God and the American Writer

Alfred Kazin, Author Alfred A. Knopf $25 (288p) ISBN 978-0-394-54968-2
Secular treatments of God can be the more interesting if only because of their heavy doses of doubt. Writing with the full force of his crisp and lucid style, Kazin (On Native Grounds) is chiefly concerned with demonstrating how each of the 12 major writers he covers traded heavily on their own doubts and discarded conventional Christian faith to invent a personal version of God. Such individualism marks Kazin's American style of dealing with the Almighty. Stretching often beyond the boundaries of its title, each chapter is a wondrous essay on American history--even brief treatments of Twain and Lincoln seem monumental. Only a few of the pieces have been previously published. Kazin proves himself that rarest of modern creatures--a writer who can abide the artistry of another whose political views he considers repugnant. Faced with T.S. Eliot's legendary prejudices, Kazin was asked, ""`How can you admire such an enemy of the Jews?' I replied that if I had to exclude anti-Semites, I would have little enough to read."" The breadth of Kazin's humor and humanity makes this book a joy. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 09/29/1997
Release date: 10/01/1997
Genre: Fiction
Paperback - 288 pages - 978-0-679-73341-6
Open Ebook - 208 pages - 978-0-8041-5122-1
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