STARTING OUT IN THE THIRTIES by Alfred Kazin

STARTING OUT IN THE THIRTIES

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Kazin ""starts out"" in 1934 with a commendation from John Chamberlain -- ""Here's an intelligent radical"" -- to Malcolm Cowley of The New Republic. Cowley assigns the nineteen-year-old vacationing Columbia student some book reviews and Kazin becomes one of the new critics who understands the new writers, who ""flourished their experience, their hard knocks, their life on the road, their days in the picket line and in the hiring hall."" One of the critics who did understand, as opposed to the J. Donald Adams school of ""genteel mossbacks...the upholders of standards."" Kazin commutes. From Brownsville, Mama to whom ""every morsel of life was paid for in fear,"" Cousin Sophie, a tragic spinster with a print of Pierre Auguste Cot's ""The Storm"" in her room. From this, he shuttles to post-graduate work under Mark Van Doren, to Provincetown and Mary McCarthy, to gatherings with James T. Farrell, Sidney Hook, V.F. Calverton, Max Eastman, William Saroyan, Nathanael West. A thin volume, the work spans the thirties and ends with a post-war epilogue in 1945. Though Kazin's observations on politics, literature, and people seem a bit studied, Starting Out In The Thirties is without doubt a valuable document of the times.

Pub Date: Sept. 16th, 1965
Publisher: Little, Brown-A.M.P.