To the Editor:

. . . I was shocked when I read “Thanksgiving” by Morris Hedges [July]. . . . Yiddish is slowly passing out of the picture—why leave such a bad taste for those of us who still remember Yiddish as taught to us by our parents? There was a time when such expressions were never seen in print, and it was considered a disgrace to hear them spoken. . . .

Mrs. Fred Glatzer
Dallas, Texas

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To the Editor:

. . . Morris Hedges’s story is fourth-rate Philip Roth, and I cannot understand your printing such trash. . . .

Mrs. Joshua Levin
Summit, New Jersey

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To the Editor:

. . . “Thanksgiving” is not worthy of your publication. . . . It degrades us all.

Zita Gluskin
Van Nuys, California

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To the Editor:

Morris Hedges’s story is in my opinion nothing short of a masterpiece, a brilliant and definitive example of the possibilities which still inhere in a much-abused literary genre. The great days of American-Jewish fiction are perhaps over. Certainly there is no cause to rejoice in the recent popular success of numerous meretricious and cheaply imitative books the very glibness of whose composition . . . attests to the ill health of a once robust narrative tradition. By contrast, the complex richness of Hedges’s characterizations, the bull’s-eye accuracy and resonance of his dialogue, the difficult but perfectly integrated wealth of imaginative detail—all are to be remarked upon and appreciated . . .; the story’s greatest achievement, however, lies in its powerful and haunting evocation of an entire world of human experience—a world which Hedges is able to convey (by virtue of that total familiarity of a writer with his subject which constitutes the one true and valid aesthetic license), without falling into either sentimentality or self-hatred. All the more reason, therefore, to congratulate COMMENTARY, in this dry and ignorant season, for recognizing, and publishing, the real McCoy. . . .

Len Kolodny
East Hawley, Massachusetts

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To the Editor:

. . . When I started reading . . . the July issue of COMMENTARY, I could not believe my eyes! Could this be COMMENTARY I kept saying as I waded further and further into a hodgepodge of English-lettered Yiddish reeking with latrine words? . . . As to the anonymous author, I would like to remind him that Yiddish is a beautiful, thousand-year-old language, which . . . deserves much more than the values he gives it.

Eli Bode
Cleveland Jewish Community Center
Cleveland, Ohio

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To the Editor:

It will take more than one reading to ingest the exquisite fare Morris Hedges serves up in “Thanksgiving.” Sonia, mother-absolute of the backstore step-up kitchen with its cherry soda, faulty can opener, and wet drain rack, who would be caricature anywhere else (who needs someplace else?), is the finest portrait of her kind in contemporary Jewish fiction—not excepting one good Tillie Olsen, two fair Roths, and any three Bruces, Bernards, or Arthurs. . . . The sphere of sensibility which the reader meets in Hedges’s story is a rich jungle as true and as painful as Jewish life itself. Out of which comes the professor-son.

Frances K. Barasch
The City College
New York City

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To the Editor:

. . . I cannot understand how “Thanksgiving” could have passed your editorial approval, unless it was due to the summer heat. I forced myself to finish reading the story, hoping to find some merit or social meaning in it, but I found none. The Yiddish is simply vulgar . . . [and] I suspect it was used as a decoy to cover up literary tastelessness. . . .

Gregory Drake
New York City

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To the Editor:

That Morris Hedges, better he should remain anonymous. . . .

C. Maillard
East Orange, New Jersey

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