Alfred Kazin: A Biography
Professor Richard M. Cook | ISBN: 0300115059 | PDF | 463 pages | 2008 | 2 MB
A smart, solitary boy who found sanctuary in books, Kazin emerged from the cave of Jewish immigrant poverty in Brooklyn’s Brownsville neighborhood primed to add his voice to literature’s grand conversation. He began as a reviewer and was 27 when his first book, On Native Grounds (1942), become a “stupefying success.” For more than five decades, Kazin continued to write fresh, lucid, and important reviews, criticism, and memoirs. Now, 10 years after Kazin’s death, first-time biographer Cook tells the intellectually rich and psychologically complex story of Kazin’s public triumphs, infamous literary dustups, failed marriages, and other private woes. Cook fully appreciates Kazin’s critical gifts, influence, and responses to the tumultuous changes of the times, fitting within his meticulous biography a vivid history of modern American literature studded with portraits of Kazin’s peers, including Edmund Wilson and Saul Bellow. Cook captures the heat of a truly vital book culture, which always circles back to the reader and the page. As Kazin’s widow, Judith Dunford, remembers, Kazin “never lost ‘the rapturous sense of possibility’ when first opening a book.”
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