In Dreams Begin Responsibilities & Other Stories


Delmore Schwartz

Contributors: Irving Howe, Lou Reed

A new edition of the definitive book on the depression-era immigrant experience in New York City.

Now with an exciting new preface by rock musician Lou Reed (Delmore Schwartz's student at Syracuse), In Dreams Begin Responsibilities collects eight of Schwartz's finest delineations of New York's intellectuals in the 1930's and 1940's. As no other writer can, Schwartz captures the speech, the generational conflicts, the mocking self-analysis of educated, ambitious, Depression-stymied young people at odds with their immigrant parents. This is the unique American dilemma Irving Howe described as "that interesting point where intellectual children of immigrant Jews are finding their way into the larger world while casting uneasy, rueful glances over their backs." Afterwords by James Atlas and Irving Howe place the stories in their historical and cultural setting.

More Praise…

“'In Dreams Begin Responsibilities' is as good as a story can be, I’d say after reading it again for the fifth or sixth time, comparable with Kafka, Babel, or Through the Looking Glass.”

— Dwight MacDonald

“Nostalgic odes to the city are everywhere, but the best thing ever written on the subject is In Dreams Begin Responsibilities. ”

The Village Voice