A Walker in the City by Alfred Kazin

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Kazin’s memorable description of his life as a young man as he makes the journey from Brooklyn to “americanca”-the larger world that begins at the other end of the subway in Manhattan. A classic portrayal of the Jewish immigrant culture of the 1930s. Drawings by Marvin Bileck.

About Alfred Kazin

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Alfred Kazin, a literary critic and professor of English literature, was born in Brooklyn and educated at City College and Columbia University. Kazin established his own critical reputation in the mid-1940s with On Native Grounds (1942), a study of American literature. He started work on it at the suggestion of Carl Van Doren in 1939 while, he explains, "half-heartedly doing a master's essay at Columbia on Gibbon and wondering what would ever become of me or of the maddening age." His later work, Bright Book of American Life (1973), is both a recapitulation of modernism and an evaluation of American writers who have achieved prominence since 1945. Modernism, a favorite topic of Kazin, is in his view a literary revolution marked by spontaneity and individuality but lacking in precisely the mass culture appeal necessary to its survival. Contemporaries (1962) includes reflective essays on travel, five essays on Freud, and some very perceptive essays on literary and political matters. The final section, "The Critic's Task," concerns itself with the critic's function within a popular and an academic context and with critical theory and principles. Starting Out in the Thirties (1965) describes Kazin's early years with The New Republic as book reviewer and evaluates his contemporaries in a period when the depression and radical political thought, pro and con, deeply affected literary production. In the midst of the current antihumanistic trend in literary theory, Kazin remains a literary critic of the old school, believing in the relevance of literature to modern life. Alfred Kazin died on June 5, 1998.
Published March 19, 1969 by Mariner Books. 192 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Literature & Fiction. Non-fiction

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A street scene which derives from a boyhood in Brownsville, in Brooklyn, and which- in its succession of sequences- radiates from a slum settlement of Jewish immigrants to the far bourns of ""the city"" beyond, from the tradition and solidarity and insulation of the foreign born to the quest for ...

Oct 29 1951 | Read Full Review of A Walker in the City

The New York Times

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On the very first page of ''Our New York,'' a huge cubical structure - pierced through the center like a nut from some cosmic hardware store - teeters ominously over a frowning passerby as if it might fall on him and lock or screw him into place to complete some obscure relation between art and l...

Jan 14 1990 | Read Full Review of A Walker in the City

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