Between 1928 and 1981 architectural and cultural critic Lewis Mumford exchanged nearly six hundred letters with Melville scholar and Harvard psychologist Henry A. Murray. “In Old Friendship” documents that richly rewarding interaction.
Covering fifty years of devoted camaraderie between two exceptional minds, the book offers profound insights into the intellectual frustrations behind their significant careers and the emotional needs that framed their vibrant, often dramatic lives. To Mumford, a writer who sought to change the course of world events, iconoclastic Murray became a welcome confidant, critic, mentor, and friend.
The letters reflect the wide range of public and private interests held by both men. Love’s entanglements are aired alongside literary labors. By chronicling the private worlds of these intellectual icons, this volume emerges as a crucial research tool for students of American intellectual history and culture, literary criticism, urbanism, architecture, and political arenas such as World War II and the Cold War. It offers a unique prism through which to observe the dramatic shifts in American society and culture in the twentieth century.
Frank G. Novak, Jr. is professor of English at Pepperdine University. He is the editor of Lewis Mumford and Patrick Geddes: The Correspondence.
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