Philip Rahv William Barrett - Essay

William Barrett

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

[Philip Rahv's break with Communism marked the real beginning of his career as a literary critic]. Starting in 1939, and then through the 1940's, he wrote some solid and really first-rate essays in literary criticism, which still remain the best memorial to his powers of mind and sensibility. One of the remarkable things about them too was the degree to which his Marxism had receded into the background. In fact, he had not given up his beliefs; when pushed in conversation, the Marxist formulary would come out as flat and dogmatic as ever; but in his literary criticism, and much to its benefit, he seemed to look the other way. The god of Marxism had not died for him, it had simply withdrawn—and, as it turned out,...

(The entire section is 2607 words.)