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Stanley Kauffmann (April 24, 1916 – October 9, 2013) was an American writer, editor, and critic of film and theater.


Career

Kauffmann started with ''
The New Republic ''The New Republic'' is an American magazine of commentary on politics, contemporary culture, and the arts. Founded in 1914 by several leaders of the progressive movement, it attempted to find a balance between a humanitarian progressivism and ...
'' in 1958 and contributed film criticism to that magazine for the next fifty-five years, publishing his last review in 2013. He had one brief break in his ''New Republic'' tenure, when he served as the drama critic for the ''
New York Times ''The New York Times'' is an American daily newspaper A newspaper is a periodical Periodical literature (also called a periodical publication or simply a periodical) is a category of Serial (publishing), serial published, publicatio ...
'' for eight months in 1966. He worked as an acquisitions editor at
Ballantine Books Ballantine Books is a major book publisher located in the United States, founded in 1952 by Ian Ballantine with his wife, Betty Ballantine. It was acquired by Random House in 1973, which in turn was acquired by Bertelsmann in 1998 and remains ...
in 1953, where he acquired the novel ''
Fahrenheit 451 ''Fahrenheit 451'' is a 1953 Utopian and dystopian fiction, dystopian novel by Americans, American writer Ray Bradbury. Often regarded as one of his best works, the novel presents a future American society where Book, books are outlawed and "f ...
'', by
Ray Bradbury Ray Douglas Bradbury (; August 22, 1920June 5, 2012) was an American author and screenwriter. One of the most celebrated 20th-century American writers, he worked in a variety of modes, including fantasy, science fiction, horror, mystery, and real ...

Ray Bradbury
. Several years later, while working as an editor at
Alfred A. Knopf
Alfred A. Knopf
in 1959 he discovered a manuscript by
Walker Percy Walker Percy, Order of Saint Benedict, Obl.S.B. (May 28, 1916 – May 10, 1990) was an American writer whose interests included philosophy and semiotics. Percy is noted for his philosophical novels set in and around New Orleans; his first nov ...

Walker Percy
, ''
The Moviegoer ''The Moviegoer'' is the debut novel by Walker Percy, first published in the United States by Alfred A. Knopf in 1961. It won the U.S. National Book Award.National Book Award The National Book Awards are a set of annual U.S. literary awards. At the final National Book Awards Ceremony every November, the National Book Foundation presents the National Book Awards and two lifetime achievement awards to authors. The Nat ...
in 1962. Kauffmann was a long-time advocate and enthusiast of foreign film, helping to introduce and popularize in America the works of directors such as
Ingmar Bergman Ernst Ingmar Bergman (14 July 1918 – 30 July 2007) was a Swedish film director, screenwriter, producer and playwright. Widely considered one of the most accomplished and influential filmmakers of all time, Bergman's highly regarded work ...
,
François Truffaut François Roland Truffaut ( , ; ; 6 February 1932 – 21 October 1984) was a French film director, screenwriter, producer, actor, and Film criticism, film critic. He is widely regarded as one of the founders of the French New Wave. In a career ...
,
Claude Chabrol Claude Henri Jean Chabrol (; 24 June 1930 – 12 September 2010) was a French film director and a member of the French New Wave (''nouvelle vague'') group of filmmakers who first came to prominence at the end of the 1950s. Like his colleagues and ...
, and
Yasujirō Ozu was a Japanese film director and screenwriter. He began his career during the era of silent films, and his last films were made in colour in the early 1960s. Ozu first made a number of short comedies, before turning to more serious themes in t ...
. He inspired and influenced younger film and cultural critics such as
Roger Ebert Roger Joseph Ebert (; June 18, 1942 – April 4, 2013) was an American Film criticism, film critic, film historian, journalist, screenwriter, and author. He was a film critic for the ''Chicago Sun-Times'' from 1967 until his death in 2013. In ...

Roger Ebert
and David Denby. Kauffmann was also a professor of English, Drama, and Film at
City University of New York The City University of New York (CUNY ) is the public In public relations Public relations (PR) is the practice of managing and disseminating information from an individual or an organization An organization, or organisation (E ...
(1973–76) and taught at the
Yale School of Drama The Yale School of Drama (also known as YSD) is a graduate professional school of Yale University located in New Haven, Connecticut New Haven is a coastal city in the U.S. state of Connecticut. It is located on New Haven Harbor on the northern ...
. Kauffmann was featured in the 2009 documentary '' For the Love of Movies: The Story of American Film Criticism'' where he was shown discussing the beginnings of film criticism in America, and noting the important contributions of poet
Vachel Lindsay Nicholas Vachel Lindsay (; November 10, 1879 – December 5, 1931) was an American poet A poet is a person who creates poetry. Poets may describe themselves as such or be described as such by others. A poet may simply be a writer of poetry, ...
, who grasped that "the arrival of film was an important moment in the history of human consciousness". Kauffmann is noted for his dissenting opinions on otherwise critically acclaimed films, having given negative reviews for ''
Star Wars ''Star Wars'' is an American epic film, epic space opera multimedia franchise created by George Lucas, which began with the Star Wars (film), eponymous 1977 film and quickly became a worldwide popular culture, pop-culture Cultural impact of S ...
'', ''
Raiders of the Lost Ark ''Raiders of the Lost Ark'' is a 1981 American Action film#Action-adventure, action-adventure film directed by Steven Spielberg and written by Lawrence Kasdan, based on a story by George Lucas and Philip Kaufman. It stars Harrison Ford, Karen ...
'', ''
The Godfather ''The Godfather'' is a 1972 American Epic film, epic crime film directed by Francis Ford Coppola, who co-wrote the screenplay with Mario Puzo, based on Puzo's best-selling 1969 The Godfather (novel), novel of the same name. The film stars Marl ...

