Front Cover
 Front Matter
 Table of Contents
 Back Cover

Title: Florida quarterly
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00086044/00001
 Material Information
Title: Florida quarterly
Abbreviated Title: Fla. q.
Physical Description: 6 v. : ill. ; 24 cm.
Language: English
Creator: University of Florida
Publisher: Board of Student Publications, University of Florida
Board of Student Publications, University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville
Publication Date: Summer 1967
Copyright Date: 1967
Frequency: 3 no. a year[1968-<72>]
four no. a year[ former 1967]
three times a year
Subject: Arts -- Periodicals   ( lcsh )
Genre: periodical   ( marcgt )
Dates or Sequential Designation: v. 1-v. 6, no. 4; summer 1967-July 1976.
General Note: "Official student-edited literary magazine of the University of Florida."
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00086044
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: oclc - 01647129
lccn - 74644627
issn - 0015-4253

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Page i
    Front Matter
        Page ii
    Table of Contents
        Page iii
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    Back Cover
        Page 160
Full Text

P Si r, j'

~-. ~i



~Sa~ j.r




Summer, 1967

Richard Mathews

Advisory Editors
Smith Kirkpatrick, F. H. Taylor, Butler Waugh

Fiction Editor
Poetry Editor
Art Editors

Articles Editor
Assistant Editor
Business Manager

James E. Campbell
Martin Curry
Judy Campbell
Becky Hollingsworth
Jon Rossman
Gary Stephen Corseri
Robert Boyd
Beverly Patterson

Editorial Assistants
Larry Apple, Richard Batteiger, Fran Fevrier, Phyllis Gallub,
Jane Harper, Scott McDonald, Fred McNeese, Pamela Menke,
Ransford C. Pyle, Bob Russo, Don Sachs, Edna Saffy, Clifford
Somers, Nick Tatro, Sage Viehe, Arlene Weinberg.
Cover design by Becky Hollingsworth

The Florida Quarterly is the official student-edited literary magazine of the Univer-
sity of Florida, publishing art work, reviews, drama, essays, poetry, and prose fiction.
It is issued quarterly in Gainesville. Florida. Subscriptions $3.50 a year. Copyright
1967 by Florida Quarterly. All rights reserved. Manuscripts may be addressed to the
Editor, 207 Anderson Hall, University of Florida, GainesviUe, Florida. Manuscripts
will not be returned unless accompanied by a stamped, self-addressed envelope.
Printed and bound by Storter Printing Company, Gainesville, Florida

Vol. 1

No. 1


Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings Fish Fry and Fireworks ................... 1
Barbara Kaiser Bring a Rose for Gentian ....................................... 34
Lawrence Dorr Curfew ................................ ............... ............... 95
James Leo Herlihy The Day of the Seventh Fire ........................... 109

Sharyn Ruth Henry Untitled .......................................................... 18
Thomas Merton With the World in My Bloodstream .................... 19
Peter Viereck The New Cultural Blues .................................... 30
Lawrence Hetrick Faint Changes .................................................. 33
James Worley Janitress ............................ .............. 44
Peter Meinke The Professor and the Librarian .......................... 65
Ray Bradbury Dusk in the Electric Cities ................. ........... .. 68
James Nolan Incantations: for the Blind Man .............................. 90
James E. Campbell Green Carriages ....-............. .................... 93
Fanny Ventadour Air Conditioned Motor Trip
Through the Everglades .................................. 100
Richard Mathews Cedar Key ................................................... 101
Biron Walker Thus Is My Lovely Laid ..................................... 104
Catherine Savage Little River Springs ........................................... 105
Crescent Beach ........................ ................... 106
Nan Hunt A Cherokee History .............................. .......................... 128
Fred Fevrier To Susan Who Breathes on the 8th Floor ............... 129
Frank Orin Sadler The Last Poet ................................................... 130
Gary Stephen Corseri Tarantella ........................... .. .................. 132
Joanne Childers On the Grounds of the Institute
for the Retarded .............. ......... ................... 133
Albert Howard Carter For the Spring Being ........................... 144

Don Sachs .......... .... .................................................. ii
K enneth Kerslake .................................................................. ................. 22
Robert C. Skelley ............ .. .................................................... ..... 66

Harry R. Warfel The Author's Neutrality in Realistic Fiction.... 23
T. Walter Herbert Literary Fictions and the Shape and
Meaning of Passion ................................. 45
Gary Libby Interview: Richard Powell ................... .............. 70
Jerry N. Uelsmann Post-Visualization ............... ................. 82
Cinema ........................................................... .............. 134
Reviews ..................................................................... 145
C contributors ........... ....................................................... ...... 157

of1I ofn p
e iz e

Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings



Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings had a particular fondness for
Quincy Dover among the characters she created, because this
big fat country woman had a sense of humor and a tolerance
and understanding of the male which she liked to think of as
her own. "Quincy Dover is me, of course," she once said, "if
I weighed nearly 300 pounds and had been born in the Florida
She knew that the stories she told in the voice of Quincy
Dover were among her best, and planned as early as the mid-
dle 1930's to write enough of them to fill a volume. She was
encouraged in this plan by the general acclaim the stories had
met, particularly by the response of literary friends. Robert
Frost thought so highly of "Benny and the Bird Dogs" as "a
man's kind of humor" that he used to corner people and read
it aloud to them. James Branch Cabell once wrote to Mrs.
Rawlings that he was head over heels in love with Quincy
Dover, and Maxwell Perkins, the great editor at Scribners,
prodded her gently for years to produce enough stories to
make up the volume she planned. She never carried out this
intention. WHEN THE WHIPPOORWILL (1940) contained
three Quincy Dover stories, but in addition to these Mrs. Raw-
lings wrote only two more. One was based upon the hunting
skill of Dessie Smith, the friend with whom she once made a
long boat trip down the St. John's River. This story she in-
tended to publish, but later had misgivings about it which
were seconded by Perkins, and she withdrew it as "unsuccess-
ful." The second story is the present "Fish Fry and Fire-
works," which was found among the papers bequeathed by
Mrs. Rawlings to the University of Florida in 1953.
There is no way of knowing how close this version is to
the form it would finally have had under her own hand, but a
study of the existing manuscripts suggests that this version
represents an advanced stage in the story's evolution. Cer-
tainly it compares favorably with the other Quincy Dover

Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings

stories. Quincy herself is fully present here, as is Uncle Ben-
ny Mathers, and the story has the same gusto, the same sharp
rendering of Florida cracker life and speech which are hall-
marks of Mrs. Rawlings' best-known work.
Gordon E. Bigelow
University of Florida

It ain't in me to fail a friend. Uncle Benny Mathers come
to me in his hour of need and I done more'n mortal woman
should ever be called on to do. But the next time Uncle Ben-
ny runs for constable of Oak Bluff, he can run by hisself.
If my own Will was to run for Governor, I'd run like a rabbit
in otherr direction. Well, that ain't too good a way to put it,
me being the size I be. Run like a elephant is more like it, I
hear tell the speed of a elephant astonished them few as has
seed it.
It ain't that I figure women-folks belong to do nothing but
keep the fire a-going in the kitchen range with rations hot in
it, and scratch around in the flower garden and mebbe get a
hour-two to set on the porch and rock and leave the world to
men. The world is looking over the shoulder of any woman
who stirs a stew or wipes her younguns' noses. The world
ain't a separate place at all. It's in ever' kitchen and garden
and front porch from Turkey Creek to Timbuctoo, and if ever'
woman rared back on her dew-claws and hollered, "Don't you
men go a-messing up my kitchen and my garden and my porch
no more," all them fellers studying on armies and navies and
oil leases and when to act polite and when to act biggety,
would go to the woods to hide like a batch of boys their
mammy had caught tracking mud on her clean floor.
Women don't pay enough attention. It ain't that. It's just
that I got to feeling smart, like I do, times, and drug a thing
into politics that had no business there. Trying to help Uncle
Benny Mathers. I like to kilt both of us. It cured me of
meddling without I'm certain the Lord's on my side, and if the
Lord was around when I was being so all-fired clever, it was
only to spare me to learn me a lesson. I've done learned it.
I aim to vote the best I know how, and when I've voted I aim
to go on home and punish myself with darning socks. And if
another political rally, with fish fry and fireworks, was to

Fish Fry and Fireworks

show up in my own back yard, I'd take to the out-house 'til
'twas over.
It was natural, Uncle Benny coming to me when he lost
his reputation. Me and him has been friends long as I can
remember. Many's the time I've talked the Old Hen, his
wife, into leaving him come home again, when he'd cut the
fool oncet too often. Uncle Benny has a high opinion of the
turn of my tongue. I reckon it flattered me. When a woman's
flattered, particular a big fat elephant one like me, has got
nothing else but her cooking to take for a compliment, they's
no telling how far she'll go to get into trouble. It begun with
the new state and county elections coming up, and Uncle Ben-
ny losing his good name when he got bird-shot in his back-
Now we always vote Uncle Benny Mathers to be constable
at Oak Bluff just as regular and automatic as rain in June.
He makes a good constable, and besides, if we didn't keep
him busy with the law, we're afeared the law'd keep busy
with him. His nature makes him prowl and ramble and cut
the fool and get hisself into hot water, and it's a fine thing
when a man can do such as that in the line of duty. This
year, looked like nothing on earth could keep Uncle Benny
from being throwed out as constable in the voting and him
innocent as a baby yellowhammer in the nest. 'Twas all a
matter of trying to stop the meanness of old man Crapson.
Old man Crapson is so mean that when a poor old colored
woman was dying on his rural free delivery mail route, he
wouldn't trust her old husband for the three cents to mail a
letter to their only son in Jacksonville, to come for the dying.
All the mailmen ahead of him would of paid the three cents
out of their own pockets if the son hadn't not of come to pay
them back. That's how mean old man Crapson be. And ary
time he can put his bill in otherr feller's business, he's happy
as a dead hog in the sunshine. When Uncle Benny crawled
him he was fixing to be just as mean. It was this-a-way.
Old man Crapson finishes his rural free delivery about two
o'clock, and has plenty of time to set and study meanness the
rest of the day. He makes out like he's religious, and whilst
he passes the collection plate in church, it gives him a fine
chance for nobody not to notice that he doesn't put nothing in

Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings

it hisself. He's done more damage in the Lord's name than
the devil could figure in a month of Sundays. He got to study-
ing how to get a good girl sent to the reformatory.
Now when I say a good girl, she had made her one little
slip, so to speak. She had give more than the law of man
allows to her childhood sweetheart afore he goed to the war.
If he'd of come home, they'd of been wed, and nobody the
worse for wear. He was kilt a far piece from home, and her
love was made public in the shape of a illegitimate young un.
She was heart-broke to lose her true-love, but she takened a
job waiting table at Lowden's Cafe and Short Orders, and
aimed to raise the child decent. Old man Crapson set out
secret to get her sent to the reformatory to protect Oak
Bluff's morals. The times Oak Bluff's morals has tottered and
fell, is not for me to mention.
Uncle Benny and me was standing on the post-office steps
waiting for the mail train and passing the time of day. Old
man Crapson came out from turning in his receipts on his
run. He looked like a cottonmouth moccasin has just swal-
lered a fish.
He says, "Well, nobody can't say I don't do the Lord's
work. I aim to clear sin outen all of Oak Bluff."
I says, "You'll sure need to live a long life, Mr. Crapson."
He says, "A lifetime ain't too long for it. I've done made
me a good start. I been writing to the Welfare Board, and
they've just wrote back, is it true this Morley gal has her a
young un and is working in a public place with lipstick on her
mouth and her skirts short, they'll sure put her in the re-
formatory and the young un in a orphanage."
Uncle Benny gazed at him. I was fixing to say my mind,
when Uncle Benny spoke.
"Brother Crapson," he said, "I'm fixing to give you the
beating of your ugly old life, a-persecuting of that poor girl
that only loved her soldier fancy. I'll give you a head start,
and then I aim to catch you and whop you."
Old man Crapson turned white as the belly of a dead fish.
He drawed a long breath and he lit out for home. Uncle
Benny give him ten yards' start and takened out after him.
I follered after, a-huffing and a-puffing, not to miss the fun.

Fish Fry and Fireworks

Now old man Crapson is near about my size and shape, and
Uncle Benny is a little-bitty man, lean and wiry, and the three
of us must of looked like a pair of feather beds with a flea in
the middle. Uncle Benny begun a-gaining. They rounded the
fence into Crapson's yard.
Crapson bellered like a bull.
"Sis! Sis! Sis! Save me!"
Sis is old lady Crapson. She ain't mean, like him. She's
a good woman, but what you might call hasty. She takened
one look outen the door and picked up her shotgun. She keeps
it handy, with a load of No. 10 bird-shot in it. She says
when she takes a impulse she don't like to waste time loading.
Old Crapson made the front steps and collapsed acrost them.
That give Uncle Benny his first view of Sis. She clicked back
the hammer on the gun. Uncle Benny called, "Wait a minute,
Mis' Crapson. Like as not you'll agree with me." Him and
me both seed there wasn't no minute to wait. Old lady Crap-
son lifted the gun and got the sights on him.
Now women is not as afeered of women as men is, but I
knowed Mis' Crapson was fixing to pull that trigger in about
seconds more. I heaved myself around in otherr direction
and begun getting away.
I yelled, "Run, Benny, run! She'll shoot your eyes out!"
If Uncle Benny had of stood his ground, she might just
possibly not never have shot. But he turned tail to run, and
Mis' Crapson couldn't no more of resisted than I can resist
another piece of syrup pie. She pulled the trigger and the
gun bammed and I could hear the shot hitting Uncle Benny
like big drops of rain hitting dry sand. He yelped like a run-
ning hound dog that has tripped over a tree stump. We met
at the post-office.
It was plain bad luck that the mail train was just in, and
half of Oak Bluff was there, coming out looking over their
catalogues and advertisements for fertilizer and fence-wire
and patent medicines. Uncle Benny was clutching at the back
of his breeches. If we'd of been alone, we could of covered
everything up, and nobody the wiser. It was too late. We
didn't have no time.
Joe Turnbuck said, "Why, Mr. Mathers, what-all has hap-
pened to you?"

Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings

Uncle Benny groaned and he busted right out with it.
"Old lady Crapson takened a pot shot after me. I'm ruin-
All the folks around the post-office fell into a hush.
Joe said, "Takened a pot shot after you? You mean you
was running away?"
I knowed then Uncle Benny was ruined, and the elections
coming up, and the ruin was ahead of him like the sting behind
him. I spoke up quick.
I said, "He'd of been a fool not to of run away. You all
know Mis' Crapson shoots first and re-loads second."
There was another hush, like the quiet before a big wind.
Then everybody around busted out laughing, and they laughed
'til they fell against one another. The preacher's wife was
leaning against one of the fishermen, the president of the
Ladies' Missionary Circle laid her head on the shoulder of the
half-witted snake hunter, Mr. Baskerville, and all the social
classes of Oak Bluff was mixed up together, laughing their
heads off. They finally quit and wiped their eyes and the
preacher's wife and the president of the Ladies' Missionary
Circle become haughty again.
Joe Turnbuck said, "I'd not never have thought it. Uncle
Benny Mathers, the fearless constable, shot by a woman from
the rear."
Ever'body had to laugh some more. Joe was feeling proud
of hisself.
"Reckon it's time we had a new constable," he said. "Meb-
be Mis' Crapson might take the job."
Folks kind of sobered up. Our elections is always hot and
heavy, but nobody hadn't never questioned Uncle Benny Ma-
thers before. Now they done so. Uncle Benny and me watch-
ed them drift away, studying.
We was left alone on the post-office steps.
I said, "Benny, I'd lay my soul against old man Crapson's
soul, that woman would of shot your eyes out if you'd faced
He said, "That's the way I figures. What's a-bothering me
right now, is the shot in my seat."
I said, "Well, come on to my Will's garage. He'll pick it
out for you."

Fish Fry and Fireworks

"It'll be like picking out a thousand hornet stings," he
When we laid Uncle Benny acrost my Will's tool bench
by the grease pit, his breeches looked like a sieve. It takened
Will four hours to pick the bird-shot outen Uncle Benny's
back-side. Will Dover is the kindest man in the world, but he
had him a time, keeping from laughing, too. What Uncle
Benny told the Old Hen when he had to sleep on his stummick,
I'd not know. He stayed a-bed a day-two and I didn't go
by. When he showed up in town again, the snow-ball had got
to rolling so's it seemed to me wouldd take all the fires of hell
to stop it. For everybody in Oak Bluff had done decided Uncle
Benny Mathers, after all these years, was a coward.
It was Joe Turnbuck who come out as candidate for con-
stable against Uncle Benny. I was to my Will's garage when
Joe walked in with a stack of posters under his arm. He was
humming to hisself.
He said, "Howdy, Will Dover. Howdy, Mis' Quincy. Reck-
on you got no objections do I set some pretty pictures around
your place."
Will takened a look at one of the posters.
He said, "Well, you ain't no uglier'n the rest of 'em. I'm
for Benny Mathers, but go ahead and put up your picture."
Joe set a poster in the office window and another over the
Coca-Cola machine and tacked another to the telephone pole.
They was pictures of him with his hand stuck inside his coat
like Napoleon. Underneath it read:

Vote for a Man that DON'T RUN!
I said, "Look here, Joe. That ain't fair. You know good
and well Uncle Benny has many a time walked into a jook
and takened a razor right outen the hand of a wild-drunk
colored boy. He walked between Big John and Long Massey
when they was fighting. He hauled off Mr. Simpson when he
was beating his wife. He's the bravest constable in four coun-
"He run from old lady Crapson," Joe said. "That's all I
need to put me in office," and he goed off whistling to put up

Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings

more posters.
Posters for candidates for the state and county offices
blossomed all over like the may-haw bush in April. School
commissioners, state legislature representatives, road com-
missioners, sheriffs, constables and dog-catchers, they was all
out to get elected. Good men, sorry men, old men and young
veterans, smart men and crazy men. And among all the pos-
ters they was nary one of Uncle Benny.
"Just no use me advertising," he said. "All I can do is de-
pend on my friends."
Then the county candidates got together and agreed to
have a big doings the day before elections. They settled on it
to have the biggest fish fry ever heard tell of. Following the
fish fry, when folks 'd be too full to move away, all the candi-
dates would make speeches. To make certain nobody slipped
off, the speeches was to be followed by a hour of fire-works.
The posters went up for that, too.

Everybody Welcome
Everything Free
Nothing was said about the speeches, but folks knowed
that was the price they'd be obliged to pay, listening. The
candidates was all so pleased with theirselves that each feller
figured his speech'd put him in office.
Time rocked on to the very day before the doings and the
elections. Ever' place I turned, Oak Bluff was saying, "Well,
it's sure a pity about Uncle Benny Mathers. He made a good
constable in his day."
Then Uncle Benny come to the house to see me. I ain't
never seed him so beat down. The Old Hen herself had never
romped on him to where he got so low, for she usually had
the right of it and he knowed it. What laid heavy on him now
was the injustice. I tried to cheer him up with a quarter of
sweet potato pie, but he only nibbled at it and give the rest to
his bird-dogs that come with him.
I said, "I got something mighty good for the gullet, made
from cane skimmings. I'd take a snort with you."
He shook his head.

