Stanley Kauffman, film critic at The New Republic since 1958, died of pneumonia this morning in New York, the magazine announced. He was 97.
Over the course of his career, Kauffmann also served as a theater critic for New York’s PBS station and briefly as the New York Times’ theater critic in 1966. Before that, he was a book editor and publisher, during which time he published Fahrenheit 451 (an experience you can read about here), and acquired and helped shape Walter Percy’s 1962 book The Moviegoer. He was the author of seven novels and several collections of his criticism, and he even won an Emmy in the sixties for hosting a TV series about the arts.
In his famously erudite reviews, Kauffmann never subscribed to one specific school of critical theory. He wrote in Harper’s in 1965 that he viewed film as “a descendant of the theater and literature, certainly sui generis but not without ancestors or cousin, to be judged by its own unique standards which are yet analogous to those of other arts: a view that is pluralistic, aesthetic but not anti-science, contemporary but not unhistorical, and humanistic.” His final reviews were published in August.