Catalogue


Alfred Kazin : a biography /
Richard M. Cook.
imprint
New Haven : Yale University Press, c2007.
description
x, 452 p.
ISBN
0300115059 (alk. paper), 9780300115055 (alk. paper)
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
New Haven : Yale University Press, c2007.
isbn
0300115059 (alk. paper)
9780300115055 (alk. paper)
catalogue key
6356698
 
Includes bibliographical references (p. ) and index.
A Look Inside
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Library Journal on 2008-03-15:
Alfred Kazin was one of the 20th century's most influential critics of American literature. Here, Cook (American literature, Univ. of Missouri, St. Louis) provides a sympathetic portrait of both the critic and the man, drawing on interviews with Kazin and his family, friends, and literary contemporaries as well as on his personal journals and letters. The result is a smoothly written, extensively researched biography that also analyzes the often turbulent times in which Kazin lived. Cook considers all aspects of Kazin's life-e.g., his often chaotic relations with his wives and children and his conflicting opinions on various political and social topics. The portraits of his friends and enemies (in some cases, one and the same), including Saul Bellow, Irving Howe, and Edmund Wilson, are especially vivid. Cook's emphasis on Kazin's fears and doubts as well as his triumphs make this a well-rounded study of one writer's beneficial influence on American literary studies from the 1930s to the 1990s. Essential reading for anyone interested in New York intellectuals or in Kazin himself; recommended for all larger academic and public library collections. (Index not seen.)-Morris Hounion, New York City Coll. of Technology Lib., CUNY (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Appeared in Choice on 2008-07-01:
Cook (Univ. of Missouri, St. Louis) has written a timely, well-researched biography that recovers Kazin as an important figure in American literary and cultural history. Moving deftly between Kazin's personal life experiences as a Jewish American and his professional career as an influential commentator, Cook reveals the connections between Kazin's internal conflicts and his external criticisms of US cultural divisions. He argues that Kazin's personal relationships with family and fellow authors shaped his thinking on political issues and cultural debates and, by extension, his career as a public intellectual. The biography highlights Kazin's important place in American literary criticism, starting with the publication of On Native Grounds: An Interpretation of Modern American Prose Literature (1942) and moving through his expansive output. Cook draws throughout on Kazin's journals and letters and his personal conversations with Kazin. This biography reminds the reader of Kazin's extensive influence on American literature and its study and in so doing contributes to American modernist studies and to literary studies in general. At a time when the humanities battles for public recognition of its importance, Cook's text offers an example of a critic who defined that project in relevant, important ways. Summing Up: Highly recommended. All readers, all levels. D. E. Magill University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown
Reviews
Review Quotes
"A thorough, balanced, and very thoughtful life of one of twentieth-century America''s premier critics and writers."Sean Wilentz, Princeton University
"A thorough, balanced, and very thoughtful life of one of twentieth-century America''s premier critics and writers."--Sean Wilentz, Princeton University
"A thorough, balanced, and very thoughtful life of one of twentieth-century America's premier critics and writers."�Sean Wilentz, Princeton University
"[Cook] is attuned to his subject and understands the forces that made this complex and difficult man tick. . . . [Cook] is an intelligent interpreter of his political values, motivations and actions."�Martin Rubin, San Francisco Chronicle
"[Cook] is attuned to his subject and understands the forces that made this complex and difficult man tick. . . . [Cook] is an intelligent interpreter of his political values, motivations and actions."Martin Rubin, San Francisco Chronicle
"[Cook] is attuned to his subject and understands the forces that made this complex and difficult man tick. . . . [Cook] is an intelligent interpreter of his political values, motivations and actions."Martin Rubin,San Francisco Chronicle
"This is a splendid book, written with something of the verve of Kazin himself."Denis Donoghue, author ofThe American ClassicsandSpeaking of Beauty
"This is a splendid book, written with something of the verve of Kazin himself."--Denis Donoghue, author of "The American Classics" and "Speaking of Beauty"
"This is a splendid book, written with something of the verve of Kazin himself."�Denis Donoghue, author of The American Classics and Speaking of Beauty
"This is a splendid book, written with something of the verve of Kazin himself."Denis Donoghue, author of The American Classics and Speaking of Beauty
This item was reviewed in:
Booklist, January 2008
Los Angeles Times, January 2008
New York Times Book Review, January 2008
Wall Street Journal, January 2008
Chicago Tribune, February 2008
Washington Post, February 2008
Library Journal, March 2008
Boston Globe, April 2008
Choice, July 2008
New York Times Full Text Review, October 2009
To find out how to look for other reviews, please see our guides to finding book reviews in the Sciences or Social Sciences and Humanities.
