The New York Intellectuals

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The New York Intellectuals were a group of American writers and literary critics based in New York City in the mid-20th century. Mostly Jewish, they advocated left-wing politics but were also firmly anti-Stalinist. The group is known for having sought to integrate literary theory with Marxism and Socialism while rejecting Soviet Communism as a workable or acceptable political model.

Trotskyism emerged as the most chosen standpoint among these anti-Stalinist Marxists. Irving Howe, Seymour Martin Lipset, Leslie Fiedler and Nathan Glazer were members of the Trotskyist Young People's Socialist League.[1]


Writers often identified as members of this group include Hannah Arendt, William Barrett, Daniel Bell, Saul Bellow, Elliot Cohen, Midge Decter, Leslie Fiedler, Nathan Glazer, Clement Greenberg, Paul Goodman, Richard Hofstadter, Sidney Hook, Irving Howe, Alfred Kazin, Irving Kristol, Seymour Martin Lipset, Mary McCarthy, Dwight Macdonald, William Phillips, Norman Podhoretz, Philip Rahv, Harold Rosenberg, Isaac Rosenfeld, Delmore Schwartz, Susan Sontag, Harvey Swados, Diana Trilling, Lionel Trilling, and Robert Warshow.[citation needed]

Many of these intellectuals were educated at City College of New York ("Harvard of the Proletariat"[citation needed]), New York University, and Columbia University in the 1930s,[citation needed] and associated in the next two decades with the left-wing political journals Partisan Review and Dissent, as well as the then-left-wing but later neoconservative-leaning journal Commentary.[citation needed] Writer Nicholas Lemann has described these intellectuals as "the American Bloomsbury".[citation needed]

Some, including Kristol, Hook, and Podhoretz, later became key figures in the development of Neoconservatism.[citation needed]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Alexander Bloom: Prodigal Sons. The New York Intellectuals and Their World, Oxford University Press: NY / Oxford 1986, p. 109.
  • Bloom, Alexander. Prodigal Sons: The New York Intellectuals and Their World, Oxford University Press, 1986, ISBN 0-19-503662-X
  • Cooney, Terry A. The Rise of the New York Intellectuals: Partisan Review and Its Circle, 1934-1945, University of Wisconsin Press, 1986, ISBN 0-299-10710-8
  • Dorman, Joseph. Arguing the World: The New York Intellectuals in their Own Words. New York: Free Press, 2000. ISBN 0-684-86279-4.
  • Jumonville, Neil. Critical Crossings: The New York Intellectuals in Postwar America, University of California Press, 1991, ISBN 0-520-06858-0
  • Laskin, David. Partisans: Marriage, Politics, and Betrayal Among the New York Intellectuals University of Chicago Press, 2001, ISBN 0-226-46893-3
  • Wald, Alan M. (1987). The New York Intellectuals: The Rise and Decline of the Anti-Stalinist Left from the 1930s to the 1980s. University of North Carolina Press. ISBN 0-8078-4169-2.

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