Here's Kellow's account of Kael's relationship with the youthful David Denby:
At this point Denby felt that he had been inducted into the literary boot camp of his dreams. Pauline might endlessly hector him and her other proteges about their thoughts and opinions, constantly pressing them to go further and deeper in their writing, to sort out and sharpen their ideas on the page. She could openly badger them about what she considered their middlebrow taste, but she was so witty and engaging that `those who didn't turn away in anger were convinced she was rough on them for their own good. At least, that was the promise.' She enjoyed playing the role of the tough fourth-grade teacher that so many writers crave: She held the young critics she took up to a dizzyingly high standard, going over their articles line by line--endlessly devoted, it seemed, to showing them how to improve their work. About one article of Denby's that was in progress, Pauline said `It's shit, honey . . . and if you don't make it better I'll stick pins in you.' Toward the end of Denby's time at Columbia, she suggested him for a film critic's post at The Atlantic Monthly, and he got the job.