Interviews with Dwight MacDonald

Interviews with Dwight MacDonald

by Michael Wreszin
     
 

ISBN-10: 157806533X

ISBN-13: 9781578065332

Pub. Date: 04/15/2003

Publisher: University Press of Mississippi

Michael Wreszin, the biographer of Dwight Macdonald (1906- 1982), has brought together this representative selection of interviews with Macdonald, one of the most acute observers of American politics, society, and culture in the twentieth century. A so-called "New York Intellectual," he edited Partisan Review for seven years. Many still consider Macdonald's

…  See more details below

Overview

Michael Wreszin, the biographer of Dwight Macdonald (1906- 1982), has brought together this representative selection of interviews with Macdonald, one of the most acute observers of American politics, society, and culture in the twentieth century. A so-called "New York Intellectual," he edited Partisan Review for seven years. Many still consider Macdonald's consistently provocative journal Politics to be the best independent journal of opinion ever published in America.

These interviews, including one conducted by Diana Trilling, span the years 1960 to 1980. They show the wide and penetrating scope of Macdonald's interests—Trotskyism, anarchism, pacifism, literature, culture, education, the Holocaust and totalitarianism, film criticism, and anti-Vietnam War protest.

As a left-of-center thinker who could be both radical and conservative, Macdonald was intellectually equipped to engage in controversy and debate. He had an instinctive grasp of the significant fact and an uncanny ability to bring the issues before the public in marvelously precise and witty prose. His instinct for exposing cant and hypocrisy and his consistent candor have reminded many of George Orwell.

Macdonald decried the demise of literary and artistic standards and of the cheapening and vulgarizing of society. Thus, to his misfortune, postmodern critics too often classify this outspoken, extraordinary thinker as a cultural elitist or at best as a traditionalist. One of his unrelenting concerns was what now is called the "dumbing down" of America. Appalled at the "spreading ooze," he frowned upon America's eagerness to embrace "mass culture" and "popular culture," terms he is credited with coining.

In his view, the corruption of language and the commodification of art and literature were a great threat to society. For him, choosing the right word was not only an aesthetic matter. It was a moral choice.

Michael Wreszin is a professor emeritus at Queens College and the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. His previous books include A Rebel in Defense of Tradition: The Life and Politics of Dwight Macdonald (1994) and the edited collection A Moral Temper: The Letters of Dwight Macdonald (2001), among others.

Read More

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781578065332
Publisher:
University Press of Mississippi
Publication date:
04/15/2003
Series:
Conversations with Public Intellectuals Series
Pages:
200
Product dimensions:
6.28(w) x 9.22(h) x 0.44(d)

Table of Contents

Introduction
Chronology
Ex-"Revolutionist" Visits Yale3
Macdonald Interview: Just a Big Family5
Dwight Macdonald Interview7
Today Show with Dwight Macdonald14
An Informal Discussion on Film18
Dwight Macdonald Interview22
Unpublished Response to a Questionnaire33
Portrait of a Man Reading38
Interview with Dwight Macdonald45
Please, High Culture: An Interview with Critic Dwight Macdonald48
Brooks Shot Right out of Saddle by Critic's Blazing Crossfire70
Conservative Anarchism: An Interview with Dwight Macdonald77
Interview with Dwight Macdonald90
Notes from Interview with Dwight Macdonald104
Interview with Dwight Macdonald113
Interviewing Dwight Macdonald115
Dwight Macdonald Interview159
Index175

Read More

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >