New York Intellectuals

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The “Other” New York Jewish Intellectuals. Edited by Carole S. Kessner. New York: New York UP, 1994. xi + 382 pages. $20.00.

The New York Intellectuals: From Vanguard to Institution. By Hugh Wilford. New York: Manchester University Press, Renewing the Left: Politics, Imagination, and the New York Intellectuals. By Harvey M. Teres. New York: Oxford University Press

Baldwin’s Life on the Left: From New York Intellectual to Disturber of the Peace

Harvey M. Teres. Renewing the Left: Politics, Imagination, and the New York Intellectuals. New York: Oxford University Press. 1996. Pp. viii, 326. $30.00

Hugh Wilford. The New York Intellectuals: From Vanguard to Institution. New York: Manchester University Press. 1995. Pp. xii, 260. $39.95

Eli Faber. Jews, Slaves, and the Slave Trade: Setting the Record Straight. Reappraisals in Jewish Social and Intellectual History.) New York: New York University Press. 1998. Pp. xvii, 366. $27.95

Robert R. Tomes. Apocalypse Then: American Intellectuals and the Vietnam War, 1954–1975. New York: New York University Press. 1998. Pp. xi, 293. $50.00

Gopal Balakrishnan. The Enemy: An Intellectual Portrait of Carl Schmitt. New York: Verso. 2000. Pp. vi, 312. $40.00

Serge Gruzinski. The Mestizo Mind: The Intellectual Dynamics of Colonization and Globalization. Translated by Deke Dusinberre. New York: Routledge. 2002. Pp. 266. $22.95

Carol Polsgrove. Divided Minds: Intellectuals and the Civil Rights Movement. New York: W. W. Norton. 2001. Pp. xxi, 296. $26.95

Jeffrey Mehlman. Émigré New York: French Intellectuals in Wartime Manhattan, 1940–1944. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. 2000. Pp. 209. $38.00

Norman Golb. The Jews in Medieval Normandy: A Social and Intellectual History. New York: Cambridge University Press. 1998. Pp. xxxii, 621. $75.00


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The collective title given to an important group of American literary and cultural critics active in the period from the late 1930s to the 1960s, and associated with the periodical Partisan Review. The group was inspired by the example of the older critic Edmund Wilson, whose critical outlook in The Triple Thinkers (1938) and other works synthesized a semi-Marxist view of culture with sympathy for the achievements of literary modernism and some interest in the implications of Freudian psychoanalysis. This combination of liberal-leftist (and emphatically anti-Stalinist) politics with concern for literature in its social and psychological contexts became characteristic of the group. The principal figures in its early phase were Lionel Trilling, Philip Rahv, Delmore Schwartz, Alfred Kazin, Richard Chase, Diana Trilling, Mary McCarthy, and Dwight McDonald; they were joined at later stages by Irving Howe, Richard Poirier, Elizabeth Hardwick, Leslie Fiedler, and Susan Sontag, among others. Of these, Schwartz, McCarthy, and Hardwick are better known for their creative than for their critical works. Several of the Partisan Review critics made important contributions to the understanding of the American literary tradition in particular, as in Kazin's On Native Grounds (1942), Rahv's essay ‘Paleface and Redskin’ (1949), Chase's The American Novel and its Tradition (1957), and Fiedler's Love and Death in the American Novel (1960). Major representative works of the group include Trilling's The Liberal Imagination (1951) and Rahv's The Myth and the Powerhouse (1965). For a fuller account, consult Alexander Bloom, Prodigal Sons: The New York Intellectuals and their World (1986).

Subjects: Literature.

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