William Phillips was born in New York and studied at City College and New Tork University. He was one of the founding editors of Partisan Review in 1934, and continues to edit the magazine from Boston today. He has served on the faculties of several universities, and is currently professor of English at Boston University. Among his books are A Sense of the Past, a collection of essays, and A Partisan View, a volume of memoirs. He divides his time between Boston and New Tork.

That the culture of New York has changed—as has that of the rest of the country, and, for that matter, Western Europe, too—can no longer be in question. The question is why and how. One is tempted to say for the worse, but one is restrained by the awareness that every period thinks civilization has declined. The past always has been thought to be better. However, how can this be reconciled with the widespread belief that the...


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