Philip Rahv (1908–1973) was an American literary critic. Rahv was a founding editor of Partisan Review. His works include Image and Idea and Literature and the Sixth Sense.

In Dubious Battle

Although this is a long novel, it is only the first volume of a work of many parts. In his brief Foreword the author tells us that the whole work “may take as long as twenty years” to write and that he probably “will not live to finish it.” We …

A Special Supplement: The Other Dostoevsky

Dostoevsky: the best and the worst, inseparable. He really looks for the truth and fears to find it; he often finds it all the same and then he is terrified…a poor great man…. —Victor Serge There are two visions in Dostoevsky, a major and a minor one. The major …

Henry James and his Cult

With this fifth volume, perhaps somewhat too brashly and summarily entitled The Master, Leon Edel at long last brings to a close his biography of James which has been appearing serially since 1953. In its way it is a phenomenal production, if only because of the truly exhaustive research that …

Delmore Schwartz: The Paradox of Precocity

This book, a selection of the late Delmore Schwartz’s essays and reviews, has been much too long in the making. Its author, who died of a heart attack in 1966 at the age of fifty-three, was an exceptionally able literary critic. Far too sophisticated intellectually and too much at home …

With It

In most of the fourteen essays collected in this book Mr. Richard Gilman comes on as the compleat “with it” critic, pushing to the limit his (perhaps) belated conversion to extreme trendiness. A literary journalist and theater reviewer in background, and lately a professor of drama at Yale, Mr. Gilman …

On Leavis and Lawrence

That F. R. Leavis is a first-rate critical personality is certain, but that is by no means the same thing as saying that he is a first-rate literary critic. No doubt he has at times achieved that stature; at other times not at all. I am here primarily concerned with …

Through the Midst of Jerusalem

This is a first-rate novel, the best that William Styron has written and the best by an American writer that has appeared in some years. One reason at least for its creative success is that its author has got hold of a substantial theme central to the national experience. Moreover, …

Left Face

We have heard a good deal lately about the dissension between the New Left and the Old, and here at hand are two books that very conveniently lend themselves to analysis as authentic expressions of both these main currents in American radicalism. Containment and Change consists of two separate essays …

An Open Secret

This is an important book, but it is scarcely likely to win favor in the Literary Establishment. It rattles too many skeletons in the closet. The importance of the book does not lie in the incidental literary criticism it contains but in its undertaking a necessary job of systematic research …

Hawthorne in Analysis

One cannot speak of Hawthorne these days without observing that of all the classic American writers he is perhaps the one least understood by the academic scholarship and criticism of our time. It is to be hoped, therefore, that Mr. Crews’s book, with its unabashedly and relentlessly Freudian analysis of …

Eliot’s Achievement

There is much to interest and even fascinate students of T. S. Eliot in this posthumously published collection, consisting for the most part of public lectures and addresses delivered between 1942 and 1961. Of the earlier articles not heretofore reprinted only two, both dating back to 1917—one on vers libre …

New American Fiction

These six books, all of them by young writers, are in their way characteristic of the current crop of fiction—not a bumper crop, to be sure, but not so bad at that after all. We have become rather accustomed of late to critical laments prophesying the novel’s imminent demise. But …

Crime Without Punishment

This is, to my mind, the most eccentric of the four novels Norman Mailer has written. It is far more eccentric, I think, than Barbary Shore—his second novel and a better one than literary opinion has generally taken it to be—which alienated readers not so much by personal singularity as …

Arthur Miller and the Fallacy of Profundity

In his second play, Incident at Vichy, at the Repertory Theatre of Lincoln Center (still temporarily housed in Washington Square), Arthur Miller recovers somewhat, even if only to a limited extent, from the disaster of After the Fall, a piece so pretentious and defensive that virtually nothing good can be …

Lettuce and Tomatoes

These two new works of criticism, dealing mainly with the American literary experience, make a startling contrast. Elliott, who has published fiction and poetry, is not a professional critic, but in so far as he ventures into criticism (mixing it, in some parts of his book, with personal reminiscences and …

The Great Outsider

When on August 30, 1940, an agent of Stalin’s drove an ice-axe into Trotsky’s skull, the news scarcely caused a ripple of interest among intellectuals of the American Left. Except for the small group of Trotskyites—a group even then in the process of dissolution—most of them cared nothing for Trotsky …

House of the Dead?

This is an important book, perhaps the most important that has come out of Russia in many years. A completely authentic account of life in the forced-labor camps under Stalin, it is cast in a fictional form superbly adapted to its subject. Its narrative tone and method, relying on the …