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In Dreams Begin Responsibilities and Other Stories Paperback – April, 1978


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 1 pages
  • Publisher: New Directions; 3rd prt. edition (April 1978)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0811206807
  • ISBN-13: 978-0811206808
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 5 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.3 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #630,815 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Nostalgic odes to the city are everywhere, but the best thing ever written on the subject is [this book]. -- Darren Reidy, The Village Voice, 31 December 2003

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Customer Reviews

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It's heartbreaking and scary and funny.
Neil Roseman
I expected these to be more about Jewish culture in NY in the generation prior to the great migration.
Michael Jay Sullivan
Each of the stories is a masterpiece and competes, in terms of quality, with the Schwartz poetry.
Mary E. Sibley

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

36 of 36 people found the following review helpful By Neil Roseman on December 7, 1999
Format: Paperback
Delmore Schwartz has unfortunately been forgotten by most people today, and that is a great shame. (An example of this is that Schwartz's student John Berryman has his own entry in the online edition of Encarta; Delmore does not.) I first came into contact with his work in 9th grade, when a teacher suggested I read the Schwartz poem, "The Heavy Bear Who Goes With Me" -- one of his masterpieces, collected in "Summer Knowledge." Later, around the time I read this book,there was a brief surge in Delmore interest with the publication of Jame Atlas' biography of Schwartz and Saul Bellow's "Humboldts Gift", the title character being based on Delmore. Fortunately, this led to reprinting of much of his work. Sadly, it didn't lead to continued general interest.
The title story alone is reason enough to buy "In Dreams..." The brilliant device of having the main character watching a movie of his parents courtship, is was way ahead of its time. The end of the story will linger in your mind. It's heartbreaking and scary and funny.
Schwartz's work deserves a wider audience. I promise you will not be dissapointed if you take the time to read him. The only poet I know who has both a Berryman "Dream Song" and a Lou Reed song dedicated to him can't be too bad, can he?
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Dale W. Boyer on July 10, 2000
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Five of the stories here are flat-out masterpieces ("In Dreams;" "The World is a Wedding;" "New Year's Eve;" "The Commencement Address;" and "The Track Meet"), while the other 3 are extremely well done, if not as wholly satisfying. This collection should be required reading in every contemporary lit. class. It's got everything: all the themes of struggle, frustration and defeat, responsibility, ambition, all the thoughts that men have thought in every age, and captures its era so perfectly and completely I am in awe. Even though the stories are, in some ways similar (especially "In Dreams," "The Commencement Address," and "The Track Meet"), they are utterly original, beautiful, hallucinatory, profound, funny and heartbreaking. Schwartz -- that great voice speaking out against the crowd -- deserves to be heard at last.
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Mary Palmer on May 24, 2005
Format: Hardcover
I've never had this experience before, or since. It is autumn of 1964. I am a college freshman, sitting on my bed reading the story "In Dreams Begin Responsibilities." My roommate and a few other dorm mates walk into the room and call my name, but I don't hear them, so lost am I in the story. Finally, someone nudges my arm. I look up--and the story, which had been unrolling before my eyes, is gone! I'm back in my college dorm room, no longer in the movie theater in the story. I had not even been aware that I was reading--I was IN the story, I was there, experiencing it, not just reading it--and for a few moments, I didn't know what had happened or where I was. Repeated readings never quite duplicated that first experience, but the story remains very powerful, very moving, very involving.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Mary E. Sibley VINE VOICE on August 22, 2003
Format: Paperback
This collection of stories is graced by two introductions and lives up to every superlative. Irving Howe and biographer James Atlas note for the reader Delmore Schwartz's unfailing ear for the idiom of his parents' generation. Each of the stories is a masterpiece and competes, in terms of quality, with the Schwartz poetry. Having read James Atlas's biography of Delmore Schwartz this reader thinks of tragic waste and pain when thinking of Schwartz. And yet, and yet, when one considers the brilliance of these stories, the fact that his mere existence inspired the wonderful novel HUMBOLDT'S GIFT by Saul Bellow, and that he evoked intense loyality from his students the picture shifts to a life of immense achievement not disproportionate to his evident gift. This New Directions Paperback has a compelling photograph on the cover.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Michael Jay Sullivan on March 21, 2010
Format: Paperback
As an undergraduate English major/graduate in the 70's, I'm surprised we were never exposed to these compelling, albeit, dark stories. I expected these to be more about Jewish culture in NY in the generation prior to the great migration. And that is definitely a subtext, but there none of the ritualistic religious nature that one usually ascribes to the rich tradition of Jewish American literature Rather these stories seemed more tragic than the ebullience that one might expect of group that, at least for some, realized the American dream quicker than any other ethnic group that was involved in the greatest wave in American History. Nevertheless, the wealth and fame that some of these characters momentarily gained- and often lost, seems more of a burden and quite illusory. In this sense Schwartz's works reminded me much of Fitzgerald's "The Great Gatsby," and, to a lesser extent, "Tender is The Night," although not anywhere nearly as opulent or effete. But there is the downward mobility, partially as a result of the great depression, and the unrealistic notion that wealth is a constant, somewhat transcendent state. These stories are usually dark, and rife with alienated and/or broken characters (The Baumann's, Seymour, Rudyard Bell's circle). Perhaps it is the fate that often befalls the children of Type A, high achieving, families (here first generation immigrants- the religious tradition seems secondary), who often feel entitled and lack the drive of their parents, and either become wannabe's artists, and here, cynical intellectuals, in an age (and country?) that had no use for committed, free thinking, intellectuals; or these children of privilege become just lazy and marginally functional wastrels.

There is a lot of anger here, but for exactly what one is never entirely sure.
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