By Irving Howe, Nina Howe, Morris Dickstein

Man of letters, political critic, public highbrow, Irving Howe used to be certainly one of America’s such a lot exemplary and embattled writers. on the grounds 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 full of life afterlife. This posthumous and capacious assortment contains twenty-six essays that initially seemed in such guides as the big apple Review of Books, the New Republic, and the Nation. Taken jointly, they show the intensity and breadth of Howe’s enthusiasms and variety 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 publication types a bridge among the 2 parallel corporations 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 fashion is due to the his disciplined and candid mind.

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Additional resources for A Voice Still Heard: Selected Essays of Irving Howe

Sample text

Real even for literary men, who these days prefer to meditate upon symbolic vegetables. I would certainly not wish to suggest any direct correlation between our literary assumptions and the nature of our politics; but surely some of the recent literary trends and fashions owe something to the more general intellectual drift toward conformism. Not, of course, that liberalism dominates literary life, as it dominates the rest of the intellectual world. Whatever practical interest most literary men have in politics comes to little else than the usual liberalism, but their efforts at constructing literary ideologies—frequently as forced marches to discover values our society will not yield them—result in something quite different from liberalism.

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.

Basically, it has served as a means of asserting conservative or reactionary moral-ideological views not, as they should be asserted, in their own terms, but through the refining medium of literary talk. * Morality is assumed to be a sufficient container for the floods of experience, and poems or novels that gain their richness from the complexity with which they dramatize the incommensurability between man’s existence and his conceptualizing, are thinned, pruned, and allegorized into moral fables.

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