The Godfather
'', ''
Pulp Fiction ''Pulp Fiction'' is a 1994 American black comedy Black comedy, also known as black humor, dark humor, dark comedy, morbid humor, or gallows humor, is a style of comedy Comedy (from the el, wikt:κωμῳδία, κωμῳδία, ''kōm ...
'', ''
Million Dollar Baby ''Million Dollar Baby'' is a 2004 American sports Sport pertains to any form of competitive Competition arises whenever two or more parties strive for a common goal A goal is an idea of the future or desired result that a perso ...
,'' ''
Gone with the WindGone with the Wind may refer to: * Gone with the Wind (novel), ''Gone with the Wind'' (novel), a 1936 novel by Margaret Mitchell * Gone with the Wind (film), ''Gone with the Wind'' (film), 1939 adaptation of the novel * Gone with the Wind (musical), ...
'', and '' 2001: A Space Odyssey'', films that were heavily praised by other notable critics.


Personal life

Kauffmann attended
DeWitt Clinton High School DeWitt Clinton High School is a public high school located since 1929 in the Bronx, New York, United States. Opened in 1897 in Lower Manhattan as an all-boys school, it maintained that status for nearly 100 years. In 1983 it became co-ed. From its ...
in the
Bronx The Bronx () is a Boroughs of New York City, borough of New York City, coextensive with Bronx County, in the U.S. state of New York (state), New York. It is south of Westchester County, New York, Westchester County; north and east of the New Yor ...

Bronx
and
New York University New York University (NYU) is a private Private or privates may refer to: Music * "In Private "In Private" was the third single in a row to be a charting success for United Kingdom, British singer Dusty Springfield, after an absence of ne ...
where he received a
Bachelor of Fine Arts A Bachelor of Fine Arts (B.F.A. or BFA) is a standard undergraduate Undergraduate education ieducationconducted after secondary education and prior to postgraduate education. It typically includes all postsecondary programs up to the level o ...
degree in 1935 and was an actor and stage manager with the
Washington Square Players The Washington Square Players was a Manhattan, New York City theatrical production company that existed from 1914 to 1918. It was founded in 1914. Its debut production in 1915 was a collection of one-act plays, some of which had been written fo ...
. Kauffmann married Laura Cohen in 1943, and they remained together until Cohen's death in 2012. They did not have children. Kauffmann died of
pneumonia Pneumonia is an inflammatory Inflammatory may refer to: * Inflammation, a biological response to harmful stimuli * The word ''inflammatory'' is also used to refer literally to fire and flammability, and figuratively in relation to comments t ...

pneumonia
at St. Luke's Hospital in
Manhattan Manhattan (), known regionally as ''The City'', is the most densely populated and geographically smallest of the five boroughs 5 is a number, numeral, and glyph. 5, five or number 5 may also refer to: * AD 5, the fifth year of the AD era ...

Manhattan
on October 9, 2013, aged 97.


Books on criticism

*''Regarding Film: Criticism and Comment''. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press (2001). *''Distinguishing Features: Film Criticism and Comment''. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press (1994). *''Field of View: Film Criticism and Comment''. New York: Performing Arts Journal Publications (1986). *''Theater Criticisms''. New York: Performing Arts Journal Publications (1986). *''Albums of Early Life''. New Haven: Ticknor & Fields (1980). *''Before My Eyes: Film Criticism and Comment''. New York: Harper & Row (1980). *''Persons of the Drama: Theater Criticism and Comment''. New York: Harper & Row (1976). *''Living Images: Film Comment and Criticism''. New York: Harper & Row (1975). *''American Film Criticism: From the Beginnings to "Citizen Kane"; Reviews of Significant Films at the Time They First Appeared'' ditor, with Bruce Henstell New York: Liveright (1972). *''Figures of Light: Film Criticism and Comment.'' New York: Harper & Row (1971). *''A World on Film: Criticism and Comment''. New York: Harper & Row (1966).


References


External links

*
Interview at Bright Lights Film Journal
February 2004
Review of Regarding Film at Pop MattersA Conversation with Stanley Kauffmann, ''Charlie Rose'' July 9, 1998
{{DEFAULTSORT:Kauffmann, Stanley 1916 births 2013 deaths
20th-century American male writers {{CatAutoTOC 20th-century male writers, American 20th-century American writers, Male American male writers ...
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21st-century American male writers 21st-century American non-fiction writers American film critics American film editors American magazine writers
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American theater critics City University of New York alumni City University of New York faculty DeWitt Clinton High School alumni Deaths from pneumonia in New York (state) Journalists from New York City National Book Award winners New York University alumni The New Republic people Writers from Manhattan Yale School of Drama faculty