Remembering Irving Howe

Remembering Irving Howe

When I got the telephone call with the news of Irving’s death I was writing an article for Dissent, an article he commissioned but never saw. And the first contact I ever had with him was a reply to another article I had mailed to Dissent, out of the blue. “It’s too long,” Irving wrote back. “Cut it and we’ll publish it.” He included his home phone number and said to call collect if I wanted to talk further. In the eight years of our acquaintance, in which I never saw him more than once a year, these two qualities remained as constant as the man himself—his critical honesty, which inspired me even when it deflated me, and his generosity, which was at least as rare.

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Lima