Model of Dissent

Politics and the Intellectual
Conversations with Irving Howe
Edited by John Rodden and Ethan Goffman
Purdue University Press, $30.95, 376 pp.

The last time I saw Irving Howe was at Carnegie Hall. We bumped into each other during the concert’s intermission. He was aglow. Isn’t it wonderful, Peter, he exclaimed, wonderful! The concert was Antonín Dvořák’s Stabat Mater.

That this insistently secular left-wing Jewish intellectual was so entranced and moved by a profoundly religious, explicitly Christian work still makes me shake my head with wonder, even if I associate this last meeting with Howe’s unexpected death at...

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About the Author

Peter Steinfels, co-founder of the Fordham Center on Religion and Culture and a former editor of Commonweal, is the author of A People Adrift: The Crisis of the Roman Catholic Church in America.