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The Secular RabbiPhilip Rahv and Partisan Review$
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Doris Kadish

Print publication date: 2021

Print ISBN-13: 9781800859661

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: September 2021

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781800859661.001.0001

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(p.7) Chapter One Discoveries
The Secular Rabbi

Doris Kadish

Liverpool University Press

This chapter traces preliminarily the history of Partisan Review and the stages in Rahv’s life and career, from his immigration in 1922, through the 1920s, and up until his death in 1973. Noting the traits of his complex personality that friends and associates observed, it delves deeper into the roots of his character through the love letters he sent to my mother, Ethel Richman, between 1928 to 1931. They uncover previously unknown information including his time spent in Savannah, GA and Portland, OR teaching Hebrew; several pieces of juvenilia; his experiences with race and anti-Semitism; and his literary aspirations. The chapter lays the groundwork for the book’s major thematic emphasis on Jewishness. In Rahv’s case, key components discussed are appearance, voice, and name. In a “Personal Reflections” section, I reflect on experiences of Jewishness in the Lower East Side of NYC, Savannah, GA, and Peekskill, NY.

Keywords:   Hebrew, immigration, love letters, anti-Semitism, race, Jewishness, Savannah, GA, Lower East Side

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