Alfred Kazin

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Alfred Kazin (June 5, 1915 – June 5, 1998) was an American writer and literary critic. He wrote often about the immigrant experience in early twentieth century America.

Early life[edit]

Like many of the other New York Intellectuals, Alfred Kazin was the son of Jewish immigrants,[1] born in the Brownsville section of Brooklyn and a graduate of the City College of New York. However, his politics were more moderate than most of the New York Intellectuals, many of whom were socialists.

Career[edit]

Kazin was deeply affected by his peers' subsequent disillusion with socialism and liberalism.[2] Adam Kirsch writes in The New Republic that "having invested his romantic self-image in liberalism, Kazin perceived abandonment of liberalism by his peers as an attack on his identity".[2]

He wrote out of a great passion—or great disgust—for what he was reading and embedded his opinions in a deep knowledge of history, both literary history and politics and culture. In 1996 he was awarded the first Truman Capote Lifetime Achievement Award in Literary Criticism, which carries a cash reward of $100,000.[3] As of 2014, the only other person to have won the award was George Steiner.[4]

Personal life[edit]

Kazin was friends with Hannah Arendt.[5]

Kazin's son from his second marriage is historian and Dissent co-editor Michael Kazin.[6] Alfred Kazin married his third wife, the writer Ann Birstein, in 1952, and they divorced in 1982; their daughter is Cathrael Kazin,[6] who is a managing partner at Volta Learning Group. [7]

Kazin married a fourth time, and is survived by his widow, the writer Judith Dunford.

Death[edit]

Kazin died in Manhattan on his 83rd birthday.

Bibliography[edit]

Library Walk New York City, excerpt from "New York Jew"

Author[edit]

  • On Native Grounds: An Interpretation of Modern American Prose Literature (1942)
  • The Open Street (1948)
  • A Walker in the City (1951)
  • The Inmost Leaf: Essays on American and European Writers (1955)
  • Contemporaries: Essays on Modern Life and Literature (1963)
  • Starting Out in the Thirties (1965)
  • Bright Book of Life: American Novelists and Storytellers from Hemingway to Mailer (1973)
  • New York Jew (1978)
  • The State of the Book World, 1980: Three Talks (1980), with Dan Lacy and Ernest L. Boyer
  • An American Procession: The Major American Writers from 1830 to 1930—The Crucial Century (1984)
  • A Writer's America: Landscape in Literature (1988)
  • Our New York (1989), co-authored with David Finn
  • The Emmy Parrish Lectures in American Studies (1991)
  • Writing Was Everything (1995)
  • A Lifetime Burning in Every Moment: From the Journals of Alfred Kazin (1996)
  • God and the American Writer (1997)
  • Alfred Kazin's America: Critical and Personal Writings (2003) edited and with an introduction by Ted Solotaroff
  • Alfred Kazin's Journals (2011), selected and edited by Richard M. Cook

Editor (selected)[edit]

  • The Portable Blake The Viking Press 1946, reprinted many times between 1959 and 1975; Penguin Books 1976, reprinted 1977, ISBN 0140150269
  • F. Scott Fitzgerald: The Man and His Work
  • The Stature of Theodore Dreiser, co-edited with Charles Shapiro
  • Emerson: A Modern Anthology, co-edited with Daniel Aaron
  • The Works of Anne Frank, co-edited with Ann Birstein
  • The Open Form: Essays for Our Time
  • Selected Short Stories of Nathaniel Hawthorne

References[edit]

  1. ^ Garner, Dwight (May 26, 2011). "A Lifetime of Anxiety and Lust". New York Times. Retrieved 17 August 2012.
  2. ^ a b Kirsch, Adam (October 26, 2011). "The Inner Clamor". The New Republic (review of Alfred Kazin's Journals). Retrieved 17 August 2012.
  3. ^ "First Capote Award Goes to Alfred Kazin". New York Times. January 10, 1996. Retrieved 17 August 2012.
  4. ^ "Alfred Kazin Papers – Overview". NewYork Public Library. Retrieved 15 February 2020.
  5. ^ Young-Bruehl, Elisabeth (2004), Hannah Arendt. For Love of the World, New Haven & London: Yale University Press, pp. 263, 360
  6. ^ a b Roberts, Sam (May 29, 2017). "Ann Birstein, Memoirist and Novelist, Dies at 89". New York Times. Retrieved 12 February 2020.
  7. ^ "Cathrael Kazin". Volta Learning Group. Retrieved 12 February 2020.

External links[edit]