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Daniel Aaron

Born: 1912 in Chicago, Illinois
Died: 2016 in Cambridge, MA

Pen Name: None

Connection to Illinois: Aaron was born in Chicago and spent his younger years there before his family moved to Hollywood. His father was a lawyer and had many connections in the industry. Orphaned at age 12, Aaron and his four siblings were shuffled back to Chicago, where an uncle became their guardian and saw to their education.

Biography: Daniel Aaron was an American writer and academic. He earned a BA from the University of Michigan, and a PhD from Harvard University. He was a professor at Harvard, Amherst, Yale and Barnard among other institutions. In 1979, he helped found the Library of America where he served as president to 1985 and board member and remained an emeritus board member. Aaron was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1973 and was a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 1977. In 2010, he was a National Humanities Medalist.


Primary Literary Genre(s): Non-Fiction

Primary Audience(s): Adult readers


Selected Titles

America in crisis :
ISBN: 0208010432 OCLC: 139385

Archon Books, Hamden, Conn. : 1971, ©1952.

American notes :
ISBN: 1555531954 OCLC: 29877811

Northeastern University Press, Boston : ©1994.

Over the decades, Daniel Aaron has made an extraordinary contribution to the study of American literature and culture. As social historian, critic, and literary journalist, Aaron has covered a diverse range of subjects in a flow of articles and review essays. This first collection of Aaron's influential writings focuses on American novels, poems, biographies, and auto biographies that are viewed largely as cultural artifacts. Many of the selections explore the relation of literature and history, a theme that runs through much of Aaron's work. An engaging introduction by Aaron as well as informative section headnotes offer personal reflections, explanations, asides, and reminiscences that enrich the readers understanding of the topics, the times, and the author. In Aaron's own words, the volume traces the saltatory course of a career largely spent thinking and talking about American things.

Cincinnati, Queen City of the West, 1819-1838 /
ISBN: 0814205704 OCLC: 25163837

Ohio State University Press, Columbus : ©1992.

Daniel Aaron, one of todays foremost scholars of American history and American studies, began his career in 1942 with this classic study of Cincinnati in frontier days. Aaron argues that the Queen City quickly became an important urban center that in many ways resembled eastern cities more than its own hinterlands, with a populace united by its desire for economic growth. Aaron traces Cincinnati's development as a mercantile and industrial center during a period of intense national political and social ferment. The city owed much of its success as an urban center to its strategic location on the Ohio River and easy access to fertile backcountry. Despite an early over-reliance on commerce and land speculation and neglect of manufacturing, by 1838 Cincinnati's basic industries had been established and the city had outstripped her Ohio River rivals. Aaron's account of Cincinnati during this tumultuous period details the ways in which Cincinnatians made the most of commerce and manufacturing, how they met their civic responsibilities, and how they survived floods, fires, and cholera. He goes on to discuss the social and cultural history of the city during this period, including the development of social hierarchies, the operations of the press, the rage for founding societies of all kinds, the response of citizens to national and international events, the commercial elite's management of radicals and nonconformists, the nature of popular entertainment and serious culture, the efforts of education, and the messages of religious institutions. For historians, particularly those interested in urban and social history, Daniel Aaron's view of Cincinnati offers a rare opportuniry to view antebellum American society in a microcosm, along with all of the institutions and attitudes that were prevalent in urban America during this important time.

Commonplace Book, 1934-2012 :
ISBN: 1940396123 OCLC: 921827001

Scrap book.
ISBN: 1940396050 OCLC: 881437817

Small Press Distribution, [Place of publication not identified] : 2014.

The Americanist /
ISBN: 0472115774 OCLC: 649114278

University of Michigan Press, Ann Arbor : ©2007.

I have read all of Daniel Aaron's books, and admired them, but in The Americanist I believe he has composed an intellectual and social memoir for which he will be remembered. His self-portrait is marked by personal tact and admirable restraint: he is and is not its subject. The Americanist is a vision of otherness: literary and academic friends and acquaintances, here and abroad. Eloquently phrased and free of nostalgia, it catches a lost world that yet engendered much of our own.--Harold Bloom The Americanist is the absorbing intellectual autobiography of Daniel Aaron, who is the leading proponent and practitioner of American Studies. Written with grace and wit, it skillfully blends Daniel Aaron's personal story with the history of the field he has done so much to create. This is a first-rate book by a first-rate scholar.--David Herbert Donald, Professor Emeritus, Harvard University The Americanist is author and critic Daniel Aaron's anthem to nearly a century of public and private life in America and abroad. Aaron, who is widely regarded as one of the founders of American Studies, graduated from the University of Michigan, received his Ph. D. from Harvard, and taught for over three decades each at Smith College and Harvard. Aaron writes with unsentimental nostalgia about his childhood in Los Angeles and Chicago and his later academic career, which took him around the globe, often in the role of America's accidental yet impartial critic. When Walt Whitman, whom Aaron frequently cites as a touchstone, wrote, I am large, I contain multitudes, he could have been describing Daniel Aaron-the consummate erudite and Renaissance individual whose allegiance to the truth always outweighs mere partisan loyalty. Not only should Aaron's book stand as a resplendent and summative work from one of the finest thinkers of the last hundred years, it also succeeds on its own as a first-rate piece of literature, on a par with the writings of any of its subjects. The Americanist is a veritable Who's Who of twentieth-century writers Aaron interviewed, interacted with, or otherwise encountered throughout his life: Ralph Ellison, Robert Frost, Lillian Hellman, Richard Hofstadter, Alfred Kazin, Sinclair Lewis, Malcolm Muggeridge, John Crowe Ransom, Upton Sinclair, Edmund Wilson, Leonard Woolf, and W.B. Yeats, to name only a few. Aaron's frank and personal observations of these literary lights make for lively reading. As well, scattered throughout The Americanist are illuminating portraits of American presidents living and passed-miniature masterworks of astute political observation that offer dazzlingly fresh approaches to well-trod subjects.

The unwritten war :
ISBN: 0299113906 OCLC: 15284282

University of Wisconsin Press, Madison, Wis. : 1987.

Writers on the left
ISBN: 0195199707 OCLC: Oxford ;

Oxford University Press, Oxford ; 1977.

With a new preface.