The Jewish Writer in America

IN THE COURSE of writing these chapters and delivering them as public lectures I made the awful discovery that I must define my Jewishness to the reader. What has being a Jew got to do with literary criticism? Quite a bit, evidently. The mere act of defending oneself against the shallow Jew-baiting of Pound or the profound racism of Eliot constitutes a "position." And insofar as I have a position, it is bound to be something of a "Jewish position." Even while I was delivering these notes as lectures I was accused of criticizing modern poetry on "Jewish" grounds. A philosophy professor conspicuously stalked out of the crowded hall where I was speaking unfavorably of Eliot; he gave it out later that my remarks about Eliot's Anglo-Catholicism offended him personally. The unphilosophical departure of this gentleman paved the way for the criticism which I heard frequently later on--my quarrel with the Pound-Eliot school was a Jewish quarrel. Against this accusation I must defend my book. And for the sake of my "re-

-205-

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In Defense of Ignorance
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Acknowledgments v
  • Contents vii
  • To the Reader ix
  • The Critic In Spite of Himself 3
  • T. S. Eliot: the Death Of Literary Judgment 35
  • Ezra Pound: the Scapegoat Of Modern Poetry 61
  • W. B. Yeats: Trial By Culture 87
  • The Retreat of W. H. Auden 115
  • William Carlos Williams: The True Contemporary 143
  • Dylan Thomas 171
  • The First White Aboriginal 187
  • The Jewish Writer In America 205
  • Poets and Psychologists 219
  • The Unemployed Magician 239
  • What is Not Poetry? 263
  • Poets of the Cosmic Consciousness 287
  • The Greatest Living Author 313
  • About the Author *
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