With him the love of country means
Blowing it all to smithereens
And having it all made over new.
-- Robert Frost
Paul de Man's life was "the classic immigrant story." He arrived in New York in 1948 from his native Belgium and worked as a clerk at the Doubleday bookstore in Grand Central Station. He met Mary McCarthy, who helped him get a job teaching French at Bard College. He fell in love with one of his students and married her. By 1955 de Man was a member of the prestigious Society of Fellows of Harvard University, and after an illustrious career in the study of literature and languages, he ended his career as Sterling Professor of Humanities at Yale. At the time of his death in 1983 de Man wielded much influence in the Yale "Hermeneutical Mafia,"