The New York Intellectuals

The New York Intellectuals

The New York Intellectuals were a group of Jewish American writers and literary critics based in New York City in the mid-20th century. They advocated left-wing politics but were also firmly anti-Stalinist. The group is known for having sought to integrate literary theory with Marxism and Socialism while rejecting Soviet Communism as a workable or acceptable political model.


Writers often identified as members of this group include Hannah Arendt, William Barrett, Daniel Bell, Saul Bellow, Marshall Berman, Richard Chase, Nathan Glazer, Clement Greenberg, Richard Hofstadter, Sidney Hook, Irving Howe, Alfred Kazin, Irving Kristol, Mary McCarthy, Dwight Macdonald, William Phillips, Norman Podhoretz, Philip Rahv, Harold Rosenberg, Isaac Rosenfeld, Delmore Schwartz, Susan Sontag, Harvey Swados, Diana Trilling, Lionel Trilling, Michael Walzer, and Robert Warshow.

Many of these intellectuals were educated at City College of New York ("Harvard of the Proletariat"), New York University and Columbia University in the 1930s, and associated with the left-wing political journals the Partisan Review, Commentary, and Dissent. Writer Nicholas Lemann has described these intellectuals as "the American Bloomsbury".

Some, including Kristol, Hook, and Podhoretz, later became key figures in the development of Neoconservatism.


  • Bloom, Alexander. Prodigal Sons: The New York Intellectuals and Their World, Oxford University Press, 1986, ISBN 0-19-503662-X
  • Cooney, Terry A. The Rise of the New York Intellectuals: Partisan Review and Its Circle, 1934-1945, University of Wisconsin Press, 1986, ISBN 0-299-10710-8
  • Dorman, Joseph. Arguing the World: The New York Intellectuals in their Own Words. New York: Free Press, 2000. ISBN: 0684862794.
  • Jumonville, Neil. Critical Crossings: The New York Intellectuals in Postwar America, University of California Press, 1991, ISBN 0-520-06858-0
  • Laskin, David. Partisans: Marriage, Politics, and Betrayal Among the New York Intellectuals University of Chicago Press, 2001, ISBN 0-226-46893-3
  • Wald, Alan M. The New York Intellectuals: The Rise and Decline of the Anti-Stalinist Left from the 1930s to the 1980s, University of North Carolina Press, 1987, ISBN 0-8078-4169-2

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