Fish Fry and Fireworks

"It'd freeze my stummick and my heart," he said. "I got
a cold stone where my heart belongs to be. Don't reckon
I'll even go to the fish-fry."
I said, "It just ain't right, Benny. I been reminding folks
of all the brave things you've did as constable."
He brightened a mite.
"That's what I come to talk about. Now you got more
influence in Oak Bluff than the preacher. If it ain't asking
too much, how about you taking the evening and calling on
ever' family in town? If you was to explain to the ladies just
exactly how come me to run from old lady Crapson, seems
like they'd have sympathy and work on their men-folks. You
could do it, Quincy Dover. You got a tongue could turn sour
milk sweet."
"Or otherr way around," I said, and he did laugh. "I hate
to tell you, Benny, but them as I've already talked to, I ain't
no more converted than Lucifer converted Satan."
"But you're so smart, Quincy," he said, plaintive-like.
"You can think up somehow to save me." He stood up to go.
"You just study on it. I'm desperate."
I did feel mighty flattered. But I didn't see no hope, and
I said so. He takened his farewell, and I went in the house
and cut me another quarter of the sweet potato pie, for I
can't think good when I'm empty. And whilst I was finishing
it, I heard a car draw up to the gate. Somebody walked in
the house and called "Hey, Quincy Dover." It were my friend
Ross Allen, him as fools around with snakes and varmints.
I said, "Why, hey there, you old snake-loving son of a
possum. You alone?"
"No," he said, "I got a couple of Indians with me."
Now you know how folks joking say a thing like that,
meaning they got sort of rough friends along.
I said, "Bring 'em in. I still got half a sweet potato pie."
Ross goed to the door and called something peculiar, and
bless Katy, a couple of Indians got outen his snake-hunting
truck and come in. They was real Seminole Indians. They
had crocus sacks in their hands. I like to swoonded, for I'd
never seed a Indian that close to, before. Now I'd not know
how I looked to the Indians, but they was more scared than
me. They backed theirselves into a corner and was plumb

10 Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings

miserable. Ross laughed.
"They brought their snakes with them," he said. A thing
must of stirred in my mind right then. "I don't speak
Seminole very well, and I guess they thought you wanted to
buy a rattlesnake."
The thing in my mind turned over like mush a-boiling. I
felt faintified.
"You all set down," I said, "Indians and all. I'll bring out
the pie."
"No, thank you," Ross said. "We've got to be getting
back to Silver Springs. I was supposed to meet one of my
snake-hunters up the road, but he wasn't there. I was just
passing by and thought I'd say Hello."
The thing in my mind plopped like cane syrup when it's
ready to pour.
I said, "Come to think of it, I'd be mighty proud to buy a
rattlesnake. But I'd want the teeth drawed out."
Ross laughed and said, "Come to see me at the Springs.
I've got some new raccoons."
The thing in my mind come to full birth. I laid my hand
on his arm.
I said, "I ain't funning. I want a rattlesnake, with its
teeth drawed."
Ross stared at me.
He said, "Mrs. Dover, I couldn't let you have a rattler for
any reason. The teeth, as you call them, grow back in a very
short time."
I said, "I'll get the good of it before the teeth grows back.
I want you should sell me the biggest rattler you got."
"You have a reputation for playing jokes," Ross said, "but
I can't be a party to a joke that concerns a rattlesnake. If
you're planning to scare your husband, you'd better just re-
fuse to feed him."
And him and the Indians went off to Silver Springs, in
the snake truck. I set down on my front porch and rocked and
studied. For the idea that had come to me seemed the way
to save Uncle Benny. Uncle Benny had turned to me for help,
he'd claimed I was the smartest person in all of Oak Bluff,
and I'd figured out a thing, and Ross Allen had paid me no
mind. I rocked some more. Then I sat up straight. The

Fish Fry and Fireworks

half-witted snake-hunter Ross had missed at the cross-roads,
was passing by along my south fence line, with a crocus sack
in his hand.
"Blessed day," I said to myself, "I can yet do it."
I hollered.
"Mister Baskerville, what you got in your crocus sack?
Come here."
Now Mr. Baskerville hasn't been around Oak Bluff but
about a year, and we was all sure he was half-witted on ac-
count of he lived like a hermit in a little old hut in the ham-
mock, and catched snakes and varmints to make a living.
He never had nothing to say to nobody, and that made us
more certain, for if a man's civilized, he's obliged to talk and
mix with people. Leastwise, that's the way we all figured.
He come over to my porch.
"I have a rattlesnake in my crocus sack," he said politely,
"since you ask me. An extremely large rattlesnake."
I drawed a long breath.
"That's what I hoped," I said. "I aim to buy it."
He dropped the sack on the porch.
"The most interesting things happen in life," he said. "May
I inquire what possible use you might make of a rattlesnake?"
It seemed to me he was talking mighty fancy and high-
faluting, and while I'd take a turn-down from Ross Allen,
I'd not take it from a half-wit.
I said, "Mister Baskerville, I understand you sells snakes
for a living. I aim to buy me a nice fresh large live rattler,
and no questions asked. I'll pay above the going price, but I
want its teeth drawed."
"Well, now," he said.
"I got no pliers here," I said, "but my Will, Mr. Dover at
the garage, has pliers, if so be you has none, and tomorrow
early of the morning, kindly fetch me that there large rattle-
snake with its teeth drawed. What price do you put on a
"Mr. Allen," he said mild-like, "pays me three dollars for
one this size."
"I'll pay six," I said. "Without no teeth."
"Very well. I shall deliver the snake tomorrow. It will
have no teeth."

Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings

I felt so good I ate the rest of the sweet potato pie. I
hustled on over to Uncle Benny Mathers. He was setting on a
stump in the yard, and he was lower'n a doodle-bug.
I said, "Well, it'll seem mighty nice and natural when
you're elected constable again."
He said, "Don't torment me, Quincy."
"I ain't tormenting you. I got a plan. Leave me set down."
He give me the stump to set on and he squatted on his
heels in the sand and we puttened our heads together and I
told him what I'd figured out to save him. His eyes got
bigger'n and bigger and his face lit up and when I was done, he
slapped his leg and he beat me on the back.
"Quincy Dover," he said, "you ain't the smartest woman in
Oak Bluff. You're the smartest woman in the whole state of
Florida. I knowed you could save me if you put your mind
to it."
I did feel real pleased with myself.
'Tis a right nice little idee, ain't it?" I said.
"Only thing I begrudge, is I wasn't the one to think it up."
His face kind of wrinkled. "Quincy, you sure that half-witted
Baskerville understood you good? You certain that rattle-
snake's teeth'll be drawed?"
"He understood," I said. "Last thing he said was 'It'll
have no teeth.' In fact, I don't know's the man is half-witted.
I hadn't never talked to him before, nobody hasn't, but bless
Katy if he didn't talk like a professor."
"I hear tell they're most of 'em crazy," he said, "but they
do understand good."
I couldn't hardly sleep all night. I kept tossing and turn-
ing. I longed to wake up my Will and tell him how I was
fixing to save Uncle Benny. But my Will, times, don't see
things the way Benny and me does, and I was afeered he'd
try to talk me out of it. Day broke bright and fair for the
fish-fry. Will went to the garage early, for he looked for a
big day in trade. I'd promised a basket of syrup pies, and I
set to work and made them extra sweet and rich. I was just
taking the last batch outen the oven when Mr. Baskerville
come to the back door with his crocus sack. It kind of moved
when he set it down.
"See you got my snake," I said real loud. I don't know

Fish Fry and Fireworks

why 'tis you want to holler at the feeble-minded.
"I am not deaf, Mrs. Dover," he said.
"Proud to know it," I said. "Reckon you heard me good,
then, when I told you to draw its teeth. You guarantee it's
got no teeth to it?"
"The rattler has no teeth," he said.
"That's fine."
"Now I got a basket here I'd crave to have you ease the
snake into it. I don't want it a-rattling, neither. Reckon you'd
best cut off the rattles?"
"There will not be space for the snake to rattle, I assure
you. But the basket will make a fine conveyance. A rattle-
snake is a most delicate creature, you know," and whilst I
turned my head, he slipped the snake in my covered wicker
I looked at him sharp. "You and me had ought to have a
talk some day. You sound kind of educated to me."
"Education is such a relative matter, Mrs. Dover, I am an
ignorant man."
"Well, you just stay ignorant enough not to open your
mouth about all this. Understand?"
"I understand."
I paid him his six dollars and he bowed as polite as any-
body and goed on off.
"Poor old feller," I thought, "I had ought to of give him a
syrup pie."
Now I won't say I didn't have the all-overs, toting that
rattlesnake to the doings. Mis' Poppers carried me in her
Ford. I set in the back seat with my basket of pies on one
side of me and the basket of snake on otherr side. I sweat
free and edged so lost to the pies I mashed part of one of
them. When we got to Huckleberry Pond, the fires was going
for to fry the fish in the Dutch ovens, and the long tables was
set up, and all the ladies was laying out their victuals. There
was boiled ham and baked ham, pork roasts and fried chicken,
potato salad and deviled eggs, biscuits and corn-pone and
cakes and cookies, and I must say, I didn't have to hang my
head for my syrup pies.
Mis' Poppers said, "You want I should help empty that
other basket, Mis' Dover?"

Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings

I trembled like a dish of jelly, but I said, cool-like, "This
ain't rations."
I was obliged to holt to that basket for dear life. I ain't
never so dis-enjoyed a doings in all my days. The beer flowed
free, and I do purely love a bottle of cold beer on a hot after-
noon, but I didn't dast have one. The candidates circulated
and made jokes and told lies about how handsome the young
uns was, folks got hungrier and hungrier, and the ladies begun
frying the fish. I usually help with the frying, and I'm counted
on to make the hush-puppies, but I begged off. I was double
anxious, what with the snake in the basket, and not having
seed Uncle Benny yet. The dinner bell was rung, and ever'-
body come running from all over the grounds, and fell to.
I couldn't swaller a mouthful. When I can't eat, you may
know I'm fretted. I could smell that rattlesnake, and seemed
to me everybody else was obliged to smell him, too.
Like the candidates figured, folks was so full they just
dropped on the ground to listen to the speeches. They was a
big wooden platform built, about three foot off the ground,
where the candidates was sitting in funeral chairs. I eased
over the back of it, behind the setting candidates. I rested my
basket in front of me on the platform. The speeches begun.
Them as was running for the county offices talked first. Folks
nodded and drowsed. Then the Oak Bluff local candidates be-
gun a-talking. I looked around nervous, and I seed Uncle
Benny, just slipping in to set down at one end of the front
row of speakers. He nodded, and I tapped one finger on the
top of my basket. I felt easier, and I drawed a breath and
looked around. Bless Katy, it was a crowd. The whole county
was there. And then I noticed, leaning right over the front
of the platform, that poor half-witted Mr. Baskerville. He
was looking around, too, and seemed like he tried to catch
my eye, but I acted like I'd never seed him in all my life
before. I was still afeered he'd say something, like crazy
people does. And then Joe Turnbuck got up from his seat to
urge hisself for constable of Oak Bluff.
"You good people," he said, pompous-like, "is going to have
to listen to a awful lot of reasons for voting for this man or
othere. You all have seed my posters. I say this one thing:
vote for a man that don't run!"

Fish Fry and Fireworks

They was cheers and stompings and laughing. Uncle Ben-
ny eased hisself out of his seat real slow and walked to the
front of the platform. They was a silence, for folks had loved
and admired him so long, they didn't feel like cold-out sham-
ing him now he was ruined.
"My friends-" he said.
That was the signal we'd done agreed on. I was quivering
like a mess of frog-eggs. I opened the lid of my wicker bas-
ket, and I tilted the basket, and that big old five-foot rattle-
snake slithered out. What with one thing and another, my
heart fair stood still. We hadn't figured on which way the
rattler'd move. He laid there a minute, then slow, slow, he
begun crawling towards the front of the platform. He crawl-
ed right past the legs of the candidates. He crawled to the
middle of the platform. He crawled right to the feet of Uncle
Benny Mathers. One of the candidates seed him then, and
he let out a sound like a cat being strangled.
Uncle Benny looked down and around. There was the rat-
tlesnake in front of him, crawling toward the edge of the
platform. The other candidates seed it, and the sounds they
made was like one of them jitter-bug orchestras. And Uncle
Benny swooped down, and he picked up that rattlesnake back
of its head, and he held it up high in the air.
"I got it!" he hollered. "I got it!"
The candidates was turning over their funeral chairs, get-
ting away, and Joe Turnbuck was the first to leap offen the
platform and head for the piney-woods. The voters was con-
fused, for only them in front had seed what was a-happening,
and them in front begun climbing over the ones behind.
"A rattler! A rattler on the platform! Benny Mathers has
got it!"
Uncle Benny held up his other hand like Joshua command-
ing the sun and the moon.
"Take it easy, folks! They's no more danger! I'm a-per-
tecting you all!"
Well, about that time, the fire-works begun to go off. One
of them politicians had dropped his cigar, and it had done
lighted a Roman candle, and the Roman candle had done set
off a flower-spray, and before you could say "Scat," all the

Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings

fire-works was a-blazing like the end of the world. The pin-
wheels joined with the rockets, and the rockets was lost
amongst the set pieces, and the last set piece I recall was the
attack on Fort Sumter. They was never such a display of
fire-works in the world, on account of them all going off at
All through it, Uncle Benny stood at the front of the plat-
form, holding the rattlesnake back of its head.
Folks begun to cheer. The fire-works was mighty excit-
ing, and the sight of Uncle Benny, to boot, standing there
waving a rattler, put them to where they was near about
crazy with pleasure.
"Hooray for Benny Mathers!" they yelled. "Hooray for
our good old fearless constable! Hooray! Hooray! Hooray!"
That was all fine, and just the way me and Uncle Benny
had figured wouldd work out, but there was Uncle Benny
still a-holding the rattlesnake. And then that poor old Mr.
Baskerville stepped forward, and he said, mild-like, "May I
have the snake?"
Uncle Benny leaned down to him and said, "Proud to let
you have it, I'm certain you can make good use of it."
Mr. Baskerville said, "Just drop the snake."
So Uncle Benny dropped it, and Mr. Baskerville laid a
forked stick acrost the back of its head, and picked it up.
And whilst Uncle Benny and me watched, and whilst the
crowds was cheering, and whilst the candidates was a-sneak-
ing back again, Mr. Baskerville kind of squeezed down on the
rattler's neck, and it opened its mouth, and bless Katy, there
was its wicked teeth a-shining in the evening sun.
I looked at Uncle Benny and he looked at me. I still say
he's a brave man. He turned the color of hardwood ashes,
but he kept his feet. I swoonded dead away.
When I come to, Uncle Benny was pouring a snort of 'shine
down my throat, and Fort Sumter was dying away in the
sunset. Six candidates finally got me lifted up. I got my wits
I said, "Ain't speeches bad enough, without a rattlesnake
on the platform, too? Somebody carry me home."
Uncle Benny said, "I'll carry you, Quincy."
Having near about kilt him, seemed to me I'd ought to do

Fish Fry and Fireworks

the right thing now.
"Oh no," I said. "You never got to finish your speech.
You got your duty."
"The doings is done," he said. "Folks is full of fish and
speeches and the fire-works is over and that rattler has made
'em oneasy. A candidate for president couldn't hold atten-
I tottered to his old Ford and sunk into the front seat
beside him. Uncle Benny cranked her up and we set off for
home. He took a back road to get away from the traffic. He
never reproached me nor said a word. In the middle of that
back road we seed old Baskerville, moseying along with his
crocus sack with the rattlesnake into it. Uncle Benny was of
the same mind as me, for he stopped the car. I spoke.
"Mr. Baskerville, you mought not deem a rattlesnake dan-
gerous, but you yet got to reckon with me. You guaranteed
that snake would not have no teeth. It had teeth."
"Mrs. Dover," he said, "I still insist the reptile had and
has, no teeth. A rattlesnake has fangs. I deplore any ignor-
ant inaccuracy, and felt obliged to make my point. Just as,
I gather, you made yours."
I stared.
"You'd of kilt mebbe half a dozen human beings to make a
"Oh, no. Do not forget that I stood close to the platform
all the time, ready to take charge if Mr. Mathers had not
proved so brave and capable. I followed you all afternoon, to
take precautions in the event that your plan went astray."
I stared again.
"How come you to figure I had me a plan?"
"It was obvious. I did believe that your scheme was
merely to frighten Mr. Mathers' political opponent. The de-
nouement surprised me."
Uncle Benny said, "Get in the car, and I'll carry you home.
Long as you got that snake to where it's safe."
I said, "Mr. Baskerville, I'd be proud did you tell us how
come you got the reputation of being half-witted? You're a
smart feller."
"Mrs. Dover, that is the first intelligent question asked me
since I came to reside in Oak Bluff. I am a herpetologist, a

Sharon Ruth Henry

student of reptiles, and I am writing a monograph on the
Florida varieties. My means are modest, and when once I
have established the data on a particular reptile, I sell that
reptile to Mr. Allen."
I said, "Do, Jesus."
Mr. Baskerville said, "But I must congratulate you on the
idea of having Mr. Mathers retrieve the rattler. That, Mrs.
Dover, was a stroke of genius."
"Genius or no," I said, "I am through with politics all the
rest of my born days."
"Halt the automobile just a moment," said Mr. Basker-
ville. "I notice in the bushes a specimen related to the coral
snake, but surely a distant cousin."

Sharon Ruth Henry

A cedar
like a woman
her gnarled knees
side by side
one hand out
the other
shades her eyes
as she gazes over
the grey sunlit water
her green hair
in the wind.

Thomas Merton



I lie on my hospital bed
Water runs inside the walls
And the musical machinery
All around overhead
Plays upon my metal system
My invented back bone
Lends to the universal tone
A flat impersonal song
All the planes in my mind
Sing to my worried blood
To my jet streams
I swim in the world's genius
The spring's plasm
I wonder who the hell I am.

The world's machinery
Expands in the walls
Of the hot musical building
Made in maybe twenty-four
And my lost childhood remains
One of the city's living cells
Thanks to this city
I am still living
But whose life lies here
And whose invented music sings?

All the freights in the night
Swing my dark technical bed
All around overhead
And wake the questions in my blood
My jet streams fly far above
But my low gash is no good

Thomas Merton

Here below earth and bone
Bleeding in a numbered bed
Though all my veins run
With Christ and with the stars' plasm.

Ancestors and Indians
Zen Masters and Saints
Parade in the incredible hotel
And dark-eyed Negro mercy bends
The uncertain fibres of the will
Toward recovery and home.
What recovery and what Home?
I have no more sweet home
I doubt the bed here and the road there
And WKLO I most abhor
My head is rotten with the town's song.

