A new biography argues alfred kazin had special insight on alienation
by Richard M. Cook
$35.00 List Price
The progression of Alfred Kazin from working-class boy out of the Jewish tenements of Brooklyn’s Brownsville to center of the New York literary world is about as close as you can get to a feel-good story of the intellectual life. Born in 1915 to an itinerant painter and his stout wife, she Orthodox, he an orthodox socialist, the young Kazin overcame his stutter and took to books, devouring Blake and Shelley and discovering the nineteenth-century American masters who would become his lifelong passion. A radical but not a joiner in the ’30s, Kazin looked “to literature for strong social argument, intellectual power, and human liberation,” graduated from City College in 1935, and started reviewing for the New Republic.
In his early twenties, he set up in room 315 of the New York Public Library and burrowed himself
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