a style would serve us well as model for a type of nonideological cultural criticism that remains impassioned in its argumentational claims.  Like Stevens's poetry and the paintings by Picasso and Cezanne, Schwarz's rhetorical style is deeply interactive.  His method is dialogic in the Bakhtinian sense of producing meaning through a conversation between hermeneutic friends.
Early on, Schwarz states that his book will be informed by knowledge he has gathered over thirty years as a student and teacher of modernism.  His 'thick' description of the field enables him to move effortlessly and intuitively among the genres.  Perhaps his most impressive weaving of the many braids of modernism occurs in 'The Dance of Modernism.'
In Matisse's Dance I and II, Picasso's Three Dancers, Lawrence's The Rainbow, Stevens's 'Sunday Morning,' and Yeats's 'Among School Children,' dance is imaged in terms of both pure movement and mimetic gesture, as something out of time between the tick and the tock.  Dance is a metaphor for asymmetry with symmetry, disorder resolved as order, spontaneity resolved as control; dance frees the self from interior shackles to take one's place in a larger meaningful pattern.
At its best, Schwarz's study reveals the dance of his own perceptions.  His book should take its place within a 'larger meaningful pattern of cultural criticism that celebrates the work being discussed and, by doing so, reveals the author's deep affection for its sources and for the process of learning about them over a lifetime'" (Daniel Morris, Modern Fiction Studies,  44:2, Summer 1998).
James Joyce's The Dead, Edited by Daniel R. Schwarz. (1994)
The volume editor, Daniel R. Schwarz, has selected his contributors wisely . . . Schwarz himself contributes a psychoanalytic reading of The Dead, a balance and wide-ranging discussion of the story's biographical and historical contxts and a comprehensive and insightful critical history of the story's reception
In his theoretical essay, Schwarz prefers to call his approach "psychological rather than psychoanalytic" in nature, because it is an eclectic, puralistic blend of "Freudian, Jungian, and Lacanian perspectives." Viewing "Gabriel Conroy's character as the unifying concept of 'The Dead,'" Schwarz demonstrates the numerous "possibilities of psychological criticism" by focusing not only on the text's characters but on the author and reader, anticipating his volume's other theoretical essays. . . In sum, Schwarz's volume is a splendid new addition to Bedford's Case Studies in Contemporary Criticism series. It will undoubtedly prove to be a valuable tool in teaching Joyce's single greatest work of short fiction. (Brian W. Shaffer, Studies in Short Fiction, 32:3, 1995)

Narrative and Representation in the Poetry of Wallace Stevens:
'A Tune Beyond us, yet Ourselves'

"Schwarz detects in both the lyrics and longer poems an implied narrative, spoken by a character, and emanating from an experience, all of which it is possible for the sensitive reader to unearth. In chapters built around such exemplary Stevens works as "Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird," "The Idea of Order at Key west," "Anecdote of the Prince of Peacocks," The Man with the Blue Guitar, Notes Toward a Supreme Fiction and others, Schwarz ably and clearly demonstrates his thesis while providing new and valuable readings of these much-discussed poems. Stevens is placed in American and modernist literary contexts as well, and the effects of his interest in modern painting are brought into focus. The result is a refreshing approach, outstanding among the current spate of books devoted to Stevens. Recommended. Undergraduate; graduate; faculty; general." (B. Galvin, Choice, November 1993)
"Schwarz is a brilliant reader of Stevens . . . . Schwarz recognized that Stevens is a divided writer . . . . [He] helps us understand that Stevens' poems are indeed the incarnations of the aging self. He recognizes that the poems reflect youth, the middle years, old age; they are about life as process (and progress?) . . . . Schwarz humanizes Stevens . . . . Schwarz is also master of language. . . . It is as if Schwarz and Stevens were 'doubles' playing on duplicities . . . . Schwarz is aware of the crisscrossing of words, events. He delights in the oddities of poetry and life, the apparent coincidence or chance, the wisdom of the body . . . . This study . . . . will become an essential study . . for all readers of Stevens." (Irving Malin, The Wallace Stevens Journal)
" . . . . Like Stevens's poetry, Schwarz's rhetorical style is deeply interactive. His method is dialogic in the Bakhtinian sense of producing meaning through a conversation between two hermeneutic friends. Schwarz's awareness that a poet changes his mind as he grows up keeps his humanistic perspective from seeming ideological rather than a practice put in the service of understanding poetry . . . . "
" . . . . Schwarz makes convincing claims that even so self-conscious a poem as "The Rock," which often has been cited as an ontological meditation on the poem as separate imaginative entity (mind), is, more accurately, an interstitial space that allows the poet, unsure of his final meaning, but heading toward a final end, to form, reform, transform, and inform a relationship between the world that resists our longing, and the great strength of human desire and creativity to make the unintelligible available to significance."
" . . . . Schwarz, who is a professor of English at Cornell, is perhaps best known for a series of book-length studies and articles on proto-modern and modern novelists including James Joyce, as well as for his recent books on history of contemporary critical theory as it is perceived from a humanistic perspective . . . . What is refreshing about Schwarz's turn of attention toward modern American poetry is that his critical model is, finally, pedagogical. . . . It would be hard to think of an audience that would not benefit from an appreciation of Stevens's struggle to find meaning." (Dan Morris, Harvard Review, 6 (Spring 1994).
" . . . . Schwarz is refreshingly critical of Stevens's concept of "Major Man," which he finds "not only naive but unpleasant," a figure "who does not do anything, love anyone, interact with his community." This frankness makes Schwarz's praise of Stevens as a great modernist all the more convincing. He particularly values Stevens's creation of a dramatic context for his poetic voices and the way he uses metaphors "as a kind of Zeno's paradox . . . always bisecting his way to the moment of revelation, but never getting there." Schwarz's thesis also focuses on a paradoxical quality in Stevens that his poems' "secret codes and apparent lack of narrative distance" inspire the reader to understand the poem in terms of a narrative: "the reader is enclosed in a room from which his desire for narrative becomes the exit to understanding." This approach leads to interesting readings of the entire canon, including lesser-known poems like "The Prince of Peacocks." . . . . Stevens and the art of painting is a frequent topic of Stevens's critics, and it is intelligently discussed in Schwarz's book. ("Poetry: 1900 to the 1940s," by Timothy Materer in American Literary Scholarship: An Annual. Ed. Gary Scharnhorst. Duke Univ. Press, 1995).

