Books: Humboldt's Model

DELMORE SCHWARTZ: THE LIFE OF

AN AMERICAN POET by James Atlas

Farrar, Straus & Giroux;

418 pages; $15

When Saul Bellow wrote his roman a clef, Humboldt's Gift, even knowledgeable readers had trouble recalling the model for Von Humboldt Fleisher. The difficulty would not have occurred if Bellow's chief character had been based on Robert Lowell or John Berry man or Theodore Roethke. Yet, for these celebrated poets, Delmore Schwartz was once the front runner of their generation.

No young poet since has so dazzled his peers. When Schwartz's first book, In Dreams Begin Responsibilities,...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!