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the same obligation to be factual

A New Yorker article on Ernest Hemingway, which included a note about Papa's attack on Alfred Kazin after a bad review of Across the River and into the Trees, reminded me of a long quotation about Kazin from a book I'd recently come across.

"His memoirs tend to be even more memorable than his criticism, partly because when writing about himself he never felt the same obligation to be factual that he felt toward the writers he revered.
He constantly reshapes facts about his family and his marriages: the same wife gets different names in different books, marriages are conflated, he seems lonely, only child because his sister Pearl--she married the sociologist Daniel Bell--never gets mentioned."

~~from the Alfred Kazin section of Edward Mendelson's Moral Agents: Eight Twentieth-Century American Writers.

So perhaps Kazin could be perceived as a "Critic Laureate" at the Less United States of Kudera, as he continues to get mention at this blog. I wonder what the author of On Native Grounds would write about the current literary scene, both in and outside the academy.


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