The Rants and Regrets of Seymour Krim


In chronicling his crippling attempts to read the great authors, keep up with the newest radical-highbrow scholarship and mingle with the social elite — all at the same time — Krim produced one of the great anti-intellectual screeds of his time. Coming on like Kerouac, he indicted the spokesmen of his age for using “too many words to say too few things that matter today to life-bombed kids.” The work of becoming an intellectual was fraught with peril; Krim was devoured by the “anxiety of influence” years before Harold Bloom popularized the term. “I knew gifted, fresh, swinging writers who told me in moments of confidence that they knew they weren’t ‘great’ or ‘major,’ ” he wrote, “and their voices were futile with flat tone when they confessed to this supposed weakness: as if the personal horn each could blow was meaningless because history wasn’t going to faint over them. History, the god of my grotesque period, the pursued phantom, the ruby-circled mirror of our me-worshipping egos which made monomanical fanatics out of potentially decent men!”

more from Akiva Gottlieb at the LAT here.