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Alfred Kazin

Alfred Kazin

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Alfred Kazin was an American
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

A writer is a person who produces literature, such as novels, short stories, plays, screenplays, poetry, or other literary art. Skilled writers are able to use language to portray ideas and images....

 and literary critic, many of whose writings depicted the immigrant experience in early twentieth century America.

Like many other of the "The New York Intellectuals
The New York Intellectuals
The New York Intellectuals were a group of Jewish American writers and literary critics based in New York City in the mid-20th century. They advocated left-wing politics but were also firmly anti-Stalinist...

," Alfred Kazin was born in the Brownsville
Brownsville, Brooklyn
Brownsville is a residential neighborhood located in eastern Brooklyn, New York City.The total land area is one square mile, and the ZIP code for the neighborhood is 11212....

 section of Brooklyn
Brooklyn is the most populous of New York City's five boroughs, with nearly 2.6 million residents, and the second-largest in area. Since 1896, Brooklyn has had the same boundaries as Kings County, which is now the most populous county in New York State and the second-most densely populated...

 and attended the City College of New York
City College of New York
The City College of the City University of New York is a senior college of the City University of New York , in New York City. It is also the oldest of the City University's twenty-three institutions of higher learning...

. He was Jewish. However, his politics were more moderate than most of the New York intellectuals, many of whom were socialists
Socialism is an economic system characterized by social ownership of the means of production and cooperative management of the economy; or a political philosophy advocating such a system. "Social ownership" may refer to any one of, or a combination of, the following: cooperative enterprises,...

. Nevertheless, he was deeply impacted by his peers' disillusion with liberalism. Adam Kirsch writes in The New Republic, "Having invested his romantic self-image in liberalism, Kazin perceived abandonment of liberalism by his peers as an attack on his identity."

He wrote out of a great passion—or great disgust—for what he was reading and embedded his opinions in a deep knowledge of history, both literary history and politics and culture. He was a friend of the political theorist Hannah Arendt
Hannah Arendt
Hannah Arendt was a German American political theorist. She has often been described as a philosopher, although she refused that label on the grounds that philosophy is concerned with "man in the singular." She described herself instead as a political theorist because her work centers on the fact...

. In 1996 he was awarded the first Truman Capote Lifetime Achievement Award
Truman Capote Award for Literary Criticism
The Truman Capote Award for Literary Criticism is awarded for literary criticism by the University of Iowa on behalf of the Truman Capote Estate. The value of the award is $30,000 , and is said to be the largest annual cash prize for literary criticism in the English language...

 for literary criticism.
His son is historian and Dissent
Dissent (magazine)
Dissent is a quarterly magazine focusing on politics and culture edited by Michael Walzer and Michael Kazin. The magazine is published for the Foundation for the Study of Independent Social Ideas, Inc by the University of Pennsylvania Press....

 co-editor Michael Kazin
Michael Kazin
Michael Kazin is a professor of history at Georgetown University. He is co-editor of Dissent magazine. See his website: http://michaelkazin.com- Early life :...


External links

  • Kazin obituary by Richard Rodriguez
    Richard Rodriguez
    Richard Rodriguez is an American writer who became famous as the author of Hunger of Memory: The Education of Richard Rodriguez , a narrative about his intellectual development.- Early life :...

     at PBS
    Public Broadcasting Service
    The Public Broadcasting Service is an American non-profit public broadcasting television network with 354 member TV stations in the United States which hold collective ownership. Its headquarters is in Arlington, Virginia....