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Leon Wieseltier (b. June 14, 1952) is a American writer, critic, and magazine editor. Since 1983 he has been the literary editor of The New Republic.

Wieseltier was born in Brooklyn, New York and attended the Yeshivah of Flatbush, Columbia University, Oxford University, and Harvard University, and was a member of Harvard's Society of Fellows from 1979 to 1982.[1]

Wieseltier has published several fictional and non-fictional books. Kaddish, a National Book Award finalist in 2000, is a genre-blending meditation on the Jewish prayers of mourning. Against Identity is a collection of thoughts about the modern notion of identity.

Wieseltier also edited and introduced a volume of works by Lionel Trilling entitled The Moral Obligation to Be Intelligent and wrote the foreword to Ann Weiss's The Last Album: Eyes from the Ashes of Auschwitz-Birkenau, a collection of personal photographs that serves as a paean to pre-Shoah innocence. Wieseltier's translations of the works of Israeli poet Yehuda Amichai have appeared in The New Republic and The New Yorker.

During Wieseltier's tenure as literary editor of The New Republic, many of his signed and unsigned writings have appeared in the magazine.

Joshua Muravchik calls Wieseltier a "liberal thinker," [2] and George Packer calls him one of the "ideas men of the liberal intelligentsia." [3]

Wieseltier served on the Committee for the Liberation of Iraq. "I am in no sense a neoconservative, as many of my neoconservative adversaries will attest," Wieseltier wrote in a May 2007 letter to Judge Reggie Walton, seeking leniency for his friend Scooter Libby.[4]

Criticism

Wieseltier was a frequent target of satire monthly Spy Magazine, which often derided his analyses of pop culture as comically pretentious, and mocked him as "'Leon Vee-ZEL-tee-AY'" who "jealously guards his highbrow credentials while wearing a lowbrow heart on his sleeve." [5] His perceived tendency to name-drop references to high culture, politics and philosophy in inappropriate contexts has also come under criticism. [6][7]

In reference to being called a 'jew-baiter' by Wieseltier, Andrew Sullivan has said that 'Wieseltier is a connoisseur and cultivator of personal hatred' - referring to a dislike based on 'tedious' causes that Wieseltier allegedly has held regarding him for a long time.[8]

Wieseltier appeared in one episode of the fifth season of The Sopranos, playing "Stuart Silverman," a character whom Wieseltier described as "a derangingly materialistic co-religionist who dreams frantically of 'Wedding of the Week' and waits a whole year for some stupid car in which he can idle for endless hours in traffic east of Quogue every weekend of every summer, the vulgar Zegna-swaddled brother of a Goldman Sachs mandarin whose son's siman tov u'mazel tov is provided by a pulchritudinous and racially diverse bunch of shellfish-eating chicks in tight off-the-shoulder gowns."[9]

References

  1. ^ The Annual Caroline and Joseph S. Gruss Lecture: Fall 2005: "Law and Patience: Unenthusiastic Reflections on Jewish Messianism", New York University. Accessed November 15, 2007. "Educated at the Yeshiva of Flatbush, Columbia College, Balliol College, Oxford, and Harvard University."
  2. ^ Exporting Democracy: Fulfilling America's Destiny,by Joshua Muravchik , 1992, p. 39
  3. ^ The Record of the Paper: How the New York Times Misreports Us Foreign Policy, by Howard Friel, Richard A. Falk, 2004, p. 68
  4. ^ [1]
  5. ^ New York Times profile of Wiesteltier
  6. ^ Jewcy.com
  7. ^ Luke Ford profile
  8. ^ "Jew-Baiting"
  9. ^ [2]







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