The New York Intellectuals: From Vanguard to Institution

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This study of the New York Intellectuals uses original sources to reconstruct their history during the period of their greatest influence, the 1940s and 1950s. It takes as its major theme the contradiction between the Intellectuals' avant-garde principles and the institutional locations they had come to occupy. Amongst those known collectively as the New York Intellectuals were such thinkers and activists as Philip Rahv, Mary McCarthy, Dwight Macdonald and Lionel Trilling. They assembled on the margins of ...
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Overview

This study of the New York Intellectuals uses original sources to reconstruct their history during the period of their greatest influence, the 1940s and 1950s. It takes as its major theme the contradiction between the Intellectuals' avant-garde principles and the institutional locations they had come to occupy. Amongst those known collectively as the New York Intellectuals were such thinkers and activists as Philip Rahv, Mary McCarthy, Dwight Macdonald and Lionel Trilling. They assembled on the margins of American society in the 1930s and formed an intellectual community on the basis of their shared concern with Marxism and Modernism. Afterwards they enjoyed a steady ascent to national and international prominence. Their influence is still felt in many spheres of American public life today. While defending the New York Intellectuals against charges that they 'sold out', this book also mounts a sustained critique of their cultural and political vanguardism. The author pays particular attention to three of the illustrious magazines associated with the Intellectuals, Partisan Review, Politics and Encounter, providing fresh insights into their contents and new information about their material histories.
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Reconstructs the history of a group of thinkers and activists including Philip Rahv, Mary McCarthy, Dwight Macdonald, and Lionel Trilling--collectively known as the New York Intellectuals--during the period of their greatest influence, the 1940s and 1950s. While defending the group against charges that they "sold out", the author analyzes the contradictions between their avant-garde principles and the institutional locations they came to occupy. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780719039881
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Publication date: 12/28/1995
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 320
  • Product dimensions: 5.73 (w) x 8.80 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Table of Contents

Preface
Acknowledgements
Prologue: The rise of the New York Intellectuals 1
Introduction: The New York Intellectuals: a defence and a critique 9
Ch. 1 Partisan Review as avant-garde institution 31
Ch. 2 Partisan Review in the 1940s: the claiming of Modernism 61
Ch. 3 Politics, Pound and patronage: Modernist contradictions 82
Ch. 4 Partisan Review in the 1950s: the institutionalisation of the avant-garde 108
Ch. 5 Post-modern possibilities: Dwight Macdonald's Politics 137
Ch. 6 An oasis: the New York Intellectuals in the late 1940s 163
Ch. 7 The vanguard mutates: the New York Intellectuals and the Cultural Cold War 193
Ch. 8 'Unwitting assets'?: the New York Intellectuals and Encounter 216
Epilogue 243
Select bibliography 248
Index 256
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