Here below stars and light
And the Chicago plane
Slides up the rainy straits of night
While in my maze I walk and sweat
Wandering in the low bone system
Or searching the impossible ceiling
For the question and the meaning
Til the machine rolls in again
I grow hungry for invented air
And for the technical community of men
For my lost Zen breathing
For the unmarried fancy
And the wild gift I made in those days
For all the compromising answers
All the gambles and blue rhythms
Of individual despair.

So the world's logic runs
Up and down the doubting walls
While the freights and the planes
Swing my sleep out the window
All around, overhead.

World in My Bloodstream

In doubt and technical heat
In oxygen and jet streams
In the world's enormous space
And in man's enormous want
Until the want itself is gone
Nameless bloodless and alone
The Cross comes and Eckhart's scandal
The Holy Supper and the precise wrong
And the accurate little spark
In emptiness in the jet stream
Only the spark can understand
All that burns flies upward
Where the rainy jets have gone
World's plasm and world's cell
I bleed myself awake and well
A sign of needs and possible homes
An invented back bone
A dull song of oxygen
A lost spark in Eckhart's Castle

Only the spark is now true
Dancing in the empty room
All around overhead
While the frail body of Christ
Sweats in a technical bed
I am Christ's lost cell
His childhood and desert age
His descent into hell.

Love without need and without name
Bleeds in the empty problem
And the spark without identity
Circles the empty ceiling.

Kenneth Kerslake






Harry R. Warfel



Deviation from normal behavior constitutes the distin-
guishing characteristic of fictional subject matter. Whether it
is King Lear's strange basis for the distribution to his daugh-
ters of his domain, or Gulliver's visiting strange lands, or Rip
Van Winkle's laziness and long sleep, or Henry Fleming's
running from battle, or Flem Snopes' selling of spotted horses,
the basic ingredient of imaginative drama and narration is
conduct that in some way differs from expected action. An
author's philosophic attitude toward these deviations provides
the best basis for discriminating the classes of fiction called
Romanticism, Realism, and Naturalism. Because these terms
current literary criticism, this essay presents briefly a ration-
have been so variously used as to be virtually meaningless in
ale for giving them vitality and relevance.
Ever since 1852, when Charles Godfrey Leland wrote in
Sunshine in Thought that "Art is a reality; it is, or should be,
as real a thing, and one as necessary to human happiness, as
food or clothes," the debate on the acceptability of realism
has been conducted in a manner which has obscured the es-
sential differentiating quality in authors' philosophical color-
ation of their fiction. Leland set the pattern for the debate:
"So completely are we yet bemired in Romance and slimy
Sentimentalism that I confess I do not see my way out of
their swamps. . Let us wash away the old romantic film
from our eyes, and put on new garments, and leave to the
past its past . Young writer, he or she is best and bravest
among you who gives the freshest draughts of reality and of
Nature. It lies all around you in the foul smoke and smell
of the factory, . in the quiet, gentle family circle, ... in the
Subject matter became the focal point of discussion, as it
still is. Realism (verisimilitude) and Romanticism (fantasy)
were put into the critical arena as arch foes. The former

Harry R. Warfel

was armed with science, nature, and truth; the latter was pan-
oplied with beauty, morality, and illusion. Both contestants
claimed to have the support of God. Both claimed to widen
the bounds of human sympathy and to enrich the cultural level
of readers. Each side thumped the other roundly with emo-
tionally colored cudgel words. Realism was nasty, morbid,
petty, dull, obscene, filthy; Romanticism was silly, slushy,
false, wanton, aimless, poisonous, innutritious. Neither side
won more than an occasional moment of victory. Yet strange-
ly enough the Romanticists' point of view remains in the text-
books, and Realism still carries the stigma noted in Webster's
New International Dictionary (1934) : "preoccupation with
trivial, sordid, or offensive subjects."
Subject matter served as the earliest basis for classifying
literary types like the elegy and the pastoral, just as it was
used for setting apart the four great grammatical word
classes. Subject matter was the basis for defining Roman-
ticism long before Realism was invented. Vainly did an oc-
casional critic point out that "every work of fiction ever writ-
ten has been, to some extent at least, realistic." But, as with
George Pellew in 1888, in this context the wrong question was
asked: "The question becomes at once a question of the de-
gree of realism that is permissible." In view of the laws of
libel, sedition, and morality, the question is obviously a valid
one. The question is wrong, however, when the "degree of
realism" is the yardstick for discriminating Romanticism,
Realism, and Zolaesque or Dreiserian Naturalism. Indeed, a
notion is still abroad that, if literature be a freshly dug po-
tato, Romanticism is present if the potato is clean; Realism,
if there is a small amount of dirt; and Naturalism, if there
is excessive dirt or moral rottenness. Recent court decisions
have made clear that value judgments of this kind can often
seem foolish as well as untenable. Harry Levin admitted to
being in a critic's cul de sac when he wrote in 1951: "The
realism of the romanticists has its dialectical counterpart in
the romanticism of the realists, and it would be hard to say
under which category we should classify Les Miserables."
A glance at the fiction of the self-proclaimed realists, es-
pecially Howells and James, reveals tame, even dull, trivia of
thought or costume in comparison with the raw, soiled edges

Neutrality in Realistic Fiction

of life exposed by Defoe, Dickens, or Upton Sinclair, confes-
sed Romanticists. Lying behind The Scarlet Letter is an
event that caused some critics to berate Hawthorne for in-
troducing immorality into fiction. Dreiser's Sister Carrie,
which has similar material, is freer from ugliness in vocabu-
lary or thought than is John Bunyan's romantic Pilgrim's
Progress. On this topic Henry James, as usual, made the
proper comment: "It is of execution that we are talking-that
being the only point of a novel that is open to contention. This
is perhaps too often lost sight of, only to produce interminable
confusions and cross-purposes. We must grant the artist his
subject, his idea, his donnee: our criticism is applied only to
what he makes of it."
It is exactly what an author makes of his subject that is
of most significance. And what he makes of it is the result
of his philosophical outlook. In general there are three phil-
osophical points of view from which authors write nowadays,
and the three familiar terms can be used to discriminate their
From the dawn of literary culture until about 1840 all
writings were Romantic. All were presented in the light of,
and in terms of, the Perennial Philosophy, the belief in God as
creator and lawgiver, the source of all goodness, and the es-
tablisher of the tests of virtue. Whether in works of history,
biography, or fiction, all conduct was evaluated in terms of the
persons' adherence to the established code.
The Romantic writer is an idealist, a believer in moral
and/or social standards. It matters not what these standards
may be nor which virtues may be extolled; the types of ideal-
ism, being very numerous, belong to a discussion of philosophy
and not to fiction. The uniquely important fact is that a Ro-
mantic author normally sets forth his criteria for judgment in
the earliest sentences of his compositions. His hallmark is his
intervention in a story to enunciate an appropriate ideal and
then to measure out praise or blame to his characters by this
yardstick. Thus Sinclair Lewis in Babbitt pictures Zenith as
a city built for giants and at once says that in George F.
Babbitt "there was nothing of the giant." Throughout the
book, which has been called a great realistic novel, Babbitt
and nearly all things associated with him are assessed and

Harry R. Warfel

found inferior. If it be said that the book is a satire, it should
be noted that satire is impossible apart from a standard, and
that all satirists are romantics in their ridiculing of devia-
tions from a desirable code of conduct or thought. In The
Tragedy of Pudd'nhead Wilson Mark Twain, who probably
thought that he was writing Howells-like realism, romantically
pilloried the inhabitants of Dawson's Landing for their viola-
tion of the humane ideal.
The amount of verisimilitude in a fiction is no criterion of
its "realism" with respect to the author's philosophy. Hence
all local-color fiction is Romantic, and obviously O. Henry, for
all his details of low life in New York City and elsewhere, is
a Romantic who praises or blames his characters and society
for the extent to which they fulfill the requirements of ideal-
ism, whether the events relate to love or to the fair treat-
ment of employees in shops or factories.
Literary Naturalism is the antithesis of Romanticism.
Naturalistic authors do not merely deny the validity of tra-
ditional standards revealed in holy writ and/or created by a
society that bases its judgment upon these and associated
dogmas but, claiming to be scientific, see all men and women
as controlled by environmental and biological determinism.
Like the Romanticist, the Naturalist states his doctrine in his
first paragraphs: Dreiser did it in essay style, and Ernest
Hemingway let the pictures at the beginning of A Farewell to
Arms image his thoughts. The individual human being is not
responsible for his acts; therefore, he is held blameless when
his conduct violates the accepted code. Dreiser's Sister Car-
rie was suppressed, not because of its words or even the im-
morality of the characters, but because Dreiser excused Car-
rie, Drouet, and Hurstwood on grounds that flouted the vali-
dity of the laws of the state and the principles of religion.
Naturalism as a philosophy denies the existence of God and
conventional ethical principles. The individual is "a harp in
the wind," and "for him the laws and morals of the world are
unduly severe." Like Carrie Meeber, he is trapped in a rock-
ing chair that allows life to continue enough to have motion
but not ideal ethical direction or progress. In Stephen Crane's
The Red Badge of Courage Henry Fleming deludes himself
with thoughts of grandeur as a soldier and closes his short

Neutrality in Realistic Fiction

military career deluding himself as to his accomplishments.
What action is not forced upon him by his daydreaming ten-
dency, that is, his biology, the environment of the battlefield
requires. Similarly, the Swede in Crane's "The Blue Hotel"
carries his fixed ideas into a violent environment and brings
about his own death. The Oiler dies in "The Open Boat" and
the three other men survive as a result of their power to
endure or not in their conflict with the indifferent sea while
being transported in a small boat that determines their
The significant element in Naturalism is the author's as-
sertion that his characters act as they do, whether nobly or
ignobly, as a result of biological and environmental determin-
ism. It should be clear, although William Faulkner's charac-
ters often exculpate themselves because of their blood or so-
cial circumstances, that as author he defines their conduct and
judges them by the traditional standards of faith, honor, vir-
tue, patriotism, and so on. Faulkner is an idealist, a Roman-
tic in the Hawthorne tradition. The fact that much of his
material relates to immoral or antisocial conduct has nothing
to do with his "execution" or philosophy. Subject matter is
one thing, artistic style is another, and the author's philosophy
is a third and the chief differentiating feature that sets Faulk-
ner apart from Dreiser or Stephen Crane or Ernest
Realism stands midway between Romanticism and Natur-
alism. Realistic fiction presents its material without the au-
thor's commentary upon the characters' behavior. He neither
blames nor condones deviation from ideal or socially desirable
conduct. In a sense a Realistic author is a reporter, a collec-
tor of evidence, a neutral eyewitness. It is not so much that
he is indifferent to moral standards as that he prefers not to
be an interpreter or judge. His presentation is such that a
sensitive reader can make an evaluation in the light of any
standards he may wish to evoke. In effect the Realist says,
"This is the way the ball bounces, because life is like this.
Any judgment that I might make excludes many other judg-
ments. I am not an editorial writer but a gatherer and high-
lighter of facts. I am less concerned with the accidents of
life, the reporter's field, than with the principles of life that

Harry R. Warfel

can be read in adroitly constructed pictures. There being
many principles, I limit myself to vignettes and leave to the
reader all kinds of social, ethical, and religious judgments, just
as all artists normally leave the aesthetic evaluation of their
work to others. In this respect I am like a painter."
Howells and Henry James were masters of objective pre-
sentation. Neither author intruded into his mature fiction to
tell the reader what to think. Any statement about Silas
Lapham's rise in ethical stature comes from the reader and
not from Howells. Indeed, Howells was so scrupulous in this
matter that he has the Reverend Mr. Sewell, a man who by
profession should be able to cut a line between sin and virtue,
unable to decide whether there was wrong in Silas' conduct.
And of course Silas saw nothing wrong. Most important of
all, Howells did not. The quality of Howells' realism appears
at the beginning of Chapter IV in The Rise. He mentions
without reproof the wrongs and insults which the marriage
state endures. Again and again he presents observations of
this kind. He lets Sewell denounce sentimental fiction; the
author does not. Bartley Hubbard pokes fun at Silas; How-
ells does not. Persis berates Silas; Howells does not.
Henry James' "The Real Thing" has endured much misin-
terpretation because the author's objectivity has been misun-
derstood. The artist as narrator sets forth his standards and
then deviates from them by hiring Major and Mrs. Monarch
as models. The action turns not upon their insufficiency but
upon the artist's response to their conduct when, as the reader
knows they must be, they are discharged. The crucial inci-
dent occurs in the context of the serving of tea three times.
On the first occasion Miss Churm accused the artist of "having
wished to humiliate her." When Oronte comes and agrees to
be both a model and a servant, he brings the tea "with a
hundred eager confusions." Although the artist looks down
upon the Monarchs as "objects of charity" and as uncompre-
hending dolts for their failure to understand the novel Rut-
land Ramsay, sharing with Jack Hawley the opinion that
they were "a ridiculous pair," her serving tea to the Major
reveals "a kind of nobleness." After the Monarchs' dismissal,
she "stooped to the floor with a noble humility and picked up a
dirty rag that had dropped out of [the artist's] paint-box."

Neutrality in Realistic Fiction

The climax occurs when the Monarchs clear away the break-
fast dishes; the artist perceives "the latent eloquence of what
they were doing." They were socially and in temperament
the real thing even if they were not "the real thing" as mod-
els. He is content, even if his art suffered, to pay the price
for the memory. The reversal of the artist's opinion consti-
tutes the point of the story. James makes no comment upon
the artist's behavior in hiring or discharging the Monarchs;
James' sole concern is to show how the artist has responded
to a situation in which the artist, by his own standards, has
deviated from ideal aesthetic and ethical principles. What-
ever the story may say about realism, the narrative is not
primarily about that subject but about the artist's response to
the circumstances created by the Monarchs' presence in his
In Daisy Miller there is a similar objectivity. The major
character is Winterbourne, who learns that he has been in
Europe too long; he says so, and James does not. There are
no characters from low life in this novel. Its realism, as in
all novels in this class, arises from its objective presentation
by an author who sets no standard of conduct for his people.
Robert Frost's "Home Burial" and "The Death of the Hired
Man" are similarly realistic, even though most of the poet's
other writings are romantic. Any assertion that Realism con-
notes the presence of low characters or trivial, sordid, and
offensive subject matter is incorrect.
Arthur O. Lovejoy reached the conclusion that "The word
'romantic' has come to mean so many things that, by itself,
it means nothing." In seeking to define the term he asked
the wrong questions and consequently reached the wrong ans-
wer. Similarly the definers of Realism and Naturalism have
erred, because they failed to see that the differences in au-
thors' philosophic stances-not in their specific social prob-
lems or subject matters-provide the basis for making mean-
ingful use of the terms Romanticism, Realism, and Naturalism.
The Romantic is an idealist who judges his characters, the
Naturalist denies idealism and absolves his erring characters,
and the Realist is philosophically neutral.

Peter Viereck


I. The Culture-Hug Muse

We no longer starve culture; we SWITCH
And hug it to death; the new PITCH
Is to croon antiquarian love-that-librarian CULture-hug blues.
When Status Quo feels safe enough to ITCH
For scripts that let it laugh at its own TWITCH,
What's big bold "beat" bohemia but Babbitt's latest NICHE?
When "liberal" is but a stance and "Tory" but a pout
And "radical" a tease to get still more for selling out,
When suburbs shriek with tongue-in-chic,
When ads for fads ape art-technique,
They all croon the CULture-hug blues.
If she isn't culture-snooty, there's a cooty on your cutie;
It's the duty of a beauty to be arty at a party,
Smarty with CULtural ooze.
For Madison Avenue's guilt at its revenues, what is the medi-
cine? BLUES!
Not your mass-culture booze but our SENsitive muse,
Our anti-vulgarian, NEo-vulgarian, culture-hug blues.
If genius is an infinite capacity for faking PAINS,

Our Weltschmalz tears erase our huckster STAINS.
Art is an exorcism better than bell, book, and COUCH;
We're three blind Sensitive Plants, see how we wince, ouch,
ouch OUCH.
We've got to play with boors by day in order to stock our

*When performed to music at Harvard's Loeb theater in 1961, the stage
directions were as follows: The first "blues" song is by three Madison
Avenue executives in gray flannels; the second by the three Furies,
dressed as progressive clubwomen, tossing a plastic-bag globe. Only
one speaker at a time, but chorus at refrains. Each capitalizing of a
whole syllable is cue for exaggerated loudness and vowel-lingering;
all non-capitalized syllables of such a line get chanted in unaccented

New Cultural Blues

We put to flight that guilt at night by hugging culture
A cultural ouch does more than the couch to purge that guilty
From cash's clink aghast we shrink, to prove we can afFORD
With snoot held high we pass it by, because we've already
High sen-ti-ment plus six per cent need
never hug the SORdid:-
Except in office HOURS, except in office HOURS.
Culture is like a FOReign rug; we hate its looks but
need its hug
To prove we can afFORD it, to prove we can afFORD it.

We're crisp executives at dawn, pontes maudits at dusk,
But even a sensitive weed must feed its HUSK;
The culture we hug is a culture for dusk,
An afterthought culture, a rarefied musk,
And not for office HOURS.
That's why, no matter how soulful we wince,
Our culture-hug muse and your mass-culture muse
Are identical sisters under their skins:
Both whore with who can afFORD it.

II. The World-Lobotomy Muse

Now when dacha nouveau-riche and hot-cha profit itch
Merge brands,
When brain-wash sociology and sublim-ad psychology
Join hands,
When Pepsi-Cola toasts unite vulgarians of all LANDS'
And "peace" means the homogenizing global churn of kitsch,
You'll be FORCED to croon the global lobal blues.

'Dispatch of July 27, 1959: "Today two of the world's leading states-
men and rivals an American vice-president, a Russian dictator -
exchanged Pepsi-Cola toasts in Moscow, at an American kitchen-
exhibit dedicated to their common aim of industrial progress."

Peter Viereck

First they toasted, then they tiffed;
Yet through summit OR through rift
Here's a truth will never shift while any
bureaucrat comMANDS:
Human heads will get short shrift from RObot hands.
So strike up all Rotarian plus proletarian
Pan-barbarian BANDS.

Progress is a PLAStic bag;
Come stick in your head and what AILS you will sag,
Gasping the BLUE-in-the-face blues.
When our propaganda spasms turn your isms into wasms,
We'll bag the earth in a PLAStic globe and disconnect your
frontal lobe
With our gadget-pop Agitprop air-jet-hop think-no more blues.

In the oldfashioned day, to make citizens stay reliable pals
of big BROther
There were salt mine and whip, but now we just snip the gray
stuff that causes the BOther.
That snip is metaphorical, its blade a doctored word;
For the pen of the rhetorical is mightier than the sword;
And the blanker the grin, the blander within,
When a tranquillized planet must spin to the din
Of the world-lobotomy blues.
Let justice wobble sloppily in monolith monopoly;
Forget about Thermopylae; let liberty bleed properly;
Cringe happily, vox populi, and dream it saves your skin-
While your global-lobal muse, when she muses on NEWS,
Keeps keening these meaningless Mother Goose blues:
"Little boy Geiger, come blow your horn;
There's beep in the meadow, there's borsht in the corn.
Rockabye fallout, on top of the show;
When the wind blows you, the tuna will glow ;-

When the nerve BREAKS, Humpty Dumpty will fall;
Down will come baby, CULture and all."

