breadth of his scholarship, and bearsntestimony to the awesome proportionsnof the real task, which is to “”meetn[humanism’s] challenge in the areas ofnideas of knowledge, of history andnphilosophy.” In this task Dr. Molnarnis joined by a considerable number ofnscholars whose work during the pastngeneration has been dedicated to thentheoretical examination of the impactnof ideologies such as humanism onncontemporary patterns of thought.nThis ongoing effort is as painstakingnas it is indispensable; and Dr. Molnar’snbook is a welcome and worthynaddition. (CM) •nIn FocusnSinger’s GlorynIsaac Bashevis Singer: Shosha; Farrar,nStraus & Giroux; New York.nThis year’s Nobel Prize for literaturenwent to Isaac Bashevis Singer, anJewish writer from Poland who hasnbeen a naturalized American for almostn40 years. He is an uncomplicatednfictionist whose philosophy is perhapsnbest summarized by Hamlet’s famousnsigh: ‘”There are more things innheaven and on earth, Horatio, thannare dreamt of in your philosophy. . .”nSinger writes and fantasizes aboutnthese things, and the prose whichncomes from his pen has a first-ratenquality, sober and on occasion ironic.nSimple-mindedness is Singer’s strongestntrump card, and he is sophisticatednenough to know it, even if, every nownand then, he wishes to pass for someonensufficiently suited to handle morentwisted human psychologies and moralndilemmas. He is sensible enough, however,nto recognize that the complexitiesnof man, world and life transcendnhis generic talents and tools of cognition,nso he invokes the help of dybukks,nspirits and revenants — and hennever fails.nAs everyone in the business of quotationnknows, Goethe once expressednpride in having inherited from hisnmother “die Lust zum fabulieren” (andesire to tell stories). To be sure,nGoethe knew about writing storiesnwith a certain something which isnmissing from Singer’s creativity —nnamely the profundity of rationalizingnand feeling. But in our arid times,nwhen obscure neuroses and freakishnabnormalcy constitute the mainstay ofnand title to literary “depth,” Singer’snstories of unrefined metaphysics,ngrounded in folktale mysticism, revealncharming relevance and validity.nTherefore, it’s refreshing and encouragingnthat storytelling has finally beennrewarded by the Stockholm authority.nAnd this with a bow to a culture whichncontained authentic depth, delicatenand rich emotionality and fine intellectualnvalues — and, after being brutallyneradicated by the Nazis, now survivesnonly in Chagall and Fiddler onnthe Roof, the last a rather trivializednversion.nSinger’s particular achievement liesnin his making Yiddish, his native languagenin which he wrote all his work,nan acquiescent and tractable instrumentnnot only to convey his message, butnalso fit for adequate translation. Thisnnearly extinct tongue, in Singer’s treatment,nbecomes not only a state ofnmind but even a sociocultural substance.nShosha is a sort of Singer compendium.nAll the familiar features of hisnwriting are there: banality and charm,nthe gift of coloring people with lifenand the author’s narcissism, the insightfulnprobing into feelings andnfacts, which — the moment the magicnof narration ends — makes us feelnstranded in rather shallow waters. Henhas a kind of genius of being a badnand a good writer at once, in the samencreative personality — and he alwaysngets away with this duplicity. Thenprotagonist of Shosha, a Yiddishnwriter by the name of Aaron Greidinger,nis either Singer’s alter ego, ornnnSinger tout court. And in profilingnGreidinger and his story. Singer exposesnthat which is most objectionablenin his recent writing. In his earlynwork, there was strong, poetical sensualism,nwhich was sublimated intonexquisite, discreetly erotic literature,nalways suffused with meaningful content,nan organic part of human vicissitudes.nIn his later writing, as if undernthe dubious spell of current normlessness.nSinger tends to present himself,neither directly in a first-person narrative,nor only thinly disguised as allnsorts of “Greidingers,” as an irresistiblensexual athlete, in whose presencenwomen become as soft and mellow asnthe Lower East Side cafeteria blintzes.nA reader, even the most enthralled andnsympathetic, is soon uneasy, knowingnthat the author is a septuagenarian,nand did not always write this way. Is itnthen a susceptibility to tawdry fashion,nor perhaps — a mere Freudian suspicionn— an attempt to make up in fictionnfor a dearth of something that plaguednhis factual biography.’ (CC) QnWhite’snExhibitionismnTheodore H. White: In Search ofnHistory: A Personal Adventure; Harpern& Row; New York.nMr. White’s massive, but not unamiable,nego trip tops best-seller lists,nand there must be reasons for it. One,nit seems to us, is to be found in thenmemoir’s perfectly middle-brow quality,nthe sort which has long since saturatednthe American public discoursenwith the uttermost banalities packagednin all the glitter of pseudo-intellectualitynwhich the synergic effort of thenTime-Life civilization has thus far produced.nMr. White is the arch-masternof the kind; his mental penetration ofnthe texture of history unfolding aroundnhim — mostly around the lunch tablesnat which performers on or observersn21nChronicles of Culturen