Philip Rahv, the storied editor of Partisan Review, belonged to “the world of our fathers,” to use the title of Irving Howe’s magisterial study of Eastern European Jews in America. From our current perspective, it’s more like the world of our grandfathers or great grandfathers.

Yet men like Rahv and Howe—the New York intellectuals who came of age in the 1930s—still have something urgent to tell readers today, as I argue in The Secular Rabbi: Philip Rahv and Partisan Review (Liverpool UP, 2021). Their writings are of general interest, addressing, as they do, the full range of literary, historical, political, social, and cultural issues of the 20th century. But more saliently, Rahv’s story dramatizes matters that are front and center in our lives today.