Irving Howe

Boris Pasternak Lived In The Wrong Century
Irving Howe on the tragedy of our twentieth-century Tolstoy
February 10, 2014

Boris Pasternak was born 124 years ago on this day. In honor of his birthday, here is Irving Howe's appraisal of the unique genius of Pasternak's best-known work, Doctor Zhivago.

You Probably Haven't Read Robert Frost's Best Poems
January 29, 2014

There's way more to Frost than "The Road Not Taken."

The Old Magician
A defense of the late, scolding Tolstoy
January 10, 2014

The old magician stands before me, alien to all, a solitary traveler through all the deserts of thought, in search of an all-embracing truth which he has not found—I look at him and, although I feel sorry for the loss, I feel pride at having seen the

Boris Pasternak's 'Doctor Zhivago' Should Inspire Reverence
September 8, 1958
October 23, 2013

Boris Pasternak won the Nobel Prize in 1958 and refused to accept it. 

Doris Lessing's 'The Golden Notebook' Was The Most Exciting Novel of The 1960s
October 22, 2013

Doris Lessing, who died Sunday at 94, is being remembered as a shatterer of literary and political conventions. In 1962, 45 years before she won the Nobel Prize, Lessing was the subject of a lengthy review in The New Republic by Irving Howe.

The Old Magician
April 27, 1992

Reading the aged Tolstoy stirs the heart. He will not yield to time, sloth, or nature. He clings to the waist of the life force. Deep into old age, he

The Human Factor: Are Characters Like People?
May 08, 1989

The idea of character, once taken to be central to the reading of novels, has come into critical disrepute. Literary theorists are eager to dismember

The Spell of Fagin
June 20, 1983

Oliver Twist can attract and hold almost every kind of imagination, since its main figures—the defenseless waif, the devilish fence, the unctuous bead

Faulkner: End of a Road
December 07, 1959

The Mansion By William Faulkner (Random House, $4.75)   The Snopeses have always been there. No sooner did Faulkner come upon his central subject—how the corruption of the homeland, staining its best sons, left them without standards or defense—than Snopesism followed inexorably. Almost anyone can detect the Snopeses, but describing them is very hard. The usual reference to “amorality,” while accurate, is not sufficiently distinctive and by itself does not allow us to place them, as they should be placed, in a historical moment.