Professor Richard M. Cook's Alfred Kazin: A Biography PDF

By Professor Richard M. Cook

ISBN-10: 0300115059

ISBN-13: 9780300115055

Born in 1915 to slightly literate Jewish immigrants within the Brownsville portion of Brooklyn, Alfred Kazin rose from close to poverty to develop into a dominant determine in twentieth-century literary feedback and one among America’s final nice males of letters. Biographer Richard M. prepare dinner offers a portrait of Kazin in his public roles and in his often unsatisfied deepest existence. Drawing at the own journals Kazin saved for over 60 years, deepest correspondence, and various conversations with Kazin, he uncovers the whole tale of the lonely, stuttering boy from Jewish Brownsville who grew to become a pioneering critic and influential cultural commentator. Upon the looks of On local Grounds in 1942, Kazin was once dubbed “the boy ask yourself of yankee criticism.” a variety of courses undefined, together with A Walker within the urban and different memoirs, books of feedback, in addition to a flow of essays and reports that ceased in simple terms together with his demise in 1998. prepare dinner tells of Kazin’s adolescence, his stricken marriages, and his family members with such figures as Lionel Trilling, Saul Bellow, Malcolm Cowley, Arthur Schlesinger, Hannah Arendt, and Daniel Bell. He illuminates Kazin’s considering on political-cultural matters and the ordinary means during which his subject’s own existence formed his profession as a public highbrow. specific realization is paid to Kazin’s feel of himself as a Jewish-American “loner” whose internal estrangements gave him perception into the divisions on the center of recent culture.  (20090224)

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Example text

He recalls meeting Nathaniel West and James T. Farrell in a room in the Brevoort Hotel on the day Farrell finished the last of his Studs Lonigan trilogy (a meeting that Farrell insisted never occurred). Kazin’s favorite place to meet writers, many of them old radicals, was V. F. Calverton’s house on Spring Street in Greenwich Village. An independent Socialist with an indiscriminate passion for all things modern and radical, Calverton (George Goetz) came closer than anybody in the thirties to embodying the eclectic, ‘‘innocent’’ spirit of radical dissent that had characterized the Greenwich Village left of the 1910s.

They, too, were attracted by the school’s reputation and its free tuition—tuition at Columbia, which restricted Jewish admissions, was six hundred dollars. ∞ The decision to go to college had not been difficult; he had never thought seriously of not going. For all his fears and frustrations in school, Kazin had I ≤≤ T H E T H I RT I E S : S TA RT I N G O U T proved an earnest and able (mathematics excepted) student. College was the surest route out of Brownsville to a better life. But in the fall of 1931, what that better life might entail was an unanswerable question.

BROWNSVILLE ∞Ω of Theodore Roosevelt. He knew the president had been New York police commissioner, walking the streets of the city. He had looked into Theodore Roosevelt’s Letters to His Children as though they were written to him. ’’≤Ω One cannot know how much Kazin’s detailed descriptions of his early passion for America owe to retrospection. Had he, in fact, gone from room to room in the Met thinking they had painted his city, his country? Had he really imagined that Roosevelt might have written the letters to him?

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Alfred Kazin: A Biography by Professor Richard M. Cook


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