Narrative and Culture (ed. with Janice Carlisle)

"This wonderful collection is an attempt to explore the meanings of narrative . . . . The editors recognize that these abstract nouns are suspect, mysterious, devious . . . . . Especially nortworthy are essays by Schwarz on Wallace Stevens, Rowe on 'the rhetoric of television,' and Morrison on 'narrative in the Plague Years (on AIDS)'". (Irvin Malin, Review of Contemporary Fiction, Fall, 1994).

The Case for a Humanistic Poetics
"[T]he humanism [Schwarz] advocates assumes that 'literature expresses insights about human life and responses to human situations' (p. 2). Such humanistic reading is not the application of a theory but a series of transactions between the text ad the reader . . . . [T]he third chapter, 'Character and Characterization: An Inquiry,' . . . reminds us that although of all the aspects of the literary text the creation and function of the individual character has received the least amount of profitable discussion, the reader's response to characters is a signal importance. Schwarz's humanism and pluralism allow him to make the salutary point that not only do different readers respond differently to the same text but that the same reader ought to respond differently to different texts . . . . In brief, the volume . . .cut[s] through the constraints of particular theories and urge[s]readers to reflect on the multiple values they have actually found, and others worth seeking, in the literature they read." (Wendell V. Harris, Philosophy and Literature)

The Transformation of the English Novel, 1890-1930

"In essays on Hardy, Lawrence, Forster, Conrad, Joyce and Woolf, Schwarz opposes deconstruction with a counter-revolution in humanist criticism . . . . [T]he best essays in this collection are those which take on modern theory . . . . Refreshingly, Schwarz brings liberal humanism out of its own cosy élitism; using attack as the best defence, he argues that it has its own radical tradition. This is a timely restatement of much that has been ignored by modern critical theory." (Scott McCracken, Times Higher Education Supplement, July 28, 1989)
"Daniel R. Schwarz has written an interesting, challenging, and timely book, in which he mediates between traditional modes of scholarship and criticism and the modes of discourse favored by continental theorists and their American and British disciples (structuralism, deconstructionism, Marxism). . . . It is perhaps obvious that I concur with Schwarz's general views and that I welcome his lucid and confident formulation of them. Schwarz also discusses modern writers and their individual books with insight and imaginative sympathy, and he is sensitive always to the nuances and complications to be found in his chosen texts. He argues persuasively for his interpretation of a given work, and his critiques of modern classics such as Sons and Lovers, Ulysses, Mrs. Dalloway, To the Lighthouse and Lord Jim are fresh, rewarding, cogent, and at points controversial . . . . In Schwarz we recognize a sensibility and a tact that provide informed and often definitive interpretations of representative modern novels. I endorse with enthusiasm his theoretical presuppositions and feel that they require his kind of forthright proclaiming of them in an era when critics too often dismiss the humane and humanistic implications of literature as irrelevant and unimportant. The general tenor of his book may well have charted the direction that the best critics and scholars will follow in the 1990s." (Frederick P.W. McDowell, English Literature in Transition, 1880-1920, 33:1, 1990)
"In an exciting and important book, The Transformation of the English Novel: 1890-1930, Daniel Schwarz seeks to 'reinvigorate the humanistic study of fiction by creating a dialogue between traditional theory as well as between theory and texts.' The critic takes aim at the New Criticism for its insistence on excluding the author of a work from consideration and for ignoring the historical content of a text. At the same time, he questions the contribution to an understanding of a rich text by proponents of deconstruction and other recent critical approaches whose vagueness and convolution blur exegesis . . . .
[Schwarz] is particularly sensitive in his treatment of D.H. Lawrence's Sons and Lovers—offering ample biographical and historical evidence to prove Lawrence's own presence in the text through his narrator . . . . He goes on to demonstrate with incisive argument that Lawrence is equally (though in other ways) present in The Rainbow, in which the author invents a non-Christian cosmology but one inappropriate to the tale the novel tells . . . .
The [theoretical] chapters are a model of elegantly styled accommodation; yet they brook no fudging of the issues, no comfortable ambiguities." (Marvin Magalaner, Modern Fiction Studies 35:4, Winter 1989)

