Delmore Schwartz

After graduating from New York University in 1935 Delmore Schwartz started to work on In Dreams Begin Responsibilities, a book containing a story, a long poem, lyrics, and a play, published three years later by New Directions. In 1941 followed Shenandoah, a play in verse. His narrative poem Genesis appeared in 1943, _The World is a Wedding—_two short novels and five stories—in 1948, and a further collection of poems and stories, Vaudeville for a Princess, in 1950. The foregoing books were all published by New Directions. In 1959, Doubleday & Co. brought out a new book of poems under the title Summer Knowledge and for this book Mr. Schwartz was named as the winner of the Bollingen Prize in Poetry. At 47 years of age, he was the youngest winner of this prize since its establishment in 1948. Mr. Schwartz was a frequent contributor to literary publications. For a period he was a literary consultant for New Directions in Prose and Poetry, Perspectives, Diogenes and he had been an associate editor of Partisan Review. From 1940 to 1946 he was Briggs-Copeland instructor in English composition at Harvard, becoming an assistant professor in 1946–47. He lectured at Kenyon College, Indiana University, and at New York University and was, for a period (around 1950), resident lecturer and fellow in creative writing at Princeton University. He won a number of prizes in addition to the Bollingen Prize mentioned above. In 1953 he won the award of the National Academy of Arts and Letters and in 1957 he was one of the four Kenyon Review fellows. In July, 1966, the New York literary community was shocked to learn that Schwartz had been found dead in his Broadway hotel room—apparently the victim of a heart-attack. After a cruel mental illness took hold, wrecking his academic career, alienating his friends and family, he disappeared. Though there were rumors that he was still writing, the bulk of his manuscripts were missing at the time of his death.

Once and For All: The Best of Delmore Schwartz

With his New Directions debut in 1938, the twenty-five-year-old Delmore Schwartz was hailed as a genius and among the most promising writers of his generation. Yet he died in relative obscurity in 1966, wracked by mental illness and substance abuse. Sadly, his literary legacy has been overshadowed by the story of his tragic life. Among poets, Schwartz was a prototype for the confessional movement made famous by his slightly younger friends Robert Lowell and John Berryman.…
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Screeno: Stories & Poems

Fiction by Delmore Schwartz

Delmore Schwartz (1913-1966) was one of the finest writers of his generation. Winner of the prestigious Bollingen Prize and the Poetry Society of America’s Shelley Memorial Award, he was hailed by John Ashbery as “one of the major twentieth-century poets." Schwartz’s stories were also widely read and loved, admired by James Atlas for their “unique style that enabled Schwartz to depict his characters with a sort of childlike verisimilitude.” Graced with an introduction by Cynthia Ozick, this New Directions Bibelot, Screeno: Stories & Poems, gathers many of Schwartz’s most popular works, including: “In Dreams Begin Responsibilities,” “America, America!…
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Last And Lost Poems

With some changes in the contents––most notably the addition of sixteen recently discovered poems and the inclusion of a selection from Genesis Book II–Last & Lost Poems is a paperbound version of the highly praised 1979 Vanguard Press publication. That book disclosed that between 1958 and 1966, despite his disintegrating life, Delmore Schwartz was indeed working and producing poems full of the special magic that had propelled him early on into the literary limelight.…
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The Ego Is Always At The Wheel

Literature by Delmore Schwartz

Readers of the poetry and fiction of Delmore Schwartz (1913-66) are familiar with his penetrating psychology and his philosophical concerns, his ability to dramatize ideas and to turn his personal experiences––as immigrant son, New York Jewish intellectual and Wunderkind––into a symbol for the disorders and conflicts of modern life. But Schwartz had another side––the comic. The Ego Is Always at the Wheel, a collection of nineteen essays published now as a New Directions Paperbook, presents the poet as a humorist of no mean accomplishment.…
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In Dreams Begin Responsibilities

Fiction by Delmore Schwartz

With a contribution by Irving Howe

In Dreams Begin Responsibilities and Other Stories collects eight of Schwartz’s finest delineations of New York intellectuals in the 1930s and 1940s. As no other writer, he captures the speech, the generational conflicts, the mocking self-analysis of educated, ambitious, Depression-stymied young people at odds with their immigrant parents. This is the unique American dilemma Irving Howe describes in his penetrating, loving foreword as “that interesting point where intellectual children of immigrant Jews are finding their way into the larger world while casting uneasy, rueful glances over their backs.…
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Summer Knowledge

When this book was first published (as Summer Knowledge) in 1959, Delmore Schwartz was still riding a crest, the golden boy of the literary scene––a position he had commanded ever since the appearance of his first collection of stories and poems in 1938. Summer Knowledge won for him both the prestigious Bollingen Prize in Poetry and the Poetry Society of America’s Shelley Memorial Award. Ironically, indeed tragically, the praise and prizes Schwartz’s poems received did not forestall his decline, and this, his poetic testament, proved to be a final one as well.…
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One of the young princes of American literature in the middle of the 20th century.
National Post
[V]ivid details of lived experience are thrust throughout Schwartz’s writing. Readers are left reeling among elemental features of the world, physical and immediate yet drenched as well with historical and literary ambience.
—Patrick James Dunagan, Rain Taxi
For Schwartz poetry was ongoing and unstoppable, a process as compulsive and endless as the mariner’s telling of his tale.
—Mark Ford, Times Literary Supplement
Once and for All serves as an ideal introduction for the curious reader.
—Adam Kirsch, Tablet
This new collection of Delmore Schwartz’s work reads like a literary “CV of Failures,” a powerful testament to a life shaken by the Great Depression. As we navigate the long road to national recovery, we can use his writing both as a mirror and as a compass.
—Jason Boog, The Los Angeles Review of Books
Once and For All is the latest and most comprehensive collection of his work to date and the volume takes on a very valuable task: it attempts to give Schwartz’s provocative and multifaceted literary legacy its long-deserved due.
—Matt Hanson, The Arts Fuse
This richly illuminating collection should help secure Schwartz the renewed appreciation he deserves.
—Donna Seaman, Booklist
Delmore’s genius survives in the sound of his words, in his hypnotizing lines.
—Jonathan Galassi, The New York Review of Books
The greatest man I ever met… [His] titles were more than enough to raise the muse of fire on my neck.
—Lou Reed
[Delmore Schwartz was] concerned with fundamentals, with the problem of identity, of knowledge and belief, haunted by the noise time makes, able to write wittily and movingly.
—Babette Deutsch
…poems in a great diversity of manners and meters, all marked by inventive workmanship, all spoken in a personal voice.
—Bollingen Prize citation
[Schwartz] had… a feeling for literary honor, for the highest standards, that one can only call noble.
—Alfred Kazin
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