No. 7

Alfred Kazin

Although he plays left, he never goes too far left. The great critic had the biggest heart in American literature: He didn't merely analyze prose (although he did that brilliantly) he loved it. Open to voices of widely varying origin and tone, Kazin throughout his life drew joy and sustenance from great writing, and managed to convey it to his readers. He was also a wonderful memoirist, particularly in his A Walker in the City and New York Jew.