How "Partisan Review" Began
Partisan Review was born in the 30′s in the decade that we look back on today with so much curiosity, nostalgia, misunderstanding. It seems so long ago, especially when one considers what has happened since: World War II, Vietnam, two Israeli-Arab wars, Watergate, China, women’s liberation, a sexual and cultural revolution. But despite these enormous changes, many of the questions that haunt us today are updated versions of the questions I grew up with in the 30′s. And if the time between the 30′s and the 70′s often appears foreshortened, it is because of the peculiar sense of contemporaneity that makes the whole modern period seem all of a piece.
Intellectually speaking, I, too, was born in the 30′s. Perhaps it is too egocentric to identify one’s formative years with the beginnings of this era. But I think it can be said that the 30′s were the cradle of our entire epoch, and that we are all living out the unsolved problems-intellectual as well as political-first posed at that time. For what we think of as the contemporary mind had its origins in the profoundly traumatic shift of consciousness that took place in the 30′s.
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