A Portrait of Delmore
It is possible to feel overwhelmed by Delmore Schwartz in death as it was in life. Twenty years after his death on 11 July 1966, the movement to resurrect Schwartz has taken a serious turn. The publication of Schwartz’s journals is just a ripple in the tide of Schwartziana that has been swelling since 1975, when Saul Bellow’s Humboldt’s Gift brought Schwartz back into public consciousness as the kibitzer maudit and insomniac laureate of his age. That wave includes Robert Phillips’ edition of Schwartz’s Letters, published in 1984; Schwartz’s Last and Lost Poems (1979); the collection of “bagatelles,” The Ego is Always at the Wheel (1986); James Atlas’s Delmore Schwartz: The Life of an American Poet (1977); the extended portrait of Schwartz in William Barrett’s The Truants (1982), and Bruce Bawer’s essay on Schwartz’s poetry in The Middle Generation: The Lives and Poetry of Delmore Schwartz, Randall Jarrell, John Berryman, and Robert Lowell (1986). Virtually forgotten after his death, Schwartz has now been brought back to life as a symbol of Jewish intellectual life and a small but vigorous cottage industry.
KeywordsBurning Depression Gall Stein Dine
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