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Edward Dahlberg (1900-1977)

Was a writer born in Boston, Massachusetts. He was the illegitimate son of a woman barber and was sent to an orphanage in Cleveland, Ohio, as a boy, where he soon ran away. After studying at the University of California and Columbia University, he joined the expatriate community in Paris in the 1920s. He wrote pioneering proletarian novels in the 1930s (Bottom Dogs, 1929; From Flushing to Calvary, 1932), then faded from notice, reemerging in the 1960s as a prolific writer of bitter social and literary criticism, verse, and a highly regarded autobiography, Because I Was Flesh (1964). He taught at the University of Missouri, Kansas City (1964-77). We had this funny conversation upstairs, in the balcony [of Schrafft's].... I was really curious what his opinion of Kaddish was; I didn't really think he'd care for it too much, but I did think he'd like its sincerity. He did have one very specific criticism of it, which was that the mention of my mother's asshole was "inappropriate" or "obscene" and aesthetically unnecessary.... But the conversation was pleasant- it wasn't accusatory; it was concerned with just what was aesthetically interesting, what was aesthetically right, what was aesthetically lasting. The phrase I used was "what was appropriate for eternal letters". But I was a little freaked out by his disapproval of Kaddish. - From an interview with Ginsberg quoted in The Wages of Expectation by Charles Defanti.

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