By Irving Howe, Nina Howe, Morris Dickstein
A Voice nonetheless Heard is key to the certainty of the passionate and skeptical spirit of this lucid author. The e-book kinds a bridge among the 2 parallel corporations of tradition and politics. It exhibits how politics justifies itself by way of tradition, and the way the latter activates the previous. Howe’s voice is ever sharp, relentless, usually scathingly humorous, revealing Howe as that rarest of critics—a genuine reader and author, one whose readability of favor is end result of the his disciplined and candid mind.
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Additional info for A Voice Still Heard: Selected Essays of Irving Howe
It becomes a loose shelter, a poncho rather than a program; to call oneself a liberal one doesn’t really have to believe in anything. In such a moment of social slackness, the more extreme intellectual tendencies have a way, as soon as an effort is made to put them into practice, of sliding into and becoming barely distinguishable from the dominant liberalism. Both conservatism and radicalism can retain, at most, an intellectual recalcitrance, but neither is presently able to engage in a sustained practical politics of its own; which does not mean they will never be able to.
Exactly what the “perfectibility of man” is supposed to mean, if anything at all, I cannot say; but it is not a phrase intrinsic to the kind of thought one ﬁnds in the mature Marx or, most of the time, in Rousseau. Marx did not base his argument for socialism on any view that one could isolate a constant called “human nature”; he would certainly have agreed with Ortega that man has not a nature, but a history. Nor did he have a very rosy view of the human beings who were his contemporaries or recent predecessors: see in Capital the chapter on the Working Day, a grisly catalogue of human bestiality.
Criticism itself, far from being the reﬂection of a solitary mind upon a work of art and therefore, like the solitary mind, incomplete and subjective, comes increasingly to be regarded as a problem in mechanics, the tools, methods, and trade secrets of which can be picked up, usually during the summer, from the more experienced operatives. In the mind of Stanley Hyman, who serves the indispensable function of reducing fashionable literary notions, criticism seems to resemble Macy’s on bargain day: First ﬂoor, symbols; Second ﬂoor, myths (rituals to the rear on your right); Third ﬂoor, ambiguities and paradoxes; Fourth ﬂoor, word counting; Fifth ﬂoor, Miss Harrison’s antiquities; Attic, Marxist remnants; Basement, Freud; Subbasement, Jung.
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