Books: Nobel Prize for I.B. Singer

An inexhaustible fantasist of manias and superstitions

I don't know," Isaac Bashevis Singer I used to muse, "when I sit down to write I have a feeling that I'm talking maybe to millions or maybe to nobody." Last week he could be assured of at least 18 avid readers—the members of the Swedish Academy, which awarded the 74-year-old writer the 1978 Nobel Prize for Literature for his "impassioned narrative art which, with roots in a Polish Jewish cultural tradition, brings universal human conditions to life."

Signs of that life began in Poland, where the son and grandson of rabbis was afflicted by...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!