2News item: "Japanese fishermen, down-wind of the American atomic
test, have been complaining that their tunas shine in the dark."

Lawrence Hetrick


No longer stumbling in dark to make
The morning fire, no longer hearing
My axe pound like seas in dreams,
I float toward warm, loosening light.

But you sleep past me in underwater
Dawn, ignorant of the little seasons
Rumoring in my flesh and temporal mind:
"They're like spring, like waves

In lakes or trees or silken fields."
Remarked. Forgot. Stupored
With clamoring rain and insects
And every numb or swirling thought,

I drift on the clouded skim of days
Festering in ditches and choked ponds,
I sicken with each faint change
Of green beneath the puddle's skin,

And will till the broad singing heat
Of the summer marsh becalms me in its
Windless pause. No stir. No smell
But heat on flesh and flat water.

As dawn widens, muttering, steaming
With growth, you frown and turn
In its tide. I touch the green vein
Pulsing in your neck like a chameleon,

And think of winter neglected, hardened
To one hill and round lake reflecting
The deep bell of fiery heaven, silent,
Beyond our widespread seasons.

Barbara Kaiser


YEARS. Her name was Gentian. Not for six years.
"Go somewhere. Why don't you go somewhere?" her mo-
ther would say, but her mother was old and cranky. And
she didn't want Gentian to go anywhere.
"When the factory closes next summer, take a week off
and go to see George up in the Catskills," her father would
say. But her father was old now, too, and didn't get around
as well as he used to. And he needed Gentian.
It had been over a year since George had come down from
New York. Or Bear Mountain, or some such place. Names
confused Gentian. They always had. But then she remem-
bered Mama bragging to Mrs. Dimson next door that George
had once redone the powder rooms of the best-known lodge in
Bear Mountain. AND that he had "lived in Brooklyn, but
spent the summer once 'in the Catskills'." But then, George
not coming home to see them any more often than he did was
no help to Mama's disposition. And so Gentian felt that she
simply could not go to Mama and get it all straightened out.
She could just go on doing the one thing that she knew
how to do to perfection. And that was to get up first at
seven o'clock, to put on Daddy's coffee on the way to the john.
On the way back, to put in Mama's two hard-boiled eggs.
Then to go back to her room and get dressed. Daddy and she
always had cereal together. And crushed bananas and some-
times raisins, too. Daddy had always liked raisins.
But Mama preferred to stay in bed till 11 o'clock. So she
liked her eggs hard-boiled. And she ate Melba toast when
they could get it at the store, because it came out of a box.
Then on her way back down the hall, Gentian would knock
on Daddy's door. By then it would be 7:27. (Gentian was
very good at figures and she always worked by odd numbers
when she could; particularly 7's and 3's). By 7:43, Daddy
would be out in the kitchen, shuffling around on his one leg,
dragging his poor arm behind his body, sort of like a trainer
walking up-hill. Only there weren't any hills in Gentian's

Bring a Rose for Gentian

kitchen (Mama didn't cook any more except when George
came home, and so it had suddenly become Gentian's kitchen)
and Papa could hardly make it to the sink from the stove and
back to the table again. At 7:48, the first piece of bread
went in the toaster. And at exactly twelve minutes after,
Gentian picked up a hat that looked like it was made of corn-
silk and light yellow daisy chains, and set it flat on her head,
waved goodbye to Papa who would, as she scooted by, try to
kiss her on the cheek, but somehow never got the timing right.
And the car with the three girls in the front seat, all with
cornsilk and light yellow daisy chains balanced precariously
on their heads, would begin its slow and somewhat painful
descent down the narrow hill.
Gentian Comstock always sat in the middle. They went
directly down the narrow hill, and finally the car would turn
out on the big boulevard, for its twenty minute ride to the
Arrow Shirt Factory. This would get the girls there in time
to take off their hats, fold up their gloves which they car-
ried but never wore and punch the time card. Oh yes,
and straighten their lipstick and powder their noses, just once
before lunch time. They would meet for lunch, then, straight-
en their lipstick and touch up their powder once more. They
would meet at fifteen minutes before five o'clock and come
home together. This happened five days a week. The factory
closed for two weeks every summer, except the bookkeeping
department, which closed down for one week. Gentian was in
the bookkeeping department.
It was on the 27th on the third Monday of June that
Gentian received the first of two letters from brother George.
George Edgerton Comstock. It was in truth a very short let-
ter. But she knew it was the only kind of letter that he knew
how to write. He had sent if off in a huge envelope; he had
written the words "SPECIAL" and "DELIVERY" in a vivid
purple ink. In very large carefully-printed letters. It was
addressed to:


Barbara Kaiser

The letter was written like a telegram.
It said: Will you come for the weekend STOP Robert and
Miffy say O.K. STOP. And from there it went on to explain
that George shared an apartment in Manhattan with someone
named Robert and Miffy. They liked the theatre. Otherwise,
George told Gentian, he simply could not have stood it there.
But Gentian did not know what he meant. The letter really
explained nothing to her. She did not know who Robert and
Miffy were. She was not sure when George wanted her to
The next morning she mentioned it to Daddy at breakfast.
She had already written a letter to George, but of course she
had hidden it away in a small recess in her pocketbook. Dad-
dy told her, "Good." Daddy said, "Don't tell Mama, though."
He meant, of course, not until Mama had received a letter
from George, too.
She decided that she would ask her boss Mr. Orful during
her lunch break. No, no, she would not. She, Gentian Com-
stock, would tell Mr. Orful. She would tell him that she was
going to see George. And she wondered HOW she would get
there. And she wondered WHAT she would wear. She sat
down and tore up the letter she had written to George and she
did not go to lunch but wrote another letter to George instead.
Not knowing if Miffy and Robert kept stamps in their apart-
ment, she enclosed a self-addressed stamped envelope. And
when she asked the girls to take a turn two blocks to the
left sooner then they usually did, and then one block to the
right, and stop at the post office, they didn't know what to
think. But she told them nothing.
The next day nothing very unusual happened, nor the next,
nor the next. Then Mama got her letter from George, and
when Gentian had waited what she believed to be the appro-
priate length of time, she told Mama about the letter that
George had sent her. But before she was really finished,
Mama interrupted her. "So, Go, Go. Your father will put in
my eggs in the morning. And on Sundays I don't eat break-
fast." But that was all she said.
And for a while, Gentian almost forgot about it. Then
she had gotten another letter from George. He wrote very
properly this time. He said, "The first day you are in New

Bring a Rose for Gentian

York, Miffy will take you shopping for a dress to wear in the
evening." Gentian wondered why. Because she had one very
nice party dress. And she thought George would have remem-
bered it.
Several days before she was ready to leave, Mama sud-
denly began to forego her hard-boiled eggs. Gentian could
hardly keep to her schedule, Mama was moving around in the
kitchen so. The day before she left, Mama put a huge box in
Gentian's arms. It was even bigger than Gentian's overnight
bag. It had all of George's favorite things in it. All the
things he had liked and eaten when he was sixteen and seven-
teen. Gentian's heart almost broke for Mama. She dutifully
packed the box and adjusted her things beside it. The girls
had agreed to drive her to the Greyhound Station even though
it was more than fifteen miles away.
They were delighted. And Gentian sat in the middle. The
only thing that was different was that there was a conspicu-
ously large box on the back seat beside a very cramped over-
night case. Gentian had borrowed the best overnight bag
that her friends had between them. She was proud of it. It
was plaid, and had red stitching around it. And in the middle
was a name tag and a brass plate, and she had slipped her
name, GENTIAN COMSTOCK, into the brass plate.
The girls were excited. They held her things her over-
sized box and her cramped case between them. They did
not seem to want to let go when the bus finally arrived, when
the man took Gentian's things, and told her "not to stand in
line yet, lady." And before they knew what had happened,
Gentian was gone.
Gentian knew how long it would take to get to New York.
The bus was seven minutes late. She had not stopped for
supper, because she was not sure that when she was through
with supper, she would find the right bus again. But she did
not tell George, because he would not have liked it. And
besides, she didn't want to cost him too much money. But
before she could say anything at all just the usual things
about Mama and Daddy and the factory George interrupted
her and told her how tired she was.
On the way back to the apartment, he told her that Robert
and Miffy were "out tonight." He also told her that they -

Barbara Kaiser

George and Gentian would have a toddy together. Then
she could sleep in his bed, and he would sleep on the cold,
hard sofa. Or maybe he would try the floor. He had not yet
They took a cab to First Avenue. When they reached the
apartment, George climbed up the steps first. When they
opened the door, they almost walked right into the bathroom.
"Gentian," George said sternly, "this way." And he took her
into a room that was illuminated by the lights from the river.
It was really quite beautiful. There was a red, overstuffed
sofa. It looked neither cold nor hard. There was a soft look-
ing darkstained dropleaf table with gold pom-poms on it. Of
course, they weren't real. Oh, YES, YES, they were. Gen-
tian was thrilled.
When George turned on the lights, nothing changed. It
was a warm, beautiful room. There were white folded doors
at one end. Gentian found out that was the kitchen because
George went behind the folded doors immediately. She heard
him say something but she would never repeat it. Then he
rushed out to the liquor cabinet. That was somewhere in the
Oh, this was a beautiful, beautiful room, she thought.
"Someone didn't fill the ice-tray," George said. "Here is some
creme de cocoa. You are supposed to drink that warm."
Gentian took it. The first swallow melted in her mouth,
her tongue, her throat, all at once. It was a delicious, quiet
sensation that she had never had before. She held out the
glass for more. But George smiled. "It's late," he said, "time
to turn in."
Gentian went obediently to her room. She came back only
once to the living room. Long enough to give George his box
from Pennsylvania. She wondered if he was not going to say
something. But she went over to the window and stood si-
lently in the soft river light. She counted the ships. She
could see the bridge. She thought she could see how far it
reached. She wanted to know very badly how many lights
were on the bridge. But all that George had said was, "Yes,
I like it, too." And she thought about that, but not for very
long, because she knew he was lying. But she also realized
that probably once he had meant it.

Bring a Rose for Gentian

For a long time that night, she sat on the end of her bed,
her legs underneath her, and her chin happily on her elbow,
and her elbow happily on one knee. And suddenly she knew
that no matter what would happen to her, ever, she would not
forget this window or that night out there with the myriad of
lights more lights than she could even count that black
night, soft as Pennsylvania coal.
Miffy was a pleasant sort, Gentian thought when they met
the next morning. A little wiry, and she talked a little fast,
but Gentian soon got to where she could understand her.
"Take her to DePINNA'S," Gentian heard George say to Miffy
out in the hall. "A hat, a dress, and a wig, if you can manage
it." And she heard them laugh a little. She knew, of course,
that they did not know she had heard them. And she remem-
bered looking out of the window the night before.
"Take the 34th Street cross-town bus." George gave last-
minute instructions to Miffy. Gentian remembered that Rich-
ard Dillingsworth back in Combey had always ordered his wife
around that way. She felt sorry for the woman that would
marry George. But then Miffy wasn't married to George. She
was married to Robert. Where was Robert? He was taking a
shower. Gentian found out when she went in to use the john,
and suddenly the water turned on behind the shower curtain.
But she remembered the night, and the window, and the
morning, and she did not think about Robert anymore.
Gentian counted the long blocks to Fifth Avenue. But
when she got home later and tried to tell about it, all that
she could recall was that DePINNA'S was on 54th Street,
well, the corner of. They rushed to the small B*O*T*I*Q*U*E
counter. Gentian never found out what that was, because
whatever they were looking for evidently wasn't there. Miffy
pushed her into a chair well, a bench, really in front of
a very large mirror. A woman from nowhere and everywhere
came up suddenly, and put a hat, yes, that was what the lady
said it was, upon her head. No, not right, said the lady.
Then another hat. They bought this hat. It was a black vel-
vet band, and a black soft cluster of three or was it four -
she would have to count them again feathers that swooped
down the side of her hair. They tickled her cheek, but by the
time they got down to 48th Street she didn't mind. She had

Barbara Kaiser

gotten used to it. And then Miffy had said she simply MUST
take off the hat. But she had not said it unkindly. At Lord
and Taylor's, they found the dress. It was black. Gentian had
never worn black before. It looked lovely on her, just lovely.
Miffy kept looking at Gentian out of the corner of her eye.
Finally she said "I will fix your hair for tonight." And
Gentian was very happy all the way back to First Avenue.
They walked the entire way. Gentian never found out why.
But then just after she returned, she and George took a cab
back to town. And George had been very demanding to the
cab driver. He refused to tell Gentian where they were going.
Then she discovered that they were going to see KISMET.
Gentian hadn't been to a movie in over six months and she
said so. When the cab driver looked around at her, George
simply muttered. Gentian wondered why Robert and Miffy
had stayed home.
When they got inside (and they were late) there were real
people on the stage. When everyone clapped, she was very
glad. George didn't clap. She wanted to know why. "Dor-
etta Morrow has ruined her voice doing this thing," was all
that he would say.
Afterwards, he took her into a place called Linday's for
cheesecake. "I don't want cheesecake; it makes me break
out," she said. "Everybody comes to Linday's for cheese-
cake," he said. But while he was saying it, he was looking
around, and he thought he saw somebody he knew . and so
he said, "Excuse me." When the waiter came, she ordered
chocolate ice cream. When she was almost through, George
came back, and said, "It wasn't who I thought it was."
And she remembered how handsome she thought Alfred
Drake was, and how SHE hadn't known that Miss Morrow had
lost her voice, and so she thought she sang very prettily. Yes,
she did. Then she remembered the hat, and the black gown,
and the soft beautiful river that she had never seen before.
When she got back to Combey, she knew that Mama would
want to know how George had looked. And how he had acted.
And Gentian knew she could not tell Mama the whole truth.
But that night changed everything.
First, they went to the STARLIGHT ROOF. Robert and
Miffy seemed really fond of each other and that made it fun.

Bring a Rose for Gentian

But there was some trouble about a Greek wedding being too
close to their table. George wanted to move. They decided
then to leave just before nine o'clock, and George had a fight
with the headwaiter. One of those beautiful civilized fights
where people's voices never go up and their expressions never
change. Gentian heard the headwaiter call George "Mr. Ed-
gerton-Comstock" several times, and she was very proud that
he knew his name. Then whatever it was was finally settled-
before the beginning of the floor show and George and
Robert took the girls down to the lobby, out into the street.
The only flower vendor that Gentian had ever seen in her
life walked by just then, and George Edgerton Comstock
reached over and bought her a most gigantic spray of roses.
It was the most beautiful thing he had ever done. And they
went to the Ambassador Hotel.
George reminded someone whom he later told Gentian
was the maitre d'hotel that he had reserved a table by the
dance floor. He was emphatic about that. And the maitre
d'hotel gave them a gold table with red velvet chairs. Deli-
cate little chairs that stood on spindly-winged legs made of
gold. Everything in the room was white and gold and then
the chairs were red. And Gentian's flowers were very, very
red, and she did not know of another time in her life when she
had felt like this.
She danced first with George. She had never danced with
anyone else. And George did dance supremely well. When
they sat down, he explained to her that there were two or-
chestras here and so there would be no break. And she saw
how the men stepped in one by one while the music was play-
ing and that indeed it did not stop. George said they would
have to order their drinks. He ordered for all of them. George
looked at Robert; Robert asked Gentian to dance. When they
sat down, Gentian decided that she would only dance with
George for the rest of the evening.
Then George took a small box, well, the size of a paper-
weight, perhaps, yes, that size, out of his pocket. But it was
flat and she had not noticed it in his pocket before. "Open
it," he said gently.
But she could not. She could only manage to open the
outer wrapping. The box, the white box, said in black print,

Barbara Kaiser

GUERLAIN. Then she struggled a little more with it. She
saw that George was getting embarrassed, he had always
been so impatient, but just then the box opened all the way,
and Genetian withdrew from it a lovely, lovely bottle, a
smooth, flat, oval bottle, with a square glass top. On the bot-
tle was written M-I-T-S-O-U-K-O. She spelled it out loud,
slowly saying it as she spelled it, letting it come off her tongue
reluctantly, the way she had said every new word that she
had ever learned. "Mitsouko," George corrected her. Miffy
returned to the table now. Robert came a minute later. "Op-
en it," they said. But again she did not know how. There
was a tiny gold cord around the square neck of the bottle.
"Open it," they said. And she tried with all her might. Robert
held out his hand. He asked the headwaiter for a penknife.
Gentian was afraid they were going to cause a scene. But
the headwaiter, without expression, responded, and Robert re-
turned the bottle to Gentian, handing the long slender neck of
the bottle to her separately. He stopped to brush it on Miffy's
hand. Then he handed it immediately to Gentian. "Put it
on," they said, again, almost in unison. George cut in, "Do
you like it?" But he did not have to ask for the familiar
red-throttled blotches of excitement had begun to appear on
Gentian's neck and above her breasts. And Gentian felt ter-
ribly, terribly, proud. She sat still for a long time. Robert
and Miffy got up to dance. They sat down, George got up and
left the table. When he came back, he asked Gentian if she
would like to dance. But she did not know what to do with
the bottle of perfume. She did not feel that she could put it
on the table. Her roses already covered much of the table.
"Put it on the chair," George said, for Robert and Miffy
were pushing themselves away from the table. They danced
for a long time. Only George said nothing. Once he told her
that MITSOUKO was his favorite fragrance. He added that
it quite became her. The red blotches of excitement and em-
barrassment started to go away. And she was only proud
now. Terribly proud.
Then after a long time, George said that he was tired of
dancing and turned to rush back to the table. George sudden-
ly looked flushed; he acted as if he did not want any more to
drink, but he said he did. He met the waiter on the way to

Bring a Rose for Gentian

the table and ordered another complete round. Gentian was
glad she was not drinking. It had cost just as much for her
not to, George had said, but she was glad she was not. George
rushed up behind her and pulled out her chair for her. And
that is how it happened. The long white cloth of the table
swept the bottle to the floor. A violent fragrance that had
once been so delicate and fine rose from the floor. People
heard the small tinkling of glass and turned. Gentian thought
that George looked as if he would cry, but he just stood there.
Gentian stood there as if it hadn't happened. Because for
her, at that moment, quite honestly, it hadn't. It couldn't,
and so it just didn't. She understood then only minutely the
flurry of waiters around her. The instant effort to conceal all,
the definite annoyance of the maitre d'hotel. For it was now
one o'clock and the room was filled with people. But she did
not know this.
The rest of the night passed in a strange silence. Well, it
was morning actually, but it was night, too, and they made a
little pocket of silence in a strange room of a thousand noises.
A thousand flutes, and a thousand violins. But they did not
dance anymore.

