By Professor Richard M. Cook
Born in 1915 to slightly literate Jewish immigrants within the Brownsville portion of Brooklyn, Alfred Kazin rose from close to poverty to turn into a dominant determine in twentieth-century literary feedback and considered one of America’s final nice males of letters. Biographer Richard M. cook dinner presents a portrait of Kazin in his public roles and in his often unsatisfied inner most 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 turned 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.” various courses undefined, together with A Walker within the urban and different memoirs, books of feedback, in addition to a circulate of essays and studies that ceased purely along with his loss of life in 1998. cook dinner tells of Kazin’s early life, his marriages, and his relatives 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 routine approach within which his subject’s own existence formed his occupation as a public highbrow. specific recognition is paid to Kazin’s experience 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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Additional resources for Alfred Kazin: A Biography
He was also friendly with Louis Redman, with whom T H E T H I RT I E S : S TA RT I N G O U T ≤π he coedited the school’s literary magazine. He enjoyed working on the magazine, but gained little recognition for his work. ∞∞ Most of Kazin’s friends—Felix Nigro, Eddy Peshkin, and Ben Seligman —were back in Brooklyn. Although Seligman, the future labor economist (‘‘Herschel’’ in Starting Out in the Thirties), attended Brooklyn College, he and Kazin saw each other frequently and would keep up their friendship into the forties.
As late as his junior year in college, he had no intention of becoming a literary critic, much less one concentrating on American literature. ’’) Except for the vague, albeit intense, desire to become a writer and an occasional thought about teaching high school, Kazin had no idea of what profession he might pursue. ≥∞ CHAPTER TWO The Thirties Starting Out Salvation Would Come by the Word. —Starting Out in the Thirties n early September 1931, sixteen-year-old Alfred Kazin climbed the long hill from the 137th Street IRT subway exit toward the Gothic spires of City College for his ﬁrst class as an entering freshman.
Lane assembly hall, watching ‘‘the light dancing off the glasses of Theodore Roosevelt,’’ he could hardly have been aware of the lasting import of the impressions he was accumulating; he certainly could not have imagined that in ten years he would be on the verge of publishing a breakthrough literary history celebrating America’s storied democracy. As late as his junior year in college, he had no intention of becoming a literary critic, much less one concentrating on American literature. ’’) Except for the vague, albeit intense, desire to become a writer and an occasional thought about teaching high school, Kazin had no idea of what profession he might pursue.
Alfred Kazin: A Biography by Professor Richard M. Cook