Irving Howe, 72, the social and literary critic, author and editor and a leading proponent of democratic socialism in the United States, died May 5 at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York. He had suffered a stroke at his Manhattan home during the night.

Mr. Howe's best-known book was "World of Our Fathers," a social history of the Jewish immigrant experience, beginning in Eastern Europe in the late 19th century and continuing through the assimilation of the immigrant children and grandchildren in 20th-century America. Critic Theodore Solotaroff wrote of the book that "the first generation tried to retain as much as possible, the second to forget, and the third to remember."

Published in 1976, the book became a best-seller and won the National Book Award in 1977.

As a literary critic, Mr. Howe published studies of William Faulkner, Thomas Hardy and Sherwood Anderson.

He wrote what he called a political essay on the life of the Russian revolutionary figure, Leon Trotsky, histories of the American Communist Party and American Socialism, and a study of the United Auto Workers Union, "The UAW and Walter Reuther."

He was the author of several collections of essays and another study, "Politics and the Novel."

From 1970 to 1986, he was distinguished professor of English at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. He also taught at Brandeis, Stanford and Princeton universities.

Mr. Howe was a co-founder and editor of Dissent, a left-wing journal of essays and opinion.

His most recent publication was "Selected Writings, 1950 to 1990," which was published in 1990. It was a collection of 34 essays, most of them literary, on figures including George Eliot, Emile Zola, Theodore Dreiser, Robert Frost and Edward Arlington Robinson. In his introduction to the collection, Michael Walser said that for Mr. Howe, "literary criticism can be a kind of meditation on how we live and how we think about how we live."

Mr. Howe was born in New York, the only child of Ukrainian Jewish immigrants. Yiddish was the language spoken at his home. He learned English on the street and in school.

He grew up in the Lower East Side and in the Bronx, and graduated from City College of New York.

In high school and in college, he was a member of various socialist organizations, in part because of the influence of a grandmother who had been active in socialist groups in Europe.

During World War II, he served in the Army, which stationed him in Alaska for 18 months.

In "A Margin of Hope: An Intellectual Autobiography," Mr. Howe wrote of that experience: "Enforced isolation and steady reading together brought about a slow intellectual change. . . . I lost the singleness of mind that had inspired the politics of my youth."

Discharged from the Army after the war, Mr. Howe began writing for Partisan Review Commentary and other left-wing political journals, but his brand of socialism had become less dogmatic and he emphasized a need for democracy.

In 1953 he was a co-founder of Dissent, which is said to be influential beyond its circulation of 10,000.

As editor of the magazine, Mr. Howe published articles highly critical of the New Left of the 1960s and 1970s, a movement he considered authoritarian, intolerant and violent.

It was his political involvement as a democratic socialist and a leader of the anti-Stalinist left that prepared him to be a literary critic, Mr. Howe said.

In "A Margin of Hope," he wrote that the socialist movement had taught him "to grasp the structure of an argument. . . to speak and think, and to value discipline of the mind."

He edited and prepared critical anthologies or editions of writings of Edith Wharton, George Orwell, Isaac Bashevis Singer and William O'Neill.

Survivors include his wife, Ilana, a son, Nicholas, and a daughter, Nina.

CORY BERMAN MOORE

Advocate for the Disabled

Cory Berman Moore, 61, a co-founder and director of The Parents Place of Maryland, a federally funded training and information center for parents of children with disabilities, died of cancer May 3 at her home in Bethesda.

Mrs. Moore was widely known as a speaker and activist in circles assisting children with disabilities. A cause to which she gave particular attention was the "mainstreaming" of disabled children in normal classroom situations.

From 1974 to 1990, she was an information and education coordinator for the Montgomery County chapter of the Association for Retarded Citizens (ARC). She then worked as a community organizer for the Maryland Coalition for Integrated Education. In 1991, she helped found The Parents Place, which is in Hanover, Md.

Mrs. Moore was born in New Haven, Conn. She graduated from Smith College. She was a public school teacher in California before moving to the Washington area in 1963.

She was the author of "A Reader's Guide for Parents of Children with Mental, Physical or Emotional Disabilities." In 1989, she received the outstanding professional of the year award from the Maryland state chapter of ARC, and in 1992, she received an award for her life work from The Association for Persons with Severe Handicaps (TASH).

Mrs. Moore was a founding director of the Maryland Coalition for Integrated Education and a member of the ARC and TASH.

Survivors include her husband, Ralph Moore of Chevy Chase; three children, Leslie Moore of Silver Spring, Laurie Moore of Santa Cruz, Calif., and Kenneth Moore of Bethesda; a sister, Theodora Hurwitz of Williamsburg, Conn.; and a brother, Stephen Berman of Branford, Conn.