Politics and the Intellectual: Conversations with Irving Howe
Politics and the Intellectual: Conversations with Irving Howe (ePDF)
A compilation of Irving Howe’s interviews during the last fifteen years of his life, this book represents what could be viewed as the sequel to Howe’s intellectual autobiography, A Margin of Hope, which took the story of his life only up to the late 1970s.
Many of these interviews were never published and have existed only as personal tapes in the hands of such scholars and activists as Todd Gitlin and Maurice Isserman. Others were originally published in such venues as The New York Times, The Jerusalem Post, and the PBS documentary Arguing the World.
Howe never organized his thoughts about the last fifteen years of his life, during which he gained renown for World of Our Fathers, received a MacArthur Fellowship, and became widely regarded as the leading left-liberal intellectual in the U.S. and, arguably, the leading literary critic in America following the deaths of Lionel Trilling and Edmund Wilson. During this time, Howe also struggled to redefine the American Left in an environment that discounted and marginalized it. Indeed, these interviews may have particular significance today, a period of new opportunities for the liberal Left, yet one in which it struggles to construct some coherent identity and compelling program.
The editors worked with the full cooperation of Howe’s family. His daughter, Nina, contributed an afterword and provided a number of illustrations and photos that have never before appeared in print.
About the Author(s):
John Rodden has taught at the University of Virginia and the University of Texas at Austin. He has published seventeen books, including Irving Howe and the Critics, The Worlds of Irving Howe, Lionel Trilling and the Critics, and The Politics of Literary Reputation: The Making and Claiming of St. George Orwell.
Ethan Goffman is the Discovery Guides editor for CSA and actively writes on environmental topics for such publications as Grist and E: The Environmental Magazine. His book, Imagining Each Other: Blacks and Jews in Contemporary American Literature, was published in 2000.