The Center for the Humanities

Pauline Kael & Robert Duncan: Selected Letters 1945-1946 (Parts I & II)

Editor: Bradley Lubin
Part I: 52 pages, softcover, saddle-stitch binding
Part II: 50 pages, softcover, saddle-stitch binding

Pauline Kael and Robert Duncan met in the 1930s as students at the University of California-Berkeley. After both dropped out, they maintained a six year correspondence recording the trials, excitements, and discoveries of life after Berkeley. The Selected Letters, 1945-46 captures their singular friendship and the mutual interests and sensibilities that united them. Highlights include a dialogue on reading Herman Melville’s Pierre; reflections by Duncan on farm-life in Northern California; notes on his preparation of his manuscript The Years as Catches and Kael’s work on a play; and from New York, Kael’s reportage on art-shows, films, music, and discussion meetings tied to Dwight Macdonald’s journal Politics.

Author Biographies:

PAULINE KAEL (1919-2001) was the lead film critic for The New Yorker from 1968 to 1991 and one of the reigning voices in American film criticism. Books by Kael include the bestseller I Lost it at the Movies (1965), Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (1968), the National Book Award Winner Deeper into Movies (1974), and The Age of Movies: Selected Writings of Pauline Kael (2011), edited by Sanford Schwartz for the Library of America.

ROBERT DUNCAN (1919-1988) was an American poet and key presence in post-War arts and letters. His works of poetry include The Opening of the Field (1960), Roots and Branches (1964), Bending the Bow (1968), and Ground Work: Before the War/In the Dark (2006). The Collected Works of Robert Duncan are currently being published by the University of California Press.

Selected Archives:

  • Lilly Library, The University of Indiana-Bloomington, Bloomington, IN
  • The Bancroft Library, University of California-Berkeley Berkeley, CA

Pauline Kael photo courtesy of Gina James; Robert Duncan photo courtesy of James Peter Cooney, editor of The Phoneix from The Poetry Collection, University of Buffalo.

Images

Pauline Kael photo courtesy of Gina James

Robert Duncan photo courtesy of James Peter Cooney