Personal & Impersonal

In 1988, at the age of 72, Milton Hindus, Brandeis professor and biographer and critic of Proust, Céline, Whitman, and Reznikoff, collected his miscellaneous essays. Some of them are personal (memoir and autobiography), others impersonal (criticism). The emphasis, Hindus writes, is on criticism “and the autobiographical revelations are present for whatever light they may shed upon the choice of subjects and the attitudes expressed in the criticism. My conviction is that the most important life is that of the mind, and if this does not transpire through all the author’s work, then indeed he has written in vain.”


Pieces Out of A Man’s Life:
1. The Tombstone, a portrait of the author’s father
2. Portrait of an Uncle, on the Russian scholar Maurice Hindus
3. Politics, on the “Romance” of American Communism

Literary History and Criticism:
4. Walt Whitman’s Critical Reception: From 1855 to the Present
5. Charles Reznikoff’s first novel, By the Waters of Manhattan
6. Whittaker Chambers’s Witness
7. Three Essays on Irving Babbitt:
—The Achievement of Irving Babbitt
—Babbitt’s Masters of Modern French Criticism
—Babbitt’s Version of the Buddha’s Dhammapada
8. Socrates vs. Thoreau on Civil Disobedience
9. Patterns of Proustian Love
10. On Céline Once More
11. Reminiscences of Robert Frost

Milton Hindus was born in New York and educated at City College and Columbia University. He lectured at Hunter College, the New School, and the University of Chicago before being recruited as one of Brandeis University's original faculty in 1948. Over the course of his career, he wrote sixteen books on diverse topics, including Jewish history, biographies of writers, and literary criticism.