By Irving Howe, Nina Howe, Morris Dickstein

ISBN-10: 0300203667

ISBN-13: 9780300203660

Man of letters, political critic, public highbrow, Irving Howe used to be considered one of America’s such a lot exemplary and embattled writers. on account 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 energetic afterlife. This posthumous and capacious assortment comprises twenty-six essays that initially seemed in such guides as the ny Review of Books, the New Republic, and the Nation. Taken jointly, they exhibit the intensity and breadth of Howe’s enthusiasms and diversity over politics, literature, Judaism, and the tumults of yankee society.
 
A Voice nonetheless Heard is vital to the knowledge of the passionate and skeptical spirit of this lucid author. The booklet kinds a bridge among the 2 parallel firms of tradition and politics. It exhibits how politics justifies itself through tradition, and the way the latter activates the previous. Howe’s voice is ever sharp, relentless, usually scathingly humorous, revealing Howe as that rarest of critics—a actual reader and author, one whose readability of favor is as a result of the his disciplined and candid mind.

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Example text

But the liberal-radical vision of the good society does not depend upon a belief in the “unqualified goodness of man”; nor does it locate salvation in society: anyone in need of being saved had better engage in a private scrutiny. The liberal-radical claim is merely that the development of technology has now made possible—possible, not inevitable—a solution of those material problems that have burdened mankind for centuries. These problems solved, man is then on his own, to make of his self and his world what he can.

The preposterous academic requirement that professors write books they don’t want to write and no one wants to read, together with the obtuse assumption that piling up more and more irrelevant information about an author’s life helps us understand his work—this makes for a vast flood of books that have little to do with literature, criticism, or even scholarship. Would you care to know the contents of the cargo (including one elephant) carried by the vessel of which Hawthorne’s father was captain in 1795?

Marx did not base his argument for socialism on any view that one could isolate a constant called “human nature”; he would certainly have agreed with Ortega that man has not a nature, but a history. Nor did he have a very rosy view of the human beings who were his contemporaries or recent predecessors: see in Capital the chapter on the Working Day, a grisly catalogue of human bestiality. Nor did he hold to a naive theory of progress: he wrote that the victories of progress “seem bought by the loss of character.

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


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