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Books

  • Why Not Say What Happened: A Sentimental Education (2015)
    In this deeply affecting memoir, Morris Dickstein introduces us to his Lower East Side childhood and his boisterous and close-knit Jewish family. In the tradition of classic memoirs by Alfred Kazin and Irving Howe, this frank and beautifully rendered story sheds light on the many different forms education can take. Read Reviews of Why Not Say What Happened
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  • Dancing in the Dark: A Cultural History of the Great Depression (2009)
    Bringing together a staggering range of materials—from epic Dust Bowl migrations and sharecropper photographs to zany screwball comedies, wildly popular swing bands, and streamlined Deco designs—this eloquent work highlights the pivotal role of culture and government intervention in hard times. Read reviews of Dancing in the Dark
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  • A Mirror in the Roadway: Literature and the Real World (2005)
    Through lively and incisive essays directed to general readers as well as students of literature, Dickstein redefines the literary landscape–a landscape in which reading has for decades been devalued by society and distorted by theory. Having begun with a reconsideration of realism, the book concludes with several essays probing the strengths and limitations of a historical approach to literature and criticism.Read reviews of A Mirror in the RoadwayAmazon | B&N | IndieBound | Powells
  • Leopards in the Temple: The Transformation of American Fiction, 1945-1970 (2002)
    Taking his title from the Kafka parable about the leopards who kept racing into the courtyard of the temple, disrupting the sacrifice, until they were made part of the ritual, Morris Dickstein shows how a daring band of outsiders reshaped the American novel and went on to dominate American fiction for the rest of the century.Read reviews of Leopards in the TempleAmazon | B&N | IndieBound | Powells
  • Double Agent: The Critic and Society (1992)
    Offering acute portraits of critics both famous and neglected, Dickstein traces the evolution of cultural criticism over the last century from Matthew Arnold to New Historicism. He examines the development of practical criticism, the rise and fall of literary journalism, and the growth of American Studies.Read reviews of Double Agent: The Critic & SocietyAmazon | B&N | IndieBound | Powells
  • Gates of Eden: American Culture in the Sixties (1977)
    During the sixties, says Morris Dickstein, America seemed to be at the gates of Eden–verging on a new way of experiencing life, art, and culture. In this provocative book, he discusses how we reached the gates and why, in the end, they remained closed.Read reviews of Gates of EdenAmazon | B&N | IndieBound | Powells
  • Keats and His Poetry: A Study in Development
  • The Revival of Pragmatism: New Essays on Social Thought, Law, and Culture (edited)
  • Great Film Directors: A Critical Anthology (coedited with Leo Braudy)