Further Introducing Alfred Kazin to Twitter, and You
Dwight Garner’s Twitter account, regularly full of humorous gems, profound observations, combining books with his dogwalking, has tweeted a few lines ( 1… 2… 3…) inspired by Alfred Kazin over the past few days. This morning’s issue of the New York Times, featured Garner’s review of the “remarkable” Alfred Kazin’s Journals, edited by Richard M. Cook, who published his biography of Kazin in 2008.
Born in 1915 to barely literate Jewish immigrants in the Brownsville section of Brooklyn, Alfred Kazin rose from near poverty to become one of the most influential intellectuals of postwar America. (We might laugh, then, part of an entry from July 16, 1992, which reads: “[Mario] Cuomo speaking of ‘An American Family.’ Only immigrants’ sons speak this way.”) To Kazin, the daily entry was a psychological and spiritual act. The journals also highlight his engagement with the political and cultural debates of the decades through which he lived. He wrestles with communism, cultural nationalism, liberalism, existentialism, Israel, modernism, as well as his own personal issues: his promiscuity, his solitude even whilst in the spotlight, his snobbery, and his deeply complicated relationship with writing.
To remind us of the importance of writing, thinking, and reflecting, Kazin, whose dates of birth and death are next Sunday, June 5, might even quote his own words: “To write is to form a thought out of nothing. There was no thought before I started to write this. I am Man Thinking. I am thinking this page; I am thinking my life.”