Alfred Kazin

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Alfred Kazin (June 5, 1915 – June 5, 1998) was an American writer and literary critic, many of whose writings depicted the immigrant experience in early twentieth century America.

Early life[edit]

Like many of the other New York Intellectuals, Alfred Kazin was the son of Jewish immigrants, [1] born in the Brownsville section of Brooklyn and a graduate of the City College of New York. However, his politics were more moderate than most of the New York Intellectuals, many of whom were socialists.


Kazin was deeply affected by his peers' subsequent disillusion with liberalism. Adam Kirsch writes in The New Republic that "having invested his romantic self-image in liberalism, Kazin perceived abandonment of liberalism by his peers as an attack on his identity".[2]

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. In 1996 he was awarded the first Truman Capote Lifetime Achievement Award in Literary Criticism, which carries a cash reward of $100,000.[3] The only other person to have won the award is George Steiner.

Personal life[edit]

Kazin was friends with Hannah Arendt.[4]

His son is historian and Dissent co-editor Michael Kazin. His daughter is Cathrael Kazin, Chief Academic Officer of College for America at Southern New Hampshire University. Kazin was married four times and is survived by his widow, the writer Judith Dunford.


'New York Jew'


Editor (selected)[edit]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ Garner, Dwight (May 26, 2011). "A Lifetime of Anxiety and Lust". New York Times. Retrieved 17 August 2012. 
  2. ^ Kirsch, Adam (October 26, 2011). "The Inner Clamor". The New Republic. Retrieved 17 August 2012. 
  3. ^ "First Capote Award Goes to Alfred Kazin". New York Times. January 10, 1996. Retrieved 17 August 2012. 
  4. ^ Young-Bruehl, Elisabeth (2004²), Hannah Arendt. For Love of the World, New Haven & London: Yale University Press, p. 263, 360  Check date values in: |date= (help)