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The Immediate Experience

The Immediate Experience

Movies, Comics, Theatre, and Other Aspects of Popular Culture

Robert Warshow

ISBN 9780674007260

Publication date: 01/30/2002

This collection of essays, which originally appeared as a book in 1962, is virtually the complete works of an editor of Commentary magazine who died, at age 37, in 1955. Long before the rise of Cultural Studies as an academic pursuit, in the pages of the best literary magazines of the day, Robert Warshow wrote analyses of the folklore of modern life that were as sensitive and penetrating as the writings of James Agee, George Orwell, and Walter Benjamin. Some of these essays--notably "The Westerner," "The Gangster as Tragic Hero," and the pieces on the New Yorker, Mad Magazine, Arthur Miller's The Crucible, and the Rosenberg letters--are classics, once frequently anthologized but now hard to find.

Along with a new preface by Stanley Cavell, The Immediate Experience includes several essays not previously published in the book--on Kafka and Hemingway--as well as Warshow's side of an exchange with Irving Howe.

Praise

  • A legendary little book, partly because its author died at the age of 37, but mostly because it stands as a virtually unique representative from its period of a consistently open-minded, moral, aesthetic, and political engagement with commercial culture.

    —Louis Menand

Authors

  • Robert Warshow (1917-1955) was a member of the community that has come to be known as the "New York Intellectuals." He was an editor of Commentary magazine and an astute critic of cinema. He tragically died of a heart-attack at the age of 37.
  • At the time of his death in 1975, Lionel Trilling was University Professor at Columbia University.
  • Stanley Cavell (1926–2018) was Walter M. Cabot Professor of Aesthetics and the General Theory of Value, Emeritus, at Harvard University. His numerous books include The Claim of Reason, Cities of Words, and Philosophy the Day after Tomorrow.

Book Details

  • 352 pages
  • 5-1/2 x 8-1/4 inches
  • Harvard University Press
  • Introduction by Lionel Trilling
  • Epilogue by Stanley Cavell

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