MORNING. She had heard George ask Robert to take her to
the terminal. She did not think that George was feeling very
well. And Miffy barely turned over when Genetian said good-
bye and promised to write her. When at last George appeared
with a blanket wrapped somewhat puzzlingly about him, ex-
posing only a small portion of his frame, and one side of his
head, she turned to kiss him. He reached up. She thought he
was going to straighten her hat. Then he said, "Goodbye,
Robert told the cab driver, "Port Authority, please." And
then he looked at her. "You know," he said, "if Miff and I
ever come through Combey, it would be nice to look you up."
She knew he didn't mean it. But it was nice of him to say it.
"I like your apartment," she said. And she thought of the
soft gold light coming in from the river, and the big red sofa,
and the window, and the night and the morning, and she
could not think of anything else.

James Worley

So that when they stopped and Robert asked her if she
needed any help or anything, she just smiled and walked away.
She had not seen the bus terminal in the daylight before. She
asked the man at the Garfield News Stand which way to go.
"Down the escalator . turn right, no turn left . and go
past the first section of lockers." She remembered the gray
lockers. "And then, Lady, ask the first driver that you see."
She got on a bus marked PITTSBURGH. She would have to
change once in Camden. But she wasn't afraid anymore.
It was somewhere after Camden that the full realization
of what had happened the night before came to her. And so
it was true, it was true she had spent a fabulous weekend
with George in New York.
Her mother heard the story all that she could make her
mother understand. The girls at the factory heard the story,
too. They had memorized it piece by piece as she had told it on
those perilous trips down the hill each morning. Cautiously
at first and then . .
But, of course, for Gentian, there would always be the red
rose forever safe in a box with a black-feathered hat.

James Worley


Her apron an anomaly, her bare
legs bludgeons stunning littered halls,
she brushes past the open officedoors,
purging flotsam from the marble seas.

T. Walter Herbert



An alternative title for what I have to say is "Art and the
Education of the Passionate Man." The word education as I
use it will have meaning for you, presently, if you have lis-
tened to a sonata or even "Eine Kleine Nachtmusik" by Moz-
art or a mazurka by Chopin or a Bach chorale and at the end
said joyfully to yourself "That's it. That's exactly right." Or
if you have no ear for music but have looked at Vermeer's
painting of "A Woman Counting Gold," and said "Just so" to
the sunlight and the serene, pregnant young woman inwardly
and outwardly contemplating her treasures and the future.
Or if you know nothing about painting but have perceived
beyond the surge and thunder of the Iliad the tenderly loving,
noble Hector at war to keep false Helen and foppish Paris in
each other's arms, and have then at least inwardly wept when
dark-hearted Achilles killed and mangled this magnificent
man. Or if you have listened to the superficial disagreement
between Romeo and Juliet over whether the bird song came
from the lark, the herald of the morn, or the nightingale, and
known that Juliet was telling a truth for both herself and you
when she abandoned sense and said to Romeo,

My bounty is as boundless as the sea,
My love as deep; the more I give to thee
The more I have, for both are infinite.

Recall again the title I am actually using-"Literary Fic-
tions and the Shape and Meaning of Passion"-and let me
phrase the assertion, the thesis, I set myself to defend. I
know you will not expect me to tell the whole truth about
either literature or passions, and what I ask you to consider
is not all new. But it is a little new.
This is my thesis: a literary fiction, like any other work of
art, may be regarded as a form or shape embodying a pas-

T. Walter Herbert

sion; it is the biography of a passion or a passionately formu-
lated cluster of interacting passions. The passion, so embod-
ied, is intelligible to the mind. By a reciprocal process one
who responds to the fiction perceives and approximately re-
creates for himself the shape conferred upon the passion. By
recreating the shape of the passion he may also recreate the
passion itself, but this re-created passion is not simply the
raw, blind, speechless thing Schopenhauer calls the will and
Freud calls the id. It is passion given a gesture, an object,
a character, a voice. It is passion which has, in effect, been to
school to the artist. It is an educated, a civilized passion. It
is a passion dancing in harmony with the rhythm of the ra-
tional mind. It is passion that has meaning. The person who
has responded thus to a fiction will forever thereafter have at
least this one way to phrase and give dynamic shape to his
own impulse, one way to understand his own passion when
stimulated by events in the actual world. He who has re-
sponded to many fictions will have many understandings,
many formulations of passion in his memory. He may meet
the chaotic circumstances of the actual world with passionate
versatility, for he may choose the shape of his responses and
may respond with confidence and joy. That, then, is my
A fiction itself, to be sure, may be contemplated as in-
tellectucally as any other phenomenon, and the intellectually
demonstrable things that enchant us students of literature
have an importance so great that in many eyes they justify
literature as a discipline in a university. They do justify it.
But a work of art is not only a worthy object of such kinds
of study. It is a way of enabling us to quit retreating from
passion. It is a way of encouraging us to be powerfully, pas-
sionately alive as well as rationally alert, critical, and logical.
Though a work of art can still engage our passions the
intellectual history of the past four hundred years witnesses
the progressive disengagement of the rational mind and the
passions. Shakespeare, early in the four hundred years, had
Bottom say "Reason and love keep little company together
now-a-days." Bottom was commenting on an oddity that pro-
vokes laughter: the exquisite Queen of Fairies declaring her
love for him, Bottom, a lout with the head of a jackass. Ten

Literary Fictions

years later Shakespeare made Othello speak of himself as
"One who loved not wisely but too well." Gentle Desdemona's
corpse was the price paid for that disengagement of love from
The exercise of the reason in Shakespeare's times had,
amongst others, two dominant emphases, different but not mu-
tually exclusive. The one mode found men noticing correspon-
dences and arriving at decisions, often moral decisions, on the
assumption that the changeable pattern of behavior is in ex-
cellent condition when it conforms closely to the unchange-
able. Thus men studied ways in which man's actions in so-
ciety could be found to resemble the harmony of part to whole
in the great astronomical universe and in the healthy living
human being-the hand working together with the mind, and
so on. This mode of reasoning has not been killed but modi-
fied in the world now dominated by the scientific mind. For
example, astronomers, nuclear physicists, chemists, geneti-
cists, psychologists, and students of social behavior construct
what they call models, having symptoms that correspond to
the static or dynamic symptoms of the phenomenon under
A second and growing emphasis in the reasoning of Shake-
speare's contemporaries was laid on arithmetic. This is a less
obviously moral mode. Men asked questions answerable with
numbers: how long, how many, how distant, how much, how
often, how fast, how large, what makes it equal, what is the
percentage, what is the relationship of two or more variable
quantities? This quantitative emphasis and its simplicities,
while making possible my wife's refrigerator, my marvellous
automobile, and our bright lights, have helped to deify the
rational mode among commonplace minds as well as in the
minds that command superlative attention in governments and
universities. It is hardly possible to attack quantitative
thinking without at the same time surrendering to it. If I
said the emphasis is too great, or disproportionately valued
you would recognize my allegiance to measurement. Even if
I used metaphors and condemned quantitative thinking as can-
cerously or gluttonously impairing intellectual health you
would translate both the new disease and the ancient sin into
numbers before you felt you knew what I meant. And you

T. Walter Herbert

would be right.
Our thinking, of course, still contains non-quantitative pat-
terns. We all remember when people understood a young man
who went away from the place he was brought up because he
was conscious that at home people who met him saw him as
the son or grandson or brother or nephew or cousin of people
they already knew, understood that he left because he wanted
to find out whether he could, as the saying went, make a name
of his own or, to change the figure, stand on his own feet.
People still understand non-quantitative evaluations. But we
quantitatively evaluate a job, an eye, an academic record, an
aptitude, the kinds of power we habitually think about, an
athlete's performance, the degree of guilt, and medical, poli-
tical, judicial, scientific, and business problems. A beauty
about quantification is that once we have reduced a problem
to numbers we can tell ourselves we have washed it clean of
moral adhesions, and we can turn the drudgery of thinking
over to a machine.
An official of Princeton University, of all places, recently
said, "Many wise and intelligent men on and off our campus
maintain that the most significant contribution to knowledge
since the invention of the printing press is the development of
the computer. Many feel that it may prove even more import-
ant." You will be quite right if you guess that I wish to be
numbered among these wise and intelligent men. So I will say
hail to the computer! This superb device, once information has
been properly fed in, will belch it forth in right answers to
questions with such speed as to make a genius-grade Florida
examination-taker look like a moron in slow motion. It will
play as good a game of checkers as Snuffy Smith. It will com-
pose a sonata good enough to satisfy anybody who doesn't love
music. It can sometimes catch itself in errors and without the
disabilities of bad conscience correct the errors. But above all
things a computer can compute. Let nobody doubt the value
of computations in the modern world.
Perhaps there was once a period describable as an age of
faith, B.C., I suppose-before computations. This is doubtful.
Saint Paul diligently recorded numbers. He treasured the
frequency with which he had been beaten and shipwrecked.
When he set out to celebrate great acts of faith he started

Literary Fictions

with Abraham, a man notable for calculating percentages,
both in dealings with God and in dealings with kings who
might notice what a pretty wife he had.
But we wise and intelligent men can now call computation
by its right name. Let us now praise famous computations.
By computations Copernicus relegated the earth to its incon-
sequential wag in the tail of the universe. By computations
Galileo, Kepler, and Newton showed that it is as hard to stop
as to set in motion a planet, an apple, if not a faculty lecturer.
By computations Kinsey carried out Mrs. Browning's promise,
"How do I love thee? Let me count the ways."
There was a time when "post hoc, ergo propter hoc" was
the name of a logical fallacy. But nowadays we are intellec-
tually reassured if we can observe that a thing happens twice,
thrice, or many times in patterned sequence, and we feel sci-
entifically secure in saying the mathematical equivalent of er-
go, of therefore. There was a time when a unique event was
a major bond, holding what was Christian civilization togeth-
er. But Bishop Pike is talking to thinkers in our generation
when he appeals to phenomena that can be quantitatively
expressed. To us intelligent, university educated people a
statement that contains "again and again and again" not only
for that reason merits looking at for predicting the "still
again" but appeals to our readiness to say, "I understand."
The modern devotion to numbers modifies evaluative
thinking. A professor recommending a student for a graduate
fellowship is commonly urged to state how many students of
what specific kind he has in mind when he ranks his candidate
in percentages. The need to make a numerical judgment so
that he will be understood by numerical thinkers compels
him to reach for resemblances that will enable him to set up
categories rather than give his attention to unique qualities.
I now rest my argument that modern intellectual life looks
strongly quantitative. Modern government, modern universi-
ties, modern churches, modern sports, modern natural science,
modern social science, modern judicial thought, modern war-
fare and diplomacy, modern styles of clothing, modern medi-
cine, modern philology, modern philosophy, and modern busi-
ness are even more heavily weighted with quantitative consid-
erations than similar matters in Shakespeare's day. These

T. Walter Herbert

things are components of what young people call the establish-
ment, and to this establishment I myself, they know, belong.
But as we are vividly aware, a strange phenomenon has
come about in my lifetime. As in all ages past young people
look at their elders, feel the coercion of authority, and try
their hand at rebellion. As before, many young people come
to the university, learn mathematics and philosophy, look at
their fathers, and say, "Stodgy, not really enlightened." The
strange phenomenon is the brilliant, articulate, college trained
youth who takes a look at the modern, quantitative, intellec-
tual establishment and says not that we are stupid but that
we aren't real. He resembles the romantic rebels-Blake,
young Wordsworth, Shelley, and Rousseau-but with some
discernible differences. He rebels against us not because we
have failed to come up with rationally defensible answers but
because we do have such answers. They are furious at us not
because we cannot predict what they will be ten years hence
but because we can and do, and persuasively. They look for-
ward towards fulfilling our predictions as one would look for-
ward towards an emasculation or that ultimate horror of the
contemporary world, a brainwashing-the obliteration of one's
uniqueness without obliterating one's capacity to exhale car-
bon dioxide.
One spokesman for these young people is the phrase-mak-
ing anti-intellectual. Marshall McLuhan's Understanding Me-
dia provides a battery of charming pretexts for closing one's
ears to reason in discourse. Like others of his stimulating
breed he takes the word most dear to a quantitative mind, the
word is, and mauls it into hash. As everybody now knows, he
says, "The medium is the message."
Last December I listened to a captivating paper read by a
far more erudite anti-intellectual, Norman 0. Brown. Brown's
paper was discussed first by a man who demonstrated with
precision and dispatch that intellectually Brown's paper was
nonsense. Then Leslie Fiedler discussed it. He acknowled-
ged Brown's habits of wavering definition, distortion of fact,
unbalanced pseudo-equations, and non-sequitur reasoning, then
praised it for being what he called a poem. Everybody had
had a good time with Brown, and everybody relished Fiedler's
happy compliment. But by the ancient definition of poem,

Literary Fictions

Fiedler was wrong.
McLuhan, Brown, and their ilk do not create fictions. They
are not poets. They appropriate the devices of comedy while
pretending to make non-fictional statements. They establish
a metaphor, that joyous instrument proclaiming family resem-
blances, and like no poet, proceed to treat it like a scientific
formula so describing actuality that from it reliable algebraic
and Euclidean deductions and corollaries can be drawn. They
are the enemy of both physicist and poet, the enemy of human
orderliness. Theirs is a humorless mode. Alexander Pope
had the right names for them and their doings.
Like the poor, the anti-intellectuals have always been with
us, but we are not on that account exempt from concern over
them, nor are we free to suppose that we are innocent of
responsibility for their existence, especially in universities.
When young people, whom our own tests and measurements
number among the mentally elite, by their actions assert that
passionate experience with no context except the context of
those lovable little animals goats and monkeys is the only real
experience; when they find glib abstractions worth terrible
risk; when they so repudiate traditional forms that they dis-
trust anybody over age 30; when they taunt us to give verbal
formulation to each component of this good life of ours, only
to beguile us into setting up targets for their scorn; when
these things happen, we know well who taught them their
strategies. We did.
I do not believe in applying the second law of thermody-
namics to 1967 society. I do not expect ever increasing an-
archy. Alas, if the truth be known, I deplore not the rebel-
liousness but the occasional bitter joylessness of young people
in their rebellion. I deplore not the passion but the passion's
brevity. I deplore not the wickedness so much as the new
godless puritanism intolerant of us old hypocritical sinners.
I deplore not the commitment to passionate assaults upon the
establishment but the readiness with which some by no
means all-of the shock troops commit themselves to stereo-
types, preferring slogans above friendship, giving their loyal-
ties to words rather than to those odious vermin, which we
old humanists dearly love, called people.
We teachers of the arts, explicitly we teachers of literary

T. Walter Herbert

fictions-epics, romances, dramas, novels, stories, lyrics, ele-
gies, satires-we who advocate the tragic understanding of
the human condition, are dedicated to teaching people to live
a more fearlessly passionate life, not a less passionate; a more
independent, committed, active, bold life, not tamed by edicts
from principalities of mechanized and regimented power; in
love with vitality, in love, to repeat, with people. There was a
time when ethical philosophers admonished hot-blooded men
to employ their reason to govern their passions. Forgive me,
my beloved Alexander Pope, if I go astray. I do not wish to
check, to restrain, to limit men and women's dear urgencies
and responsiveness. I don't trust that the reason, trained as
I have seen the reason trained-even at Harvard-will prob-
ably guide men to excellent behavior. As we do not educate
the reason for the purpose of reducing but for increasing in-
telligence, neither do we teachers of fictions try to educate
the passions for the purpose of reducing but for liberating
them, giving them meaning and power. We do it by inducing
students to go through fictional experiences of passions rich
with implications and association, rich with human contexts.
We take them through Beowulf, where they learn how it
feels to belong to the ancient comitatus, strengthened with
rituals, reinforced with loyalties, deserving men's commitment
even when one has apparently been abandoned and looks alone
into the face of death. We take them through Henry V,
where they learn that in shape and pattern the comitatus is
still alive; where sophisticated men would dearly love to es-
cape responsibilities for other men's souls, but cannot; where
through common cause, common danger, and common effort
men of disparate backgrounds become as strong a band of
brothers as in the monolithic society of Beowulf. We take
them through Pasternak's Dr. Zhivago-the novel better than
the movie-where they learn first a good man's intricate, mul-
tileveled, heartholding commitments in a highly patterned so-
ciety and then we let them suffer the disintegration of all these
dear ties as a civilization blows to bits, let them grieve over
the destruction of the good man, as all the definitions of his
character in society are one by one obliterated until he dies
lonely in a noisy crowd.
We undertake to let the makers of fiction stir young people

Literary Fictions

to passions like these and a thousand more. We love young
people, then. Except that we expect to be permitted to laugh
when ignorant youngsters like Hamlet announce that for us
over thirty the hey-day in the blood is tame, it's humble, and
waits upon the judgment. Do they think because our drivers'
insurance rates are lower, we are no longer rocked by pride,
rash anger, sloth, gluttony, greed, lust, ambition, and despair?
Do they suppose that the picture of the cautious, fact-gather-
ing part of young Hamlet learning about his hasty, rash, and
lecherous elders is a false picture?
Neither are we hostile to the scientists nor even to the
lackeys of digital computers, except that we expect to be per-
mitted to laugh when one of them-carried away by an idola-
trous commitment to his exciting piece of hardware-talks
about it as if he were a sentimental wet-nurse dreaming on
things to come. "It is reasonable, I suppose," says Marvin
Minsky, "to be skeptical about whether machines will ever be
intelligent." (You can tell that the good man is up to some-
thing, because computers already, once you plug them in, have
intelligence quotients exponentially far above the top human
computer in all history.) "It is unreasonable, however," Min-
sky continues, "to think machines could become nearly as in-
telligent as we are and then stop, or to suppose we will always
be able to compete with them in wit or wisdom. Whether or
not we could retain some sort of control of the machines, as-
suming that we would want to . At that point I stop
quoting. What people can do that a machine can't, is to want.
Another thing we have been able to do since the dawn of his-
tory is ascribe human attributes to non-human things: this is
the anthropomorphic fallacy, or animism-very primitive. I
am reminded of Bottom as Pyramus, conversing with a wall.
The computer has obviously not yet emancipated its keepers
from that superstition.
We teachers of the arts, explicitly we teachers of literary
fictions, are accustomed to having our mission in the univer-
sity slightly misconstrued. But like some other misunder-
stood men, we might be in greater danger if we were rightly
understood. We are reputed to advocate the life of reason,
like the philosophers. You know the great words about liber-
al learning: fundamental knowledge, disinterested search af-

