A Voice Still Heard: Selected Essays of Irving Howe by Irving Howe, Nina Howe, Morris Dickstein

By Irving Howe, Nina Howe, Morris Dickstein

An integral choice of considered one of America’s so much outspoken and unique critics of the second one half the 20th century

guy of letters, political critic, public highbrow, Irving Howe was once one in all America’s so much exemplary and embattled writers. for the reason that his dying in 1993 at age seventy two, Howe’s paintings and his own instance of dedication to excessive precept, either literary and political, have had a full of life afterlife. This posthumous and capacious assortment contains twenty-six essays that initially seemed in such guides as the manhattan Review of Books, the New Republic, and the Nation. Taken jointly, they exhibit the intensity and breadth of Howe’s enthusiasms and variety over politics, literature, Judaism, and the tumults of yank society.
A Voice nonetheless Heard is key to the knowledge of the passionate and skeptical spirit of this lucid author. The ebook varieties a bridge among the 2 parallel firms of tradition and politics. It exhibits how politics justifies itself by means of tradition, and the way the latter activates the previous. Howe’s voice is ever sharp, relentless, frequently scathingly humorous, revealing Howe as that rarest of critics—a genuine reader and author, one whose readability of fashion is due to the his disciplined and candid mind.

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Literary standards are now in academic hands; for the freelance man of letters, who once supplemented and corrected the don, is fast disappearing from the literary scene. . The pedant is as common as he ever was. And now that willy-nilly so much writing about literature is in academic hands, his activities are more dangerous than ever. But he has changed his habits. Twenty years ago he was to be heard asserting that his business was with hard facts, that questions of value and technique were not his affair, and that criticism could therefore be left to the impressionistic journalist.

Much sarcasm and anger has been expended on the “failure of nerve” theory, usually by people who take it as a personal affront to be told that there is a connection between what happens in their minds and what this age of conformity 19 happens in the world; but if one looks at the large-scale shifts among intellectuals during the past twenty-five years, it becomes impossible to put all of them down to a simultaneous, and thereby miraculous, discovery of Truth; some at least must be seen as a consequence of those historical pressures which make this an age of conformism.

Writers who spent—in both senses of the word—their lives wrestling with terrible private demons are elevated into literary dons and deacons. ” What is more, if Emily Brontë had lived a little longer she would have been offered a Chair in Moral Philosophy. this age of conformity 17 find the whole moral apparatus irrelevant or tedious, as if Lawrence had never written The Man Who Died, as if Nietzsche had never launched his great attack on the Christian impoverishment of the human psyche. One can only be relieved, therefore, at knowing a few critics personally: how pleasant the discrepancy between their writings and their lives!

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