In Dreams Begin Responsibilities
This is the first British publication of a seminal work of twentieth century fiction, rediscovering Delmore Schwartz for a new generation of readers.
Delmore Schwartz became the voice of a new generation, when In Dreams Begin Responsibilities was published in the debut issue of ‘Partisan Review’ in 1937. His influence on other writers was immediate and is still enormous; he was an unfluence on Philip Roth and Saul Bellow, whose Humboldt’s Gift is a fictionalised account of Bellow’s own relationship with Schwartz.
Delmore Schwartz is the only writer to be memorialised in a song by Lou Reed and also in one of John Berryman’s Dream Songs. Despite his early promise and achievement Delmore Schwartz died destitute in a New York hotel in 1966.
In Dreams Begin Responsibilities and Other Stories collects eight of Schwartz’s finest stories; including the seminal In Dreams Begin Responsibilities, the foundation for all post-World War Two American-Jewish fiction. Delmore Schwartz found a vernacular language for the generational conflicts and self-analysis of educated and ambitious young people in conflict with their immigrant parents that is still captivating.
“A poignant portrait of… two generations, and the clashes, gulfs and ‘unbreakable unity’ between them… his best stories view his characters with such sharpness that the wider significances never seem forced.”
“Many of the stories in this fine collection have a strange clairvoyance; they are dark with the threat of imminent catastrophe.”
“Schwartz had been a pioneer, a golden boy, an exemplar to those who followed him… As for the stories in this reprinted collection, the more expressionist their mode is, the more widely they stray from the canons of naturalism, so the more compelling and affecting they become.”
‘The New Statesman’