Summaries
Main Description
Born in 1915 to barely literate Jewish immigrants in the Brownsville section of Brooklyn, Alfred Kazin rose from near poverty to become a dominant figure in twentieth-century literary criticism and one of America's last great men of letters. Biographer Richard M. Cook provides a portrait of Kazin in his public roles and in his frequently unhappy private life. Drawing on the personal journals Kazin kept for over 60 years, private correspondence, and numerous conversations with Kazin, he uncovers the full story of the lonely, stuttering boy from Jewish Brownsville who became a pioneering critic and influential cultural commentator. Upon the appearance ofOn Native Groundsin 1942, Kazin was dubbed "the boy wonder of American criticism." Numerous publications followed, includingA Walker in the Cityand two other memoirs, books of criticism, as well as a stream of essays and reviews that ceased only with his death in 1998. Cook tells of Kazin's childhood, his troubled marriages, and his relations with such figures as Lionel Trilling, Saul Bellow, Malcolm Cowley, Arthur Schlesinger, Hannah Arendt, and Daniel Bell. He illuminates Kazin's thinking on political-cultural issues and the recurring way in which his subject's personal life shaped his career as a public intellectual. Particular attention is paid to Kazin's sense of himself as a Jewish-American "loner" whose inner estrangements gave him insight into the divisions at the heart of modern culture.
Bowker Data Service Summary
Born in 1915 to barely literate Jewish immigrants in Brooklyn, Alfred Kazin rose from near poverty to become a dominant figure in 20th-century literary criticism and one of America's last great men of letters. Biographer Richard Cook provides a portrait of Kazin in his public roles and his frequently unhappy private life.
Main Description
Born in 1915 to barely literate Jewish immigrants in the Brownsville section of Brooklyn, Alfred Kazin rose from near poverty to become a dominant figure in twentieth-century literary criticism and one of America's last great men of letters. Biographer Richard M. Cook provides a portrait of Kazin in his public roles and in his frequently unhappy private life. Drawing on the personal journals Kazin kept for over 60 years, private correspondence, and numerous conversations with Kazin, he uncovers the full story of the lonely, stuttering boy from Jewish Brownsville who became a pioneering critic and influential cultural commentator. Upon the appearance of On Native Grounds in 1942, Kazin was dubbed "the boy wonder of American criticism." Numerous publications followed, including A Walker in the City and two other memoirs, books of criticism, as well as a stream of essays and reviews that ceased only with his death in 1998. Cook tells of Kazin's childhood, his troubled marriages, and his relations with such figures as Lionel Trilling, Saul Bellow, Malcolm Cowley, Arthur Schlesinger, Hannah Arendt, and Daniel Bell. He illuminates Kazin's thinking on political-cultural issues and the recurring way in which his subject's personal life shaped his career as a public intellectual. Particular attention is paid to Kazin's sense of himself as a Jewish-American "loner" whose inner estrangements gave him insight into the divisions at the heart of modern culture.
Table of Contents
Acknowledgmentsp. ix
Brownsvillep. 1
The Thirties: Starting Outp. 21
The Thirties: On Native Groundsp. 39
The Break (1942-1945)p. 72
After the Apocalypse (1945-1950)p. 107
A Walker in the Cityp. 146
Living in the Fifties (1951-1958)p. 168
The Writer in the World: Part 1 (1958-1963)p. 209
The Writer in the World: Part 2 (1963-1970)p. 251
New York Jew (1970-1978)p. 294
A New Life (1978-1984)p. 325
Politicsp. 351
"The End of Things" (1984-1998)p. 376
Notesp. 413
Indexp. 441
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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