Remembering Irving Howe

Remembering Irving Howe

Sudden deaths of friends still leading vital lives are always shocking. I suspect we were especially shocked by Irving’s death because we assumed, despite his deteriorating physical health, that he would somehow live forever. Irving was such a towering figure that we understood him as a kind of monument.

He was a monument to a range and a depth almost impossible to imagine in one human being, combined with a quiet decency. Particularly for those of us who came of age during the relative calm of postwar America, Irving’s several worlds seem of another era. He was of a generation that had life experiences that simply can never be lived again.

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Wurgraft | University of California Press Lima