T. Walter Herbert

ter truth, verifiable assertions, and most especially the dictum
of President Wilson of Princeton that the function of the uni-
versity is to train the intelligence, the intellect.
We cannot deny these phrases. Two great phrases we es-
pecially cherish: the examined life and (if we are allowed to
put equal emphasis on sweet, not in the sense of sugary but as
contrasted with sour or bitter or corrosive or stale) sweet
reasonableness. Granted also that we do undertake to foster
disinterested, toughminded, critically responsible procedures.
We do labor to develop the skills of orderly thought and order-
ly communication, clear, persuasive, and graceful. But this
is teaching which we ourselves do, and do directly. We have
another function.
Up to a point we as much as the scientists and philoso-
phers are indeed advocates of cool, dispassionate, efficient, er-
ror-correcting reason. But to us the rational intellect and
the computer look more like magnificent tools than like a
sovereign. Young people know that the computer can get to
work on demand and that the trained dispassionate intellect
thus resembles a fine machine. Machines unreluctantly serv-
ing other machines is very well for a factory, but some young
people find that the picture of a man similarly serving larger
machines is revolting. And they revolt.
If they revolt to McLuhan and Brown or to utterly undisci-
plined anarchy they do not revolt to the only alternatives. I
wish they would revolt to us. We teachers of fictions know
that an interesting human being is one in whom the intellect,
the physical body, the allegiance, the passions, and all the
rest are in distinctively individual proportions and mutual
relations, and that all the parts, intellect included, are subordi-
nate to the man. We are not even interested in the perfect man
or the perfect society. We are interested in interesting people,
especially those who are in process of achieving a valid reali-
zation of themselves in relationship to interesting parts of
their world. We have an intuition that serves us like a piece
of knowledge, namely that behavior is far more closely tied to
the passions than to the reason-inevitably and inescapably.
Plato thought that poets, the fiction makers, wanted to stir
people up against intellectually perfect prefabricated forms.
He was right. He wanted to get rid of poets. The makers of

Literary Fictions

fictions and we teachers of fictions look straight into the muz-
zle of Plato's gun. Our main business in the world is to clear
the way for the fiction writers themselves to teach.
We can say that the writer of a certain poem, a certain
fiction, was a cavalier, that his imaged rose has a history in
religious devotion, that his poem echoes the 90th Psalm and a
simile by Jesus and yet recapitulates a carpe diem theme
echoed from classical antiquity and destined to raise a furor
in the great University of North Carolina, that like Ben Jon-
son and Robert Herrick, Edmund Waller felt that virtuous
statutes lovelessly imposed are less conducive to the health of
the sweet and virtuous soul than the satisfaction of knowing
oneself loved and wanted, and that the irregular versification
of Waller's poem, proceeding from shorter to longer lines,
playfully reinforces the invitation to escape civilized re-
We teachers of poetry may go so far as to quote the
chairman of the biology department at UCLA, responsibly de-
scribing the relative brevity of man's whole history in cosmic
time. His climactic statement is this: "The life of an indivi-
dual man is very short indeed." We can point out, as I am
doing, that the poet agrees with the scientist about the days
of our years, but that the poet by creating a fiction antici-
pates the existentialists: the moment of youth, contemplated
within its passionate and material contexts has a meaning the
more poignant because without context that golden moment
might be as senseless as a phonograph endlessly re-playing
the last record of the choral symphony in a deserted house.
We teachers do these things and more-philosophical, lin-
guistic, prosodic, historical, structural, and whatnot. But we
chose our profession partly because we long ago gave our ears
and our hearts to the makers of fictions and we want other
people to hear their true accents. We want people to be
taught, not by ourselves, but by William Shakespeare and also
by such simple-minded fiction makers as Edmund Waller. Lis-
ten to him:

Go lovely rose!
Tell her that wastes her time and me,
That now she knows,

T. Walter Herbert

When I resemble her to thee,
How sweet and fair she seems to be.

Tell her that's young,
And shuns to have her graces spied,
That hadst thou sprung
In deserts, where no men abide,
Thou must have uncommended died.

Small is the worth
Of beauty from the light retired:
Bid her come forth,
Suffer herself to be desired,
And not blush so to be admired.

Then die! that she
The common fate of all things rare
May read in thee;
How small a part of time they share
That are so wondrous sweet and fair!

This poem gives dynamic shape to an organization of feel-
ings about a modest young woman, and that shape, recon-
stituted in ourselves as we repeat the words, has the power to
do remarkable things. It can call up feelings that acquire life
even as it draws them into its own conformation. The feelings
have acquired meaning. Let me pause and define my term:
meaning arises when we perceive a satisfactory relationship
between a thing and a context.
If Waller's poem stirs us to feel again what we have felt
about roses, stirs us to feel again what we have felt about a
modest girl, the poem provides contexts to both feelings and
thus gives them a new meaning for us by giving them the
shape of the poem.
There is a difference between literary or poetic statement
and philosophic or scientific or computer statement. If you
propose a single question to two computers and get different
answers you know that one or both of the computers is wrong.
Two philosophers in conversation expect to arrive at agree-
ment. Two scientists approaching nature with a single ques-

Literary Fictions

tion expect to get a single answer even though, of course,
the answer may be in probabilities rather than firm integers.
Whenever a statement is made to the intelligence of compu-
ters, philosophers, or scientists as such, the statement must
mean exactly the same thing to all that is, the rational
responses of all must be identical or something is wrong.
A literary fiction, like any other work of art, will get a
different, distinguishable response from every individual who
responds at all, and differing responses from the same indivi-
dual at different times. I can, to be sure, get identical inter-
pretations of Hamlet from seventy different students on an
examination but only if I bamboozle seventy students into
parroting me or Bradley or Ernest Jones.
Think back to Waller's "Go, Lovely Rose" a moment. I
dare wager that some people on this campus would respond in
a way resembling that of a young man I knew forty years ago.
He used it to wallow in a mawkish sentimentality over the
brevity of youth. Some others would use it to heap scorn on a
maidenly decorum which they call an antiquated morality.
Who can say that either understanding of the poem is wrong?
On last St. Valentine's Day I was in a florist shop, in the
middle of a crowd of good natured young men. As long as I
was present each one of these young men ordered one and the
same thing a single red rose. I think of Waller's poem, its
light-hearted cadences evoking the laughable image of a
young man in conversation with a vegetable, sending it off to
glorious death like a Roman mother. I cannot at my age be
lugubrious about the brevity of time. When I now read the
poem I know that I reluctantly praise the modesty I ostensibly
deplore. When I put on the shape of Waller's eager young
speaker I find myself lovable as well as laughable too.
To my present soul, old age and death, the immortal strat-
egy of sweet girls making us men mad before civilizing us
(poor us!), and the immortal itch not, of course, of myself
but my young and my gray-haired friends, teetering on the
edge of folly, are neither horrifying nor contemptible. For I
can feel lighthearted about all these. I recognize tears, but
I recognize them with an authentic and not cruel joy. At least
I do when I am reading Waller's poem.
We teachers of fictions are not teachers of moral epigrams

T. Walter Herbert

any more than we are teachers of aerodynamic turbulence.
But we know that the education of our feelings brought about
by fictions sometimes influences our behavior. The mech-
anism is no great secret. Sir Philip Sidney is still right: the
movement of a tale or at least the implication of a story be-
hind the fictional moment engages our attention. By imitat-
ing the behavior of people the fiction enables us inwardly to
imitate their feelings, imitate and enjoy. And the pattern of
the characters from whom we derive the most gratifying
feelings becomes desirable. The infinitely various world will
shortly thereafter present us an opportunity to imitate the
behavior of fictional beings. Art imitates nature and then na-
ture imitates art. What happens in this journey of passion
through the imagination of the fiction maker is that aimless,
patternless nature acquires an order, recognizable, powerful,
and enticing.
Let me illustrate with two fictional patterns of behavior,
neither one of which I find superlatively admirable. You will
pardon me here for over-simplifying both fictions. The great
oriental story, the Ramayana, describes a woman who has
committed herself to an ideal involving absolute loyalty to the
person of the man whom she has accepted as her lord. She
obeys and supports her lord heedless of the cost in personal
dignity or life itself, and swerving not a whit because of real
or apparent dishonesties in the man to whom commitment has
been made. Shakespeare, you will remember, gives a similar
commitment to Hero of Twelfth Night and Desdemona of
Othello. Shakespeare leaves us unconvinced, unwilling to
commend the ways of these women. But the woman of the
Hindu story by this very commitment of herself achieves the
accolade of glory. I believe that Hindu women have been
stirred by this story, that their passions have been given con-
texts by this fiction to such a degree that they tend to find
ultimate fulfillment in the paradoxical dignity of once-and-for-
all commitment to one man and all he stands for.
F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby is, I think, repre-
sentative of fictions embodying different patterns. Desirable
self-fulfillment for women as well as men comes not from liv-
ing a paradox but from acting out the perceived straight-
forward truth of what is within one. This truth differs sharp-

Literary Fictions

ly from what the Ramayana would praise. Near the end of
the novel Nick Caraway says to Jordan Baker, "I am five years
too old to lie to myself and call it honor." Honor is equated
with immaturity, truth-telling with maturity. In still later
novels, truth-telling, often signifying the recognition of ag-
gressive, self-assertive, sometimes cruel urges in one's nature,
is the context within which passions achieve their liveliest
fictional play. I believe that not a few American women have
been so stirred by these fictions that they tend to expect the
fulfillment of their own lives, having escaped traditional pat-
terns, in obeying impulses which they and Mary McCarthy
can agree to call real, the touchstone for the decision being
an affirmative answer to the question, "Am I being honest
with myself?"
I think it will generally prove out that where the man-
constructed patterns, the fictions, of a people are all in har-
mony, psychiatrists have a less rich life than where contrast-
ing patterns clamor for allegiance. If all the stories read and
heard by Hebrew women agreed with even so complex a pat-
tern as is common to Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel, Ruth, and Esther,
the Jewesses in Modern America would be rare visitors to the
The American woman who knows these heroines as well as
Fitzgerald's, Fellini's and Hefner's has a more difficult but
more interesting time-especially if she has gossipy friends. If
she also knows Chaucer's women and Shakespeare's and Jane
Austen's and Thackeray's and Homer's she will have a variety
of slogans to go with "Let's be honest." Faced with a deci-
sion, she may ask "Is it loving? or forgiving? or loyal? or
chaste? or dutiful? or patient? or exasperating? or inter-
ested? or profitable? or witty? or glamorous? or joyous? or
sympathetic? or exciting?" Being a woman, not putty, she
stands an excellent chance of fashioning her own pattern, an
excellent chance of earning the accolade Enobarbus paid Cleo-
patra for her infinite variety, an excellent chance of being
recognizable in any crowd.
I mean to say that intelligent, literarily responsive wo-
men, like literarily responsive men, can take to themselves
for the moment the passionate design wrought into a fiction
and (for example) live through, not of course the physical

T. Walter Herbert

events that befell Lady Macbeth, but live through her pas-
sionate progress from unwomanly cruelty to despair. One
may, that is to say, in responding to a fiction exercise that
willing suspension of emotional lethargy that constitutes lit-
erary experience.
The quantitative intellect has a simplified hierarchy of val-
ues. At its simplest, values are simply good or bad. Not a
bad distinction. Then there is the linear scale: this is more
valuable than that and less valuable than the other. The fic-
tion writer, the whole world of values at his beck, evaluates
things by formulating a fictional response in passion and pas-
sionate action. In Macbeth Malcolm found young Siward's
death in battle worth mourning; old Siward found it a death
noble enough to accept without tears. Maria considered Mal-
volio's pomposity worth a practical joke. King Hal found
Falstaff's public parade of intimacy worth a devastating re-
buke. Among us non-fictional mortals the skill to match event
with appropriate passionate evaluation is the skill to live a
rich, healthy life. We enjoy such health at least for a while
when we are lost in Shakespeare or Chaucer.
Learning with the rational mind and learning with the
passions were not always two different processes. Witness
the frequency with which early records tend to be poems. But
once man ate of the tree of the knowledge of one and two, he
was able to fractionate himself and reach towards dispassion-
ate thought. I do not mean to suggest that learning with the
rational faculties is exactly like learning with the passionate
faculties, but they do resemble.
When we learn Archimedes' principle, we first imitate the
verbal pattern into which he moulded his perception for his
friends. Just repeating the pattern, saying, "Any object float-
ing or submerged is buoyed up by a force equal to the weight
of the displaced fluid," doesn't necessarily teach us the prin-
ciple it may still be Greek to us but very regularly the
words do re-create in our minds a perception that imitates
Archimedes' original perception, and we can then think about
a proud Spanish galleon or sunken gold with augmented in-
telligence especially if we can couch our perception in an
equation, a formula divorced from the vestiges of joy that
cling to such English words as buoyed up.

Literary Fictions

Now let us consider how similar is learning with the pas-
sions by means of a fiction. It does not matter that the story
of Archimedes' bath may possibly be factual. When we first
come upon him, wondering how on earth to determine the
quantity of pure gold in King Hiero's crown, we feel baffle-
ment. The problem looks as insoluble as computing the sur-
face area of a live dog. When we follow him into the bath
water and then in our imaginations repeat his solution to the
problem, the words buoyed up fit our sense of achievement,
and though we would not run naked through the street, yel-
ling the name of a Kansas town, our passions have imitated
his passions and we may forever thereafter contemplate the
searcher in laboratory, library, or open field with augmented
passionate understanding especially if we have followed
Keats to Chapman's Homer, to the astronomical telescope and
to the biographically inaccurate but fictionally adequate mo-
ment with stout Cortez who, while all his men looked at each
other with a wild surmise, stared at the Pacific, silent, upon a
peak in Darien.
If an intellectually well educated man can be described as
one whose rational mind has followed factual knowledge, fact
by fact, retaining in memory the shape of mulitiudes of facts
in logical relationships with one another, and acquired the skill
of finding and addressing himself effectively to new intellec-
tual problems, bringing to bear upon them the accumulated
data, prudences, boldnesses, and resourcefulnesses acquired
from his lively participation in an intellectual community
whose sergeant-at-arms still recognizes Archimedes, Galileo,
and Robert Oppenheimer then an emotionally well edu-
cated man can be described as one whose soul has followed
works of art, passion by passion, retaining in memory the
shapes of multitudes of passions in persuasive relationship
with one another, and acquired the skill of finding and addres-
sing himself effectively to new manifestations of human pain,
bringing to bear upon them the accumulated laughter, tears,
sternness, courage, and resourcefulnesses acquired from his
lively participation in a community wherein the Winged Vic-
tory of Samothrace, the father of the Prodigal Son, Botti-
celli's Venus on the Half Shell, and the Brandenburg concer-
tos are as vividly alive as Simon and Garfunkel.

T. Walter Herbert

The sculptor managed to take the thrust and airy buoy-
ancy, the motion and serenity, of triumph and put into sev-
eral tons of marble its persuasive shape. That shape in the
memory is the shape of triumph, and that remembered shape
can recreate the component passions that the marble expres-
ses. What does one do when one takes his diploma? How
may he experience the sense of triumph the event ought to
bring? Well, he can attempt a leap like Nureyev's, but if he
falls heavily he can at least remember Nureyev. Or else he
can recall the Winged Victory of Samothrace and in her re-
membered shape find the meaning of triumph and perhaps
taste its exhilarating savor.
The fiction of the Prodigal Son gives shape to a passion
ascribable to God himself and yet fit for the heart of a very
ordinary man if that ordinary man has got the fiction in his
memory. And if we can stretch our hearts into the shape of
passion delineated and exemplified by Jesus of Nazareth the
passion has his meaning, whether we say Lord Lord or not.
When the human intelligence addresses itself to human
pain it often tries to eliminate pain, banish pain, or forget it.
The fiction maker acknowledges that pain is the inevitable
human condition and undertakes to give pain a meaning. He
recognizes that the non-mathematician may be alienated from
the mathematician, the historian from the scientist, and in-
deed the low-temperature solid state physicist from, to put it
mildly, the advanced geneticist; he also recognizes that from
time to time all these people hurt and hurt very badly.
The capacity for pain all men recognize. Perhaps the
surest way to engage sympathy for a fictional character is to
represent him hurting and knowing he hurts. Here I take
leave at last from the other arts, for to my dull senses at any
rate some paintings, statues, dances, and music are unalloyed
joy but not epics, dramas, lyrics, and prose stories of any
power. I am probably wrong and provincial in this, for Chris-
topher Marlowe in the gaudiest passage in literature linked
pain with Beauty itself. You remember Tamburlaine's "What
is beauty, saith my sufferings then."
You remember also the story about Prince Gautama going
out into the world with a guide and seeing a sick man, a poor
man, and an old man. When the prince asked whether sick-

Literary Fictions

ness was inevitable for him the answer was a provisional no,
and so it was with poverty. But he learned that if he escaped
all other ills he would at length be an old man. That is an
inescapable pain. The best way to learn to make tolerable
the passions of old age is to live with a good old man. But
there is an additional way.
A fiction writer who gave shape and meaning to such pas-
sions died bodily at fifty-two. But I want to close by repeat-
ing to you two fictions in which I think he enables even the
youngest of us to know how an old man may feel if we will
momentarily let our passions dance to his words. Neither
fiction misrepresents old age, which shows, perhaps, that in
his own fictional way Shakespeare could be honest not as
honest as a mathematician with what Leonardo called his cer-
tainties, but honest in a way.
Macbeth, you will remember, had set himself apart from
other people, and although Birnam wood had not yet moved,
other people had set themselves apart from Macbeth.

I have lived long enough; my way of life
Is fall'n into the sear, the yellow leaf;
And that which should accompany old age,
As honour, love, obedience, troops of friends,
I must not look to have; but in their stead,
Curses, not loud but deep, mouth-honour, breath,
Which the poor heart would fain deny, and dare not.

The shape of this old man's passion is good to know. Fill out
this shape, feel its meaning, and you will understand that at
least the old lion has the dignity of facing his condition, and
though he feels sorry for himself he is notably less shrill than
Bertrand Russell, contemplating despair.
Now let your hearts dance to the elegiac tune of another old
man, an attribute of whose old age is an affectionate under-
standing of such a youth as Edmund Waller spoke for. In the
poem he looks at a young person who in turn contemplates the
old man. The old man, remembering, as well as feeling his
own matured love, is able to get inside the youth's mind. This
young man sees in the old man the time-modified portraiture
of himself. The old man's pain, brought into order by mem-

T. Walter Herbert

ory and an unresentful understanding, may perhaps be called
wisdom. At least when we adjust our own to his passion,
though we join him in regarding his unenvied physical state
with a decent minimum of honest sorrow, we may feel com-
passionate after his imperfect pattern and in a way envy him
and expect at length to emulate him after all.

That time of year thou mayst in me behold
When yellow leaves, or none, or few, do hang
Upon those boughs which shake against the cold,
Bare ruin'd choirs where late the sweet birds sang.
In me thou see'st the twilight of such day
As after sunset fadeth in the west,
Which by and by black night doth take away,
Death's second self, that seals up all in rest.
In me thou see'st the glowing of such fire
That on the ashes of his youth doth lie,
As the death-bed whereon it must expire,
Consum'd with that which it was nourish'd by.
This thou perceiv'st, which makes thy love more
To love that well which thou must leave ere long.

Peter Meinke



Here in the college, collecting dust,
books and professors huddle together;
Professor Crookshank, studying lust,
talks with Miss Bailey about the weather.

