A Life in Letters

The Jewish Public Library Archives is pleased to announce the addition of the Irving Massey Fonds to its collections.  Professor Massey was born in Montreal to Alexander Massey and Yiddish poet Ida Maze.  Massey received his PhD from Harvard University and has spent the majority of his academic career in the United States.

Most important amongst his materials is the abundance of correspondences with peers, colleagues, and other contemporaries.  Included in the fonds are letters from luminaries and leaders such as Oliver Sacks, Benoit Mandelbrot, Northrop Frye, I.A. Richards, Noam Chomsky, Allen Grossman, Leslie Fiedler, Lionel Trilling, Marie Syrkin, Alfred Kroeber, Miriam Waddington, and René Thom.  Letters from notable figures in the world of Yiddish arts, culture, and literature include Abraham Sutzkever, Bezalel Malchi, Melech Ravitch, and M.M. Shaffir.

Professor Massey is the author of numerous articles and several books, including, The Neural Imagination: Aesthetic and Neuroscientific Approaches to the Arts (2009), Identity and Community: Reflections on English, Yiddish, and French Literature in Canada (1994), and The Gaping Pig: Literature and Metamorphosis (1976).  He is Professor Emeritus of English and Comparative Literature at the State University of New York at Buffalo.

His collection is currently being processed for eventual listing on the CJHN (www.cjhn.ca).  Below is an initial list of correspondence from the fonds as well as images of correspondence from Northrop Frye and Mordecai Richler.


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