Best known for his many novels and short stories, of which a very large portion were translated into English, the Yiddish writer Isaac Bashevis Singer also authored numerous essays on literary criticism and other topics under the pseudonym Yitskhok Varshavski. Among these was his 1963 article titled “Who Needs Literature?” in which he questions the purpose of fiction even while lamenting its decline. Singer begins the essay, recently translated into English by David Stromberg, by declaring that he has come to the conclusion “that reading fiction is a waste of time”—but then goes on to defend literature itself:
Who Needs Literature?
How Palestinian Authority Incitement Led to the Murder of an Israeli Jogger
On December 20, a Palestinian waited in a wooded area near a Jewish village in northern Israel in the hope of encountering a victim. Soon enough he spotted Esther Horgan walking home from an evening jog and killed her by beating her with a rock. He later told the police that he did the deed to avenge the death of Kamal Abu Wa’er, a terrorist in Israeli custody. Itamar Marcus explains: