Monday, November 24, 2014 Kislev 2, 5775

Robert Leiter

Former Senior Editor
Whatever happened to other works from two great masters?
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SPEAKING VOLUMES The history of 20th-century literature is littered with famous writer's blocks. Two of the most documented and analyzed were suffered by a Jewish American, Henry Roth, and an African-American, Ralph Ellison. Both novelists wrote a single -- and singular -- work, and then seemingly fell silent. With Roth, the first work was Call It Sleep , which has...
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How the French got in step with the Nazis during World War II
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SPEAKING VOLUMES Until the release of Marcel Ophuls' four-hour documentary The Sorrow and the Pity in 1971, the conventional wisdom about France during World War II was that it may have been a country swiftly defeated by the Nazis, then brutally occupied, but no matter what, it never grew complaisant -- nor did it ever misunderstand its true mission under...
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Songwriter supplies his lyrics, plus thoughts on what swayed him melodically
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SPEAKING VOLUMES I have no objectivity when it comes to Finishing the Hat , Stephen Sondheim's collected lyrics covering the years 1954-1981, recently published by Alfred A. Knopf. How could I, when the musicals discussed in these pages, beginning with Gypsy , which I saw during its Philadelphia tryout in 1959, have made up some of the most memorable moments...
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Nat Hentoff dissects and praises the healing -- and unifying -- power of jazz
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SPEAKING VOLUMES In the introduction to At the Jazz Band Ball: Sixty Years on the Jazz Scene , published by University of California Press, Nat Hentoff, who worked for The Village Voice for decades before being rudely dismissed in 2008, described how as an 11-year-old, he heard some Artie Shaw music emanating from a Boston record shop and was changed...
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SPEAKING VOLUMES I recall sitting spellbound in the City Line Center movie theater one Saturday afternoon in the 1950s, watching as the final scene of the Tony Curtis biopic Houdini unfolded. If you know the film, you may recall that the bang-up finale depicts the last moments in the great magician's life: He's lowered, head first and tightly bound in...
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Profile

Robert Leiter served as senior editor of the Jewish Exponent before retiring in Dec. 2013. 

In his 30 years with the paper, he won many awards and held many positions, from full-time reporter to interim editor. For five years in the early 1980s, he was managing editor of Inside magazine, the Exponent's sister publication, and for seven years in the 2000s, he was the quarterly's editor in chief, while still working full time for the paper.

Since the mid-1980s, he reported from most of the major capitals of Europe for the Exponent, with an emphasis on the Eastern Bloc countries, during and after Communist rule. Throughout this period, he visited Poland, the two Germanies and the Soviet Union with greatest frequency, but also made visits to Austria, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Bulgaria, Romania, the former Yugoslavia, Ukraine, Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia. He has also reported from Catalonia, Alsace, Zurich and Venice, as well as from Costa Rica, Norway, India and the Middle East. A number of his journalism awards have been for his reporting from Europe.

He is a contributing editor to The American Poetry Review, which is based in Philadelphia, and in the 1980s, he served as Murray Friedman's assistant to the U.S. Civil Rights Commission in Washington, D.C.

He has also been a freelance writer for 40 years and his book reviews, short stories, essays, interviews and profiles have appeared in The Nation, The New Republic, CommonwealDissent, The American Scholar, The Hudson Review, The New Leader, The Forward, Moment, Redbook, The Pennsylvania GazetteThe Philadelphia BulletinThe Philadelphia Inquirer, Philadelphia magazine, The New York Times, The New York Times Book Review, Partisan Review and many other mainstream local and national publications.

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