Howe, Irving

Howe, Irving,

1920–93, American literary and social critic, b. New York City. From his early days as a Trotskyist to his later (and lifelong) position as a democratic socialist, Howe criticized Stalinism and left-wing totalitarianism. His roles as a cofounder (1954) of Dissent magazine and frequent contributor to such journals as the Partisan Review, New Republic, and New York Review of Books made him influential in the New York literary world. His many books include William Faulkner: A Critical Study (1952), Politics and the Novel (1957), The Critical Point (1974), World of Our Fathers (1978), Socialism and America (1985), and A Critic's Notebook (1994). Howe, who was a professor at the City Univ. of New York, also played a key role in introducing Yiddish literature to America.


See N. Howe (his daughter), ed., A Voice Still Heard: Selected Essays of Irving Howe (2014); his autobiography, A Margin of Hope (1982); biography by G. Sorin (2003);.

Howe, Irving

(1920–93) literary critic, biographer; born in New York City. He was educated at City College (where he joined the faculty in 1963) and was associated with the "New York intellectuals" in the 1940s. Howe's career is notable for blending socialist activism and literary and cultural criticism. Founder and editor of Dissent (1954), his numerous essays and books concern most notably the American novel, the position of literary intellectuals in modern America, and New York's Jewish immigrants.