Is that a cirrus cloud, you think?
- Clouds is clouds, Miss Bailey said.
Look at that one, tinged with pink!
- Balls on pink, she gaily said.

Your eyes, quoth he, are nothing like
the sun. Some think they're bright enough,
the nymph replied. He said, Your thighs
are marbled pillars. She said, Can that stuff.

Professor Crookshank courted her
through several centuries of lyric verse;
he was the stricken cavalier
besprent by Aphrodite's curse.

He wrote a sonnet to her breasts,
an ode upon her tiny shoe;
she wrote a memo to attest
that Herrick's poems were overdue.

His mind was blind and could not see
the way to leave her or detest her;
he wrote a bibliography
of love throughout the fall semester.

And when Miss Bailey turned him down
he wept real tears upon real rocks
and sang a melancholy song
to bored imaginary flocks.

Robert C. Skelley


Ray Bradbury


I. And This Did Dante Do

The truth is this:
That long ago in times before the birth of light
Old Dante Alighieri prowled this way
On continent unknown to mad Columbus;
Made landfall here by sneaking, sly Machine,
Invention of his candle-flickered soul
Which, wafted upon storms,
Brought him in harmful mission down.
So, landed upon wilderness of dust
Where buffalo stamped forth
A panic of immense heartbeat,
Dante scanned round and stamped his foot,
And hoofed the trembling flints
And named a Ring of Hell.
With parchment clenched in tremorous fist
He inked out battlements of grime
And arcs of grinding coggeries which, struck,
Snowed down a dreadful cereal of rust
Long years before such iron soots were dreamt
Or made, or flown,
Long long before such avenues of steel in sky were saught.

So, in a guise like Piranesi lost amidst-among
His terrible proud Prisons,
The Poet sketched a vaster, higher
Darker Pent-up Place,
A living demon-clouded sulphur-spread of Deep.
From tenement to tenement of clapboard dinge
He rinsed a sky with coal-sack burning,
Hung clouds with charcoal flags
Of nightgowns flapping like strange bats
Shocked down from melancholy steam-purged
locomotive caves.

Dusk in the Electric Cities

Then through it all put scream of metal flesh,
Great dinosaur machines charged forth by night
All stomaching of insucked souls
Pent up in windowed cells.
Delivered into concrete river-shallow streets,
Men fled themselves from spindrift shade
Of blown black chimney sifts
And blinds of smoking ghosts.
And on the brows of all pale citizens therein
Stamped looks of purest terror,
Club-foot shambles and despair,
A rank, a traveling dismay that spread in floods
To drain off in a lake long since gone sour
With discharged outpourings of slime.

So drawn, so put to parchment, so laid down
In raw detail, this Ring of Hell (No mind what Number!)

Was Dante's greatest Inventory counting-up
Of souls in dread Purgation.
He stood a moment longer in the dust.
He let the frightful drumpound heart of buffalo tread
Please to excite his blood.
Then desecration-proud,
Happy at the great Black Toy he'd printed,
Builded, wound and set to run
In fouled self-circlings,
Old Dante hoisted up his heels,
Left low the continental lake-shore cloven-stamped,
And hied him home to Florence and his bed,
And laid him down still dreaming with a smile,
And in his sleep spoke centuries before its birth
The Name of this Abyss, the Pit, the Ring of Hell
He had machinery-made:


Then slept
And forgot his child.



By Gary Libby

Richard Powell, a native of Philadelphia,
now lives in Fort Myers, Florida. He is author
of the widely acclaimed novel, THE PHILA-
DAILY AND SUNDAY. His recent book,
DON QUIXOTE, U. S. A., like several of his
earlier novels, utilizes a Florida background.
Three of his novels have been made into motion

Question: Mr. Powell, several critics have commented on
the fact that your work is in the mainstream of provincial
American literature. Do you feel that there is anything par-
ticular about the South that might possibly enable creative
artists to do better work?
Powell: The South offers one of the most, or perhaps the
most, fascinating subjects for a novelist. In general, some of
the most powerful novels that have ever been written are
novels which reflect the meeting of conflicting cultures, and
the South has that and has had it for several hundred years.
To have a clash of conflicting cultures, to start with, you must
have some culture that is dominant and that is widely ac-
cepted by the people of the region; a culture everybody
knows about. So, you have a different culture coming in, and
it is in conflict with the existing culture, and conflict, of course,
is the basis of any piece of fiction. A conflict of cultures can
produce more fascinating books than I think any other type of
conflict. The South has had a very strong cultural structure,
and it has been under attack by other cultures and this pro-
vides wonderful material for a novel.
Question: Why has Florida, particularly southwest Florida,
captured your interest?


Powell: I first saw southwest Florida after the war, in
November of 1945 right after I got back from Japan. It fas-
cinated me at that time. I wanted to move down here to try
freelance writing. One of the things that fascinated me most
about southwest Florida was that it was so different from my
hometown of Philadelphia. Philadelphia, of course, has a
very neat geometry of streets and social structure-all of it
has been in existence for a long time. Its traditions, cus-
toms, and beliefs are very well documented, and if you live
there and are a native, you conform, or you are not accepted.
Southwest Florida was exactly the opposite. It did not have
any of this neat structure of civilization. So you had an area
which was really the last frontier in the United States, and
when I first arrived here in 1945, it didn't take me long to
realize that I was close to the pioneering period . some of
the original pioneers were still living, and much of the land,
of course, was still unchanged from the first time that Ponce
de Leon saw it in the early 1600's.
My first idea when we moved down here was to write a
novel about southwest Florida going into the pioneering period
(I Take This Land). It took me a long time to get around to
it. It takes me a long time to explore material and to analyze
it and make it a part of me so that I can work with it normally
rather than thinking, "Well, I will pull a fact out of the file
here and a fact out of the file there and I will have a story."
This isn't the way I write stories. They have to be so much a
part of me that when I need something it comes out auto-
matically. So it took me several years to write the story.
Question: Mr. Powell, what do you feel is the role of the
novelist today? Does he teach, entertain, or does he attempt
Powell: Well, different novelists try very different things.
Let's start with a horrible confession. I'm a commercial wri-
ter, and this is a bad word in some circles. Perhaps I mean
something a little different by commercial writer than other
people mean. What I mean is that the commercial writer
writes for a public, he writes for an audience that will be as
large as possible. He does not write for himself primarily,
he is not writing primarily for posterity, he is not writing for
a very limited circle of critics; he wants a large audience.

Richard Powell

And I want a large audience when I write.
Now, I do feel that it is very bad for a commercial writer
to be dishonest. In other words, you can be a commercial
writer and still write as honestly as you are capable of doing.
That is, you do not distort characterization and plot in order
to put across some pet ideas you may have. You try to be as
true to human nature as possible. You try not to put things
in stories only to make them sensational and attract reader-
ship and which actually have no intrinsic value in the story.
Sex is one of these things. If sex is necessary in something
I'm writing to develop character or to advance the plot, I will
write about sex, but I will not throw an undigested hunk of
sensational sex in to get readership. In other words, any-
thing that I put in a story has to have a necessary part in
developing character or advancing the plot. . I am that
kind of a commercial writer.
As I say, different writers have different ideas as to what
their job is . what they are obligated as a writer to do. I
feel that my only job is to investigate people, and people are
utterly fascinating to me. Their infinite variety, their cap-
ability for bravery or cowardice, for humility and braggadocio,
all these conflicting traits and conflicting motivations that go
on inside people interest me. It's the most fascinating thing
in the world for me to explore that, and that is what I am
interested in doing in my books. I am interested in exploring
human nature and seeing how human nature reacts under
different stresses and different environments.
Question: What is your method of writing?
Powell: Every writer has a different method. I cannot
depend on straight inspiration. I have to sit down and work at
it. If I am doing a plot, I sit down and do it in one of the
dullest ways imaginable. I sit down and say to myself, "I am
now at point A and I want to get to point B, and how do I get
there?" What episodes can I invent? I can only discover
these episodes by going down all possible blind alleys and
bumping my nose against a blank wall at the end, retracing
my steps and trying another path. Eventually, I find an alley
that is open at the end and that I can continue down, and then
I have moved from point A to point B. So, it takes a lot of
hard work to wring the plot material out of my head and, as I


say, making all these false moves. Now when I finally get
the plotting done and the characterization and the setting in
my mind, the writing is a matter of regular work.
Another interesting thing about writing, as in all forms of
activity, is you have the problem of inertia to overcome. If
you are working at a regular job you have a boss who helps
you overcome the inertia by standing over you and making
you turn it out. If you are a freelance writer, you are your
own boss and you have to find some way of overcoming the
inertia. This is a great problem with writers. To illustrate
some of the problems of inertia, let's take Ben Franklin. Ben
Franklin wrote in Poor Richard's Almanac, "Early to bed and
early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise." This
is a very fine, very laudable sentiment. But in one of his
more honest moments, Ben Franklin said something very
different in a letter he wrote to a friend. He wrote, "There
are only two things I hate to do in life go to bed and get
up." And here Franklin is capsulizing the problem of inertia.
You want to keep on doing what you are already doing; if you
are not doing anything, inertia tells you to keep on doing
nothing. The trick is to get inertia working for you because
when you are doing something, inertia tells you to keep on
doing it. The big problem with a writer is to get started. And
if he can get started, then inertia takes over and tells him to
keep on going.
My system is merely to sit down at a typewriter and put a
blank piece of paper in it, and sit there and look at the blank
piece of paper. I have rules on this: I am not permitted to go
to the mailbox and see if the mail has arrived, I am not per-
mitted to go to the window because a bird is making a fascin-
ating noise; I have to sit there and look at a blank piece of
paper until I get so sick of it that I will do anything to change
its appearance, even the horrible job of putting one word after
another. Once I get started, inertia starts working for me.
When I am writing a book I try to work two periods a day,
usually morning and evening. If I am going out in the eve-
ning, I try to work morning and afternoon. And if I can do a
minimum of ten periods a week the inertia is working, so I
don't want to go away from the story, I want to keep working
on it.

Richard Powell

Question: When did you first feel that you wanted to
Powell: I was about to say that I always wanted to write;
that's an exaggeration . let's go into it this way: people
tend to do the things which they do fairly well. As a boy I
did a great deal of reading. There were two reasons for this.
One was that my mother had been a schoolteacher and taught
me to read before I ever went to school. So, I read enormous-
ly. The human animal is an imitative creature. I read a lot,
and being imitative, I started trying to imitate what I had
been doing, so I started writing. And I found that writing
was something that I could do better than the children with
whom I was associated. It was something for which I got
recognition from teachers . it became something that I
enjoyed very much.
Question: Mr. Powell, you have called writing a "strange
business." Why?
Powell: Well, I call writing a strange business because, in
most professions, people realize that there is a certain period
of apprenticeship and training necessary to become a prac-
titioner in that profession. You would not ordinarily watch a
doctor do an appendectomy and say to yourself, "I think this
is fun so I'll go out and do an appendectomy." \And yet people
who have not had any training in writing at all say to them-
selves, "I think this is fun so I'll go out and write a novel."
This is one of the strange facets of this strange business of
writing. Another strange facet is the hard work; it is lonely
work, it is often harder than ditch digging, and yet quite
often it is not as well paid as ditch digging. This may be
shocking to you, but the fact is that of the two thousand
novels published each year, it is very doubtful that more
than a hundred make any real money for their writers. The
others may make from two to five thousand dollars . This
for a piece of work that may have taken the author one
year, two years, or even five years to do. . This is not
very good pay, and yet this is a profession that fascinates
people, and people feel they should be able to jump into
writing without any training, without any apprenticeship.
People not only feel that they should be able to write a novel
successfully, but they also feel it should be accepted, and be-


yond that it should be a best seller and sell to the movies.
Question: Do you feel that creativity can be taught?
Powell: You can certainly teach technique, and technique
is a very valuable thing to learn. .sometimes it is hard to
pick it up in writing. Without the use of technique you can
run into problems that are very, very difficult to solve. If you
have to work out the answers for yourself that several hun-
dred years of novelists have worked out painfully by trial and
error, you're wasting a lot of time. Creative writing courses
can teach technique. Any good teacher can stimulate the
pupil, whether in writing or in any other field of learning.
Therefore, any good teacher of writing can stimulate people,
and this is very, very good.
Question: What effect, Mr. Powell, do you think that mod-
ern science is having on the novel?
Powell: Modern developments have helped to make it pos-
sible to write a novel that is more effective. Stream-of-con-
sciousness is a very valuable device for doing certain things
in a novel. It is not a substitute for all the other ways of
writing a novel, however. I think modern psychoanalysis had
for a time a very good effect on the novel. I think it is now
having a detrimental effect on the novel in walling it in so
that the writer who is looking at things from the Freudian
point of view thinks that there are very few explanations for
human behavior. If a child is hostile to his father, it's because
he has an Oedipus complex; if he is unable to have successful
romantic relations with his wife, it is because perhaps his
early toilet training was bad. Well, these are very narrow
ways of looking at this very complicated and fascinating thing
we call human nature, and I think the Freudian point of view
is holding back the development of the novel. For a time it
opened a new window which let in a nice breath of fresh air,
but you can carry all these things too far. Human nature is
so complicated that there is no one easy answer to all the prob-
lems of "why" human nature.
Question: Recently we have come into contact with what is
called "black humor." Does black humor have a place in liter-
ature, or is it an aberration?
Powell: It has a place, as do all trends in literature. As
in the case of all trends, it can be carried much too far. And

Richard Powell

you carry it too far, from my point of view, when you look on
life not as a gift which has been handed to you to enjoy and
make use of, but as an insult to your intelligence or as a bad
joke . and when you carry that attitude too far, of course,
you are very far in the realm of black humor. Then you write
the existentialist type of novel in which your hero does no-
thing on his own. He is merely a target at which things are
thrown; he does not happen, things happen to him. I think
this is very dull. I also think it is very poor human psychology
because the human race reached the point, good or bad, where
it is today because they went out and made things happen.
They did not sit down and say, "Life is a bad joke. It's an
insult to my intelligence. I am completely bored with it; I am
just going to sit here and let things happen." Of course, if
the human race had decided that milleniums ago, when the
sabre toothed tiger happened to the human race, we wouldn't
be discussing the subject now.
Question: Do you feel that "the nonfiction novel," the fic-
tionalizing of facts, has psychological appeal to today's public?
Powell: Yes, there is an enormous trend nowadays toward
nonfiction. Nonfiction can often be even more exciting than
fiction; we recognize the story as true, so it has more impact.
The nonfiction novel, of course, is an attempt to combine and
get the authenticity of true incident combined with the drama,
activity and characterization that can be done by the fiction
Question: Do you feel that the "literary" novel is a dead
form today?
Powell: This is one of my pet subjects. Is the novel dying
or is it not? To me, the novel is the most perfect device that
has ever been developed for exploring human nature. Until
a better one is discovered, the novel will not lose its place. It
will not lose its place as long as the human race exists. There-
fore, the novel is not dying. It is as alive as ever. It is
accused of dying by people who are trying to do things with
the novel that they are unable to do. They feel that the novel
should progress, that it should change, that there should be
new ways of using the language, new ways of reflecting emo-
tions, and when they fail to do this, they feel that it is not they
who are at fault, it is the novel itself that is at fault, and the


novel is dying. This is not true at all.
Question: Mr. Powell, what do you feel about the quality of
work in the literary journals that have come out of our univer-
sities lately?
Powell: Nearly all of it, of course, is highly experimental.
And this is good. We need experiment and it's from experi-
ment that you get ways of improving the effectiveness of writ-
ing. Certainly, James Joyce in Ulysses did more experiment-
ing than any writer has done in the past hundred years, and
much of James Joyce has been picked up by modern writers
and used in one way or another to their very great advantage.
So the literary magazines that are published in colleges are
experimenting, and out of these experiments some very good
things may result.
One of the great problems in literary magazines, of course,
has been that they have been concentrating on stories in
which things happen not because of something the central
character did, but happen fortuitously, happen by chance. The
central character has nothing to do with them, and all the
central character does is sit down and examine his own emo-
tions in relation to what has happened. This is a narrow way
of looking at fiction, a narrow way of looking at life . This,
I think, is holding back the literary quarterlies in what they
could achieve in this country. I still think they are producing
some very worthwhile experiments, and they have produced
some very good writers.
Question: As a man of letters, what are your ideas about
modern art?
Powell: Of course, I don't understand modern graphic art
at all. I think a lot of it is phony. It has been produced by
the need of art dealers to have something that will create news
and, therefore, will attract a certain kind of buyer. The mod-
ern art dealer has encouraged this sort of thing. Many mu-
seums, in order to draw attention to themselves, have en-
couraged this type of thing. Of course, modern art has a big
problem in that photography came along and took away what
was initially the real reason for the existence of graphic art;
that is, depiction of something as it is. Photography in gen-
eral could do that so much better that art started scrambling
around for another reason for being. It then got into the very

Richard Powell

tricky and obscure field of trying to reflect what the artist
feels about something, and here you're in such an obscure and
shadowy realm that anybody can be an artist.
Question: Mr. Powell, what are the effects of paperback
books on writing today?
Powell: Paperbacks have three effects, two of which are
good. In the first place they have solved the problems of get-
ting books to tens of millions of people who otherwise would
not be able to lay their hands on a book unless they went to a
library and a great many people never go to a library, so
we have these paperbacks in drug stores and supermarkets
and all kinds of places where they are available to everyone.
As a result, people read more. This is good. The second good
point is that the paperback revolution has made it possible to
reprint many fine books, fiction and nonfiction, that otherwise
would be out of print and only available in libraries . The
bad thing is that since the paperbacks are aiming at an enor-
mous market, a market which includes many people who have
very little education and who are only looking for entertain-
ment, you get many sensational, trashy books published which
otherwise would not be published.
Question: As a creative artist, do you feel that the con-
densation of a literary work qualitatively alters it?
Powell: To be completely honest about it, this is a very
tough question from several points of view. Four of my novels
have been taken by the Reader's Digest Condensed Book Club,
which is far bigger than Book of the Month Club and Literary
Guild put together, and also pays more. Now, most of us do
have to make a living. Financially, book condensation is won-
derful. From this point of view, I know of no writer-great,
mediocre, or bad-who has ever turned down a condensation in
Reader's Digest. I say this in self-defense because I have nev-
er turned them down and never would. The money is wonder-
ful. There is another very bourgeois idea; that is, a copy of
Reader's Digest Condensed Books will reach, in this country,
somewhere between two and three million readers. Obviously,
it is reaching many, many people who would never buy a novel
in hard cover. This is good. I think any honest writer would
admit that he would rather have them buy his full book than
the condensed form. To continue being honest, I do not see


how a writer who takes pride in his work could say that his
work is improved by having a third or half of it cut out. If he
takes pride in his work, he should have cut that out before
he ever sent it to his publisher.
Question: What are your ideas about movie versions of
Powell: The movies buy a novel because they think they
can make a financially successful movie out of it . the
average writer sells to the movies because, in the first place,
he likes the money, and, in the second place, he is very curious
to see what will happen when these characters who came out
of his mind are put on the screen in real, living, visible form.
Sometimes the movies can do an excellent job, and sometimes
they cannot. Pioneer, Go Home .... I screamed when I heard
who was going to star in it. It was Elvis Presley. But as a
matter of fact, Elvis Presley and the movies did an excellent
job on Pioneer, Go Home. Pioneer was the kind of book that
the movies can easily do. It had a very compressed time
element, very narrow geographical setting, a very limited
number of characters. . Much of the action in the book is
physical action. . .These are things the movies can do
beautifully. My only worry about Pioneer was that Elvis Pres-
ley might say to himself, "This is a funny book, so now I've
got to act funny." When I talked to the producer and director
ahead of time, they asked me what I thought of Elvis doing it,
and I said, "Well, this is my work, and if he decided that it is
a funny book and he has to act funny and horse it up and
burlesque things, it will be horrible." They said, "He's going to
play it straight." That was fine because the humor in the
book was not gag type .... It was character trait humor ...
played straight, the character humor comes out. I thought
Elvis did a fine job.
However, The Philadelphian posed a different problem.
Once again, I don't blame the movies for it. There were
problems involved in filming The Philadelphian that the mov-
ies simply could not handle. Much of the drama of the climax
of The Philadelphian is inside the hero's head. He has to
make the decision whether he is going to do one thing or
another. The drama, which at the climax happens to be a
big murder trial scene, is that as a good Philadelphian he finds