The Humanistic Heritage:
Critical Theories of the English Novel from James to Hillis Miller

"Daniel Schwarz has quietly been establishing his credentials as a major voice in the criticism of the novel through studies that began with acritique of Disraeli's fiction, continued through a two-volume examination of Conrad's novels, and currently rests with The Humanistic Heritage." (Ray Stevens, The South Atlantic Review 52:3, September 1987)
"This is a lucid account of modern criticism, a demonstration of how traditional humanism has prevailed in temperaments varying from James to Miller . . . . We and our students can find no better exposition of our critical situation and its history . . . . Schwarz's book is an admirable assessment of the modern critical enterprise." (Sheridan Baker, The Journal of Narrative Technique 15:3, Fall 1986)
"And readers who still like to think that the post-structuralists have not won the game, that it is still possible to assume that the 'world' of a novel refracts 'experience,' will find The Humanistic Heritage a splendid account of those critical texts that have made them seem so." (Journal of Modern Literature 13:3/4, November 1986)
"With grace and remarkable insight, Schwarz' volume bridges the gap that heretofore existed between traditional critical practice and more recent schools of criticism, such as structuralism and deconstruction." (Booklist, Chicago, Illinois, July 1986)
"Schwarz is warmly appreciative of the critics he studies . . . . His summaries are excellent; considering their brevity . . . they are admirably sensitive to shading and detail. The style is plain and jargon-free. The Humanistic Heritage will be useful as review or as introduction for students ranging from advanced undergraduates to specialists in literary criticism. General readers might enjoy it as well." (Nina Baym, Journal of English and Germanic Philology 26:2, April 1987)
"By arguing on behalf of what he calls 'the humanistic heritage,' Schwarz hopes, first, to show that there is more theoretical substance to formalist criticism than its current detractors admit to, and, second, that there can be an informed dialogue—if not a common cause—between more traditional critics and those enamored of structuralism, deconstruction, and Marxism . . . . The result is not only a valuable discussion of, and reminder about, books that made a difference, but also a reaffirmation, if you will, about some assumptions that link critics once thought to be very unlike one another . . . . The Humanistic Heritage is a scholarly book, written with the precision of argument and the sober tone one expects from such a survey as Schwarz's, but it speaks—eloquently, I thinkto issues that are lively and anything but theoretical." (Journal of Modern Literature, Fall/Winter 1987-88)

Reading Joyce's "Ulysses"

