Clement Greenberg, born in 1909 to Lithuanian Jewish immigrants, was raised in New York City, Norfolk, Virginia, and Brooklyn.
As a child, Greenberg drew from nature with unusual accuracy, and as a teenager he joined the Art Students League, but by
the time he attended Syracuse University his interests had shifted to languages and literature, and upon graduation he set
out to become a writer. For nearly a decade Greenberg wrote poetry, short stories, and a novel (never finished) while also
reading extensively in English, German and French. To earn a living, he worked in his father's businesses, which gave him
opportunity to travel and live in various parts of the U.S. During this period he published two stories, one poem, and two
book-length translations. He was also briefly married, fathered a son, and divorced.