Jack Richardson, 1934-2012

It is customary for novelists to serve as occasional or frequent literary critics, analyzing the work of others who write novels. The same cannot be said of playwrights, who rarely write prose about the theater and almost never about the plays of others. The singular exception to this was Jack Richardson, who began writing about the theater for COMMENTARY in the mid-1960s when he was still considered one of the up-and-coming playwrights in the United States. He died this week at the age of 78. He wrote for the magazine on and off for about a decade, as his own promising career in the theater dwindled and then died out—articles of exceptional interest, intelligence, and cultivation. In tribute to his passing, we are making available eight of his best, including two that weren’t about the theater—a memoir of life as a gambler and a brilliant review of Saul Bellow’s Humboldt’s Gift that angered Bellow because, I suspect, he knew Richardson saw through to that novel’s fatal weaknesses.

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Jack Richardson, 1934-2012

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In Memoriam: Michael Novak, 1933-2017

Celebrating the memory and work of an intellectual giant.

On Friday, the scholar and author Michael Novak passed away at the age of 83. COMMENTARY had the privilege of publishing his work on a number of occasions. His insights over the decades represent a vital contribution to America’s intellectual heritage. Novak’s 1989 essay on the competing ideologies of the 20th Century represents a work of considered thought that spans the generations. We commend it to your attention:

Related to enterprise is the more general virtue of creativity. For personal economic enterprise is not socially sustainable unless would-be entrepreneurs are supported by a social intelligence covering many areas—law, banking and finance, governmental administration, the arts, journalism, education, scientific and industrial research, and even religion and philosophy.

Novak, an American Enterprise Institute scholar, is remembered by AEI President Arthur Brooks. We extend our condolences to the Novak family and mourn their, and our, great loss.

The American Enterprise Institute mourns the loss of our colleague, Michael Novak, who passed away this morning at the age of 83. Michael was an AEI scholar for three decades until his retirement in 2010, and remained a close friend of the Institute.