Academic journal article Philip Roth Studies

Editors' Note: In Memoriam: Mark Shechner (1940-2015)

Academic journal article Philip Roth Studies

Editors' Note: In Memoriam: Mark Shechner (1940-2015)

Article excerpt

I first encountered Mark Shechner as a graduate student working on post-war Jewish-American fiction. At a time when scholarship in the field was generally rather conservative and unadventurous, Mark's work stood out for its intellectual ambition, stylistic flair, and irreverent wit. His essays on Roth made a particular impression on me- whereas much of the criticism on Roth was still mired in polemical debates about whether or not he was "good for the Jews," Mark managed to combine powerful advocacy of his fiction with an assured critique of its limitations.

Many years later I met Mark at an American Literature Association conference in Boston, where he delivered a memorable tribute to his fellow native of Newark and Professor at Buffalo, Leslie Fiedler, another giant of Jewish- American scholarship. Mark was as lively and witty in person as in his prose and I immediately warmed to him. The final stage of my relationship with Mark was professional: in my capacity as co-editor of The Edinburgh Companion to Modern Jewish Fiction (2015) I invited him to write a Preface to the volume. …

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