"This slim volume of deftly written essays is sure to knock many a full-length study of any of the five German writers under discussion off the shelf."
"It is always welcome to have a new book that reaches out beyond the academic field of German studies, and encourages a wider readership to engage with the work of German-language writers. . . . These five essays (written originally for the New Republic) represent an admirable attempt to engage with the work of complex thinkers."
Times Literary Supplement
"Five Portraits represents the work of one of our leading critics of modern literature writing at the peak of his powers. What unites these essays is above all Bernstein's shrewd and eminently sensible perceptions of the moral dangers in a propensity to the cultivation of dramatic extremes in the modern German imagination."
Robert Alter, University of California, Berkeley