Morris Dickstein, influential critic-historian, dead at 81

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NEW YORK (AP) — Morris Dickstein, an influential educator, critic and cultural historian who wrote often about the intersection between art and society, has died at age 81.

Dickstein, a professor emeritus at the CUNY Graduate Center, died Wednesday at his home in Manhattan. His daughter, Rachel Dickstein, told The Associated Press that he died of complications from Parkinson’s disease.

“He had the biggest mind. The biggest heart. And a soul as deep as Wordsworth, Keats, and all his beloved writers combined,” Rachel Dickstein wrote on Facebook.

Dickstein was a longtime New Yorker whose essays appeared in The New York Times, the Washington Post and the Chronicle of Higher Education, among other publications. His books included “Dancing in the Dark: A Cultural History of the Great Depression,” “Gates of Eden: American Culture in the Sixties” and the memoir “Why Not Say What Happened: A Sentimental Education,” in which he reflected upon his childhood on Manhattan’s Lower East Side and how he remained close to his roots even he has welcomed the radical changes unfolding during his adult life.

He was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle who also wrote about film for the Bennington Review and Partisan Review and served as an adviser for Joseph Dorman’s “Arguing the World,” a 1998 documentary about the public intellectuals Irving Howe, Irving Kristol, Nathan Glazer and Daniel Bell.

Besides his daughter, survivors include his wife, Lore; his sister Doris Feinberg, his son Jeremy Dickstein and four grandchildren.

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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