Richard Powell

a way to avoid either of these alternatives, both of which
have problems as far as he is concerned. He manages to take
a middle course which, in effect, allows him to get the best of
both possible alternatives. The final climax of The Phila-
delphian comes when our hero makes an ethical decision, ra-
ther than the decision which he made in the murder trial, to
stay out of trouble and do something which will give him the
best of everything without committing him one way or ano-
ther. The movies could not do this. They could not show the
struggle going on inside his head. The movies turned the
court trial into a straight melodrama . The hero wins the
case, wins the girl, and the movie ends. This is horribly dis-
appointing to me, but I realize that the movies could not handle
what I tried to do in the book.
Question: Mr. Powell, what do you feel is the future of the
creative writer? Do you feel that our civilization limits the
time that a reading public must have to educate itself?
Powell: I feel that there is a great danger of modern peo-
ple nowadays reaching a point where they are so spoon-fed
by things which require no mental effort on their part that in
the long run they may avoid the mental effort involved in
reading a book. Obviously, there is very little mental effort
involved in watching a television program. Everything is laid
out for you, the show goes on and you follow it, and you don't
have to do anything except produce a little emotional reaction.
Whereas, in a book you have to understand the words . in
your own mind you have to fill out many of the things which
cannot be produced in the book. A book can describe a person
in words, but you have to turn those words into a visual pic-
ture in your mind. Therefore, reading involves a mental effort
and there is a great danger that modern methods of communi-
cation are eliminating, or are providing easier alternatives to
entertainment than a book does.
Question: What is your personal message?
Powell: In a way I hate to answer this because it is going
to sound a little too high-minded and idealistic, and perhaps
slightly naive. I am not religious in a conventional sense of
the word. I do believe that there is a cause and effect in
human life, that the roots of anything we do go back far into
the past and that the fruits, good or bad, are going inevitably


to come out on the branches in the future. Thus, I like to put
across this idea in my books. There is a cause and effect in
human life . what we do has inevitable consequences. When
we do good things, the chances are that the results are going
to be good, and when we do evil things the results are going
to be evil . I try to hide this in my books because I believe
that a lot of people would feel that this is very naive of me to
believe such things. I have strong beliefs in honor, loyalty,
and things like that, and I feel that when people are honor-
able, loyal, and honest, that, in general, they are going to get
rewarded-whether here or hereafter I don't know-but my
own feeling is that they get rewarded inside themselves when
they are living up to the best that they can produce, when
their actions are as good as they can hope to make them; when
they do not live up to basic ideals, one way or another they
are going to be punished, probably within their own minds,
within their own nature.
Question: What will your next book be about?
Powell: Well, don't laugh. Because when I say what I am
working on it may sound like one of the most frivolous, use-
less, time wasting things to write about that a writer could
discover. My next novel is going to be what happens to about
twenty people at a national tournament of the American Con-
tract Bridge League. Now, as I say, this sounds frivolous,
like a waste of time and all that . The fact is, however,
that I became interested in tournament duplicate bridge and
found it the most fascinating laboratory for the study of hu-
man nature that I have ever discovered. Ordinarily, people
tend to disguise their real characters. But when you sit down
with another pair and with your partner in high-tension dup-
licate bridge, human nature is out on the table in the open
right away, and it is possible to study it. This fascinated me
and I decided, all right . I am going to write about it. In
effect, of course, what I am trying to show is that here in this
group of people playing bridge at a national tournament, you
have a world in microcosm. You have wars, you have revo-
lutions, you have everything that happens in the world right
here in a small group of people. Now, whether I can do this
successfully or not, this is something I never know; this is
something I am trying to do ....

Jerry N. Uelsmann

'Ib(,CC~ A


Jerry N. Uelsmann


Edward Weston, in his efforts to find a language suitable
and indigenous to his own life and time, developed a method of
working which today we refer to as "pre-visualization." Wes-
ton, in his daybooks, writes, "the finished print is pre-visioned
complete in every detail of texture, movement, proportion, be-
fore exposure-the shutter's release automatically and finally
fixes my conception, allowing no after manipulation." It is
Weston the master craftsman, not Weston the visionary, that
performs the darkroom ritual. The distinctively different
"documentary" approach exemplified by the work of Walker
Evans and the "decisive moment" approach of Henri Cartier-
Bresson have in common with Weston's approach their em-
phasis on the discipline of seeing and their acceptance of a
prescribed darkroom ritual. These established, perhaps classic,
traditions are now an important part of the photographic
heritage that we all share.
For the moment let us consider experimentation in photo-
graphy. Although I do not pretend to be an historian, it ap-
pears to me that there have been three major waves of open
experimentation in photography: the first following the public
announcement of the Dauguerreotype process in 1839; the
second right after the turn of the century under the general
guidance of Alfred Stieglitz and the loosely knit Photo-Seces-
sion group; and the third in the late twenties and thirties
under the influence of Moholy-Nagy and the Bauhaus. In each
instance there was an initial outburst of enthusiasm, excite-
ment, and aliveness. The medium was viewed as something
new and fresh, possibilities were explored and unanticipated
directions were taken. Unfortunately, these initial creative
outbursts were not sustained. As certain forms of experimen-
tation met with tentative success, formulas developed which
in turn discouraged the constant revitalizing of thinking ne-
cessary for the experimentation to continue along fresh paths.
Perhaps the comforting security of a formulized approach will
always cause experimentation in photography to follow this

Jerry N. Uelsmann



11T.-T'L -


It is interesting to note that much of the experimental
photography that we revere today has been done by indivi-
duals whose commitment to photography is but one aspect of
their commitment to art. This seems to be true for such
workers with the medium as Alfred Stieglitz, Edward Stei-
chen, Man Ray, Moholy-Nagy, and Frederick Sommer. It is of
further interest to note that with the possible exception of
Alfred Stieglitz, who championed all art with his words and
deeds, these gentlemen are multi-media artists. In addition
to photography, they are concerned with painting, design, gra-
phics, and sculpture. Perhaps it is because they are accus-
tomed to the creative freedom encouraged in these other areas
that they have intuitively challenged the boundaries of
Since the turn of the century, all other areas of art have
undergone a thorough reinvestigation of their means. The
contemporary artist, in all other areas, is no longer restricted
to the traditional use of his materials or to the exclusive use
of traditional materials. In addition, he is not bound to a fully
conceived, pre-visioned end. His mind is kept alert to in-pro-
cess discovery and a working rapport is established between
the artist and his creation. Today the work of art has become
a more complete and involved extension of the artist.
Our predilection for the straight photograph is perhaps a
natural one. Certainly pre-visualization with a prescribed
darkroom ritual is the most widely practiced approach in pho-
tography today. The popular expression "taking a picture"
implies this approach. I do not wish to minimize the impor-
tance placed on the act of seeing which this approach requires.
I do, however, feel that the general attitude of unquestion-
ing acceptance of a prescribed darkroom ritual, which this
approach requires, has kept us from important visual discov-
eries and insights. While it may be true, as Nathan Lyons
has stated, that "the eye and the camera see more than the
mind knows," is it not also conceivable that the mind knows
more than the eye and the camera see? Cannot the mind,
when introduced to the possibilities of in-process discovery,
stretch the boundaries of the preconceived image? George
D. Stoddard, Chancellor of New York University, in his essay
"Art as the Measure of Man" states:

Jerry N. Uelsmann



We should not over emphasize the technique of
vision. We cannot think with our eyes, and we may
think without them. Vision brings in the data, the
raw materials, and the cues that guide our steps.
The eye is an invaluable sense organ, a true part of
the brain through its optic nerve, but the frontal
lobes preside over the problems created and they
are not to be denied. The artist is a man seeing
and thinking-both at once; his cunning is in his

It seems to me that for the most part young photographers
are encouraged to use their minds and eyes for the purpose
of making important aesthetic and technical decisions only at
the beginning and end of the photographic ritual. With the
squeezing of the shutter the creative consciousness is put to
rest, only to be resurrected when the finished print is ready
to make its debut. That many photographers avoid the dark-
room as much as possible may perhaps be due in part to the
fact that the mind is relegated to basic technical decisions.
Some are even hostile towards it. Walker Evans has said,
"Cameras. . are cold machinery, developing chemicals smell
bad and the darkroom is torture." An indifferent attitude
toward the darkroom is further reflected by the fact that
many distinguished photographers do not do their own pro-
cessing and printing. I would like to encourage more young
photographers to get off the streets and back into the dark-
room. It is my conviction that the darkroom is capable of
being, in the truest sense, a visual research lab; a place for
discovery, observation, and meditation. To date, but a few
venturesome souls have tentatively explored the darkroom
world of the cameraless image, the negative sandwich, multi-
ple printings, the limited tonal scale, negative prints, et cet-
era. Let us not be afraid to allow for "post-visualization."
By post-visualization I refer to the willingness on the part of
the photographer to revisualize the final image at any point
in the entire photographic process. Let us not delude our-
selves by the seemingly scientific nature of the darkroom rit-
ual; it has been and always will be a form of alchemy. Our
overly precious attitude toward that ritual has tended to con-

Jerry N. Uelsmann



ceal from us an innermost world of mystery, enigma, and in-
sight. Once in the darkroom the venturesome mind and spir-
it should be set free-free to search and hopefully to discover.
The criterion for art is no longer just the visual world.
One of the major changes evidenced in modern art is the
transition from what was basically an outer-directed art form
in the nineteenth century to the inner-directed art of today.
The contemporary artist draws upon new levels of conscious-
ness, creating a span of aesthetic that is without precedent.
To date, photography has played a minor role in this liber-
ation. We have kept blinders on our eyes, restricting the
potential imaginative freedom that photography is capable of.
Edward Weston, commenting on his own creative freedom,
states, "I never try to limit myself by theories. I do not
question right or wrong approach when I am interested or
amazed, impelled to work. I do not fear logic, I dare to
be irrational, or really never consider whether I am or not.
This keeps me fluid, open to fresh impulse, free from formu-
It is disturbing to discover the number of leading figures
in photography today who believe the "decisive moment" or
slice-of-life form of photography to be the only natural form,
all other approaches being somehow affectations. In this rap-
idly changing world of ours there is a real need to free the
teaching of photography from the long-standing dogmas which
tend to restrict rather than encourage growth. The serious
photographer today should constantly be seeking new ways of
commenting on a world that is newly understood. Constant
creativity and innovation are essential to combat visual medi-
ocrity. The photographic educator should appeal to the stu-
dents of serious photography to challenge continually both
their medium and themselves. The visual vocabulary of the
young serious photographer should allow for a technical and
imaginative freedom that permits him to encounter our com-
plex transitional world in a multitude of ways. Let the inner
needs of the photographer combine with the specifics of any
given photographic event to determine for that moment the
most applicable approach be it straight, contrived, experi-
mental, or whatever. Furthermore, let him feel free, at any
time during the entire photographic process, to post-visualize.

James Nolan



the night that grandfather went blind
I stole a bottle beer and lay down to watch the floor
keeping company with the cat

oh, she wore a dress of crayon red
and smiled before she talked
she turned into a fine young thing
despite the way she walked
tra-la tra-lu despite the way she walked

the night that grandfather went blind
I crawled into the darkness beside his open window
and watched his large warm and loosely wrinkled face
hang spineless into the deep cotton folds
of his tobacco-stained white shirt

oh, she climbed aboard a bus one day
and gave the man a dime
but when she left, her legs got caught
she gave the man a time
tra-la tra-lu she gave the man a time

the night that grandfather went blind
he sat up until dawn in a proud patch of light
with slowly tightening corners
hammering his buff wooden rocker
into the soft flowered linoleum

oh, she married her a soldier man
and lived a while in Crete
he didn't like the dress she wore
but didn't mind her feet
tra-la tra-lu but didn't mind her feet


the night that grandfather went blind
I lay and listened to the wind
which played in unpredictable ripples
with the full skirt of his crossed baggy pants

sing sing sing a song
find the month of May
time is long
when light is gone
and soon we shall be sad

the night that grandfather went blind
under that mad irreverent gray hair
I think his white eyes burned as they
searched the room for familiar shadows

let me be turned into the streets
to chant romances de ciego to strangers
let me wing my body through allies
and drape my clothing from poles
what color friend what color
is the ground beneath my shoes

the night that grandfather went blind
he would not leave that chair beside the window
until light had tumbled over rooftops
and waited on chimneys for him to get dressed
he sat there thinking morning
waiting to walk canal street at noon
not wanting to touch noon on the hands of a clock
but on the hot steel rails of the streetcar track

how close how close can we drift
towards the sun
with eyes closed by thin layers of skin
with eyes closed to see what the brain knows
orange pales the orange, the fruit falls untasted
how close how close can we drift towards the sun

James Nolan

the night that grandfather went blind
he took my hand and put it within his
tell me Jimmy tell me the shape of the universe
what color is the cat
why is that chicken crowing so
what color is his beak
it's morning Jimmy I can feel that it's morning
where have the children gone to play
where is the sun the sun
I have lost it in my eyes

let me be turned into the street soon
to walk with the hollow discontent rumbling
of black leather boots on slick cement
let me sing romances de ciego to strangers
who move in swaying streetcars down
protesting tracks
who squat in speeding cubicles of light
with eyes that peer into the shapeless night
meeting nothing but reflections of their
own noses
smudged against the cold hard panes of glass
and are unable even to come to terms with that

the night that grandfather went blind
he sat looking into my face
until my mouth my hair my eyes went black
blacker than he had ever hoped to see the sun

the eyes know what the mind sees
and are ashamed
how close how close can we drift
towards the sun

the night that grandfather went blind
I stole a bottle beer and lay down to watch the floor
keeping company with the cat

James E. Campbell


Green carriages
in a gray wood

I remember wondering
why is there
no glitter
from the

and then I knew
spring buryings
cannot allow the sun
to interrupt the process
of giving earth its due

my father's silver horn
that called a general
to his troops
was all but given now
to the memory
of an old lady from a
long forgotten
country home

carriages stood still
at the sound of the horn

I remember feeling
strangely sad
that this short
tune was all that
kept the earth from
closing on the wooden
and then

James E. Campbell

when all was finished
that could lend
excuse to holding
they buried
her and I did not cry
for I was too young
to cry at anything
but pain

I remember wondering
why is there
no glitter
from the

she remembered
old blind horses
and many children
carrying a battered
pewter jug to the well
and fear when Alice
asked the man from
the hospital if
he were mad

she remembered
backwards shoes
and grandchildren
in a rose garden full
of snakes in summer
and not to ask
for help the
day she died

and I remember wondering
how gray shadows
made the carriage green
that carried us away

Lawrence Dorr


The windows of Comedy Theatre looked down on the street
below. There was no traffic on the street. There was no
glass in the windows.
A man hobbled by on mismatched canes. One was an
Alpine walking stick, the other a ferrule-tipped ebony cane.
He was dressed in black military boots and khaki britches, a
pinstriped, double-breasted jacket whose collar was fastened
around his neck with a piece of string and, as if to symbolize
his peaceful intent, a black homburg. He turned right, into
a narrow street where the houses leaned inward protectively.
His walking stick sounded louder here, like a blind man's
progress through a permanent darkness. Suddenly he stop-
ped. Somebody had stepped out of the shadows.
"It's five to nine," the woman said.
They will kill me now, he thought.
"I said it's five to nine."
"Thank you very much," he said with a polite little bow in
his voice.
"I am not the worst looking girl in the world, I can tell
you that." She was offended. "And you have to think about
the curfew too. They'll shoot you on the street after nine."
"I know," he said.
"Come up. It won't cost you much." She stepped closer
to him. "You are crying."
"No," he said, "I am not." But he was crying.
"You just came back?"
"You are a soldier, aren't you?"
"Not any more."
"Try and tell that to Them," she said and began to walk
away. "We can't stay down forever."
He followed her.
The house had a big door. A man with a sad mustache
opened it. He held out his hand, palm upward.
"He is my-," she was at a loss for the right word. "He
is not a guest." She went up the dark stairs, looking back

Lawrence Dorr

nervously at the soldier. It wasn't right what she was doing
and she did not want the old man to think that she had gone
soft in the head.
The second flight had wooden stairs. The soldier liked
that better. They felt alive. The woman waited for him
and he touched her hand. Hers felt warm and he wanted to
put his whole body in it.
A small door led into the room.
"No electricity, of course." She lighted a candle. He com-
pletely forgot to miss electricity.
"You are younger than I thought," she said. This made
him self-conscious. He was nineteen.
"It's a nice room," he said.
"You don't have to be polite, it's not mine. Take your
clothes off. You are dirty."
He sat down on the bed and pulled off his left boot, then
he tried the right one. He couldn't move it.
"I can sleep on the floor." He sounded so defenseless that
it made her angry.
"You are dirty and I don't want any lice in here."
The soldier tried again, but it was too painful.
"I can't do it."
"I'll help you with it."
"It's ugly to look at," he said.
"You lie on your back and shut up. Ready?" She turned
her back to him, his right boot between her thighs. He watch-
ed her and forgot to be ready for the pain. The barbed wire
around his brain tightened.
When she saw the blood coming, she cursed and eased a
pail under his leg then pulled off her dress and placed it neatly
on the chair. He wanted to see her standing there in her slip
that showed the softness of her body but his eyes felt heavy.
Under the pinstriped jacket she found his gun. She look-
ed at it, thinking, then with two fingers lifted the gun and
with the distaste of a little girl carrying a dead snake put it
behind an empty flower pot. She piled his clothes into the
bucket, poured water over them and placed it on the stove.
He was half asleep, listening for sounds beyond the door
and to her moving about. He held his breath to hear better
but it only made his heart drum inside his head. He wanted

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