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Podhoretz

June 10, 1986

Commenting on the Gore Vidal-Norman Podhoretz episode, Stanton J. Price (Letters, June 3), says, "Podhoretz is a hack of no particular literary distinction . . . " Price betrays a pitiable lack of recent intellectual history.

Norman Podhoretz has been editor of Commentary magazine for more than 25 years. In that quarter-century he has made Commentary one of the country's ranking and influential journals of opinion. It is widely believed that a piece by Jeane Kirkpatrick in the magazine, which President Reagan read before his election in 1980, led to her appointment as ambassador to the United Nations.

From the start, Podhoretz was a prodigy, a favorite of Lionel Trilling and Mark Van Doren as an undergraduate at Columbia University, and no less of F.R. Leavis when he went to Cambridge in England.

And when (alas, all too rarely) Podhoretz turns to literature, he remains one of the most incisive critics in the language.

NORMAN KATKOV

Los Angeles

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