"Schwarz does justice throughout to the novel's radical ambiguity and to contemporary critical theory . . . . Schwarz argues strikingly for the central importance of the 'Scylla and Charybdis' chapter. . . . this is a thoughtful interpretation that serious students of Ulysses will welcome." (Keith Cushman, Library Journal, July 1987)
"As he demonstrated in The Humanistic Heritage: Critical Theories from James to Hillis Miller, Schwarz moves easily and thoughtfully among wide ranges of critical thought. He has, in short, the equipment necessary to read Ulysses in a fair-handed, up-to-date fashion . . . . Schwarz hedges his bets about Gabler . . . . Indeed, even the imperative to deal with each chapter on its own terms is suspended—or interrupted—so that Schwarz can fold in a few pithy thoughts about the 'Influence of Futurism,' 'Joyce's Metaphorical Bestiary,' or 'Dante as Metaphor'. . . . Schwarz begins his study by proclaiming that 'This study is for readers of Ulysses'. . . . Perhaps even Joyce himself would approve." (Sanford Pinsker, ELT 31:3, 1988)
"Schwarz is very effective at mounting evidence of the staggering number of mythical and literary echoes sounded in its pages . . . . Schwarz is especially effective with the Old Testament and related works of Jewish inspiration . . . . I have used Schwarz's own words extensively throughout this review because I should not want to betray the subtlety of his argument . . . . Schwarz is an exacting scholar who brings to his labors a knowledge of literary theory . . . . Reading Joyce's "Ulysses" . . . is a stimulating, suggestive book. There is much more to be said about it than I have managed here, but these few notes should alert readers to its importance." (Melvin J. Friedman, James Joyce Quarterly 26:1)
"The author . . . has once again demonstrated his ability to make difficult issues in criticism clear without resorting to oversimplification. Through lucid introductory chapters on 'metaphoricity' and on Joyce's own concept of the hero, Schwarz establishes a critical context that neatly coordinates the briefer chapters on individual sections of Ulysses . . . . Especially helpful to both the novice and the seasoned reader is the chapter titled 'The Concept of Artistic Paternity of "Scylla and Charybdis."' This tightly reasoned chapter moves . . . with deserved self-assurance through critical matters that have created confusion for many important scholars . . . Reading Joyce's "Ulysses" will no doubt be useful to the student stalled in confusion when reading Ulysses for the first time." (A.D. Perls, Choice, March 1988)
"[W]ith Joyce the problem is different: he certainly hasn't suffered from critical neglect, but the criticism has all too often helped to deter readers. Now, after writing two good books on Conrad and a finely sane account of the 'humanistic heritage' in criticism of the novel, Daniel Schwarz has addressed this central problem: Reading Joyce's "Ulysses" (Macmillan, £29.50) is especially welcome since Schwarz keeps his promise to concentrate on how and what the novel means. Instead of adding further chips to that mountain of critical apparatus which unfortunately frightens so many readers away, Schwarz emphasises the joys that even a first reading of Ulysses can yield, and the ways in which the novel itself suggests how it should be read (a deceptively obvious point). Schwarz has many good things to say about Joyce's metaphoricity or 'metaforcity,' and he vigorously disputes the charge that Joyce's concern with style smothers the latter part of Ulysses." (Graham Bradshaw, English Studies 70:2)
"What Schwarz promises in terms of a 'humanistic' or traditional reading of Ulysses he does, and he does admirably. Reading Joyce's 'Ulysses' is filled with intances of Schwarz's careful, erudite understanding of Joyce's metaphoric and allusive intentions . . . . The chapter 'The Concept of Artistic Paternity in "Scylla and Charybdis"' is exceptionally well done as Schwarz adumbrates the problematics of the paternal-filial theme described by Joyce . . . . I believe Professor Schwarz has admirably fulfilled his intention in writing this book: to show the reader how to read Ulysses as a testament to the humanistic vision of Joyce and to show how the metonymic principle helps make for a coherent reading of the novel." (Rosemarie Battaglia, Studies in the Novel 21:2, Summer 1989)

Conrad: "Almayer's Folly" to "Under Western Eyes"

"Schwarz's book . . . sparkles with individual insights . . . . Schwarz surpasses Watt in his awareness that the texts can be described or analyzed as a 'dynamic process' . . . which defies the reduction to simple moral statements." (Todd K. Bender, English Language Notes)
"Schwarz's book is generous and provocative." (Ernest Bevan, Jr.)

Conrad: The Later Fiction

"This neat, efficient book completes the study initiated in Schwarz's Conrad: "Almayer's Folly" to "Under Western Eyes" . . . . Schwarz is stimulating in a way that counts; he reminds us that we can't take our readings as established and secure . . . . High merit is in all the book." (Dale Kramer, Studies in Short Fiction 20, 1983)
"[Schwarz] works from the presupposition that the novel is a dramatic form pressing the reader to engage with the humanity of the persons displayed within it, and that it is proper and permissible to use knowledge of the novelist's life and preoccupations when studying his work . . . . [Schwarz's book] . . . is at its best when demonstrating the continuity of Conrad's career; the argument is well-conducted and persuasive . . . . Schwarz is right . . . that if Conrad's reputation had to rest on the best work published after Under Western Eyes . . . Conrad would still be a major twentieth century figure . . . . Professor Schwarz is particularly good on The Rover, 'a lyrical novel about mutability and the rhythms of human existence in which one man confronts mortality in order to create the possibility of life and love for others.'" (John Batchelor, Conradiana 20:1, 1989)

Disraeli's Fiction

"Disraeli's Fiction is notable for its concision and sense of purpose . . . . Professor Schwarz's simplifying style is, at its best, terse and epigrammatic." (Thom Braun, Notes and Queries)
"The book should appeal not only to Disraeli scholars but to students of the Victorian novel and of the history of ideas in the 19th century." (Donald Sultana, British Book News)
"The Schwarz book provides even better readings of Disraeli's novels, primarily because Schwarz concentrates more directly and in more detail upon the fiction itself." (Nineteenth Century Fiction, December 1981)