RARA-AVIS: N. West Minutiae

From: Mbdlevin@aol.com
Date: 12 Nov 2002

Re: recent posts on Nathanael West. Here are a few other incidental details, only a few of which may be accurate. miker notes West's heritage, but I'll just add that he was born Nathaniel von Wallenstein Weinstein. I can't remember when he changed the spelling of his first name and his last name altogether. I think the quasi-(ambivalently/wholly?) anti-semitic West wanted to hide his Jewish origins (also in part to (attempt to) access certain Ivy League circles). For what it's worth, the other literary American Nathaniel--Hawthorne--changed the spelling of his name too (added that final e). miker notes he graduated from Brown. There is some sort of hijinx in West's higher education. He went to Tufts originally, and maybe transferred to Brown on another student's (also named Nathaniel Weinstein) transcript. Or some such. West may have been distraught over Fitzgerald's death when he crashed his car, but I believe that it was said that he was a notoriously bad driver. His wife died at the scene of the accident and West on the way to the hospital (they had been married about 8 months earlier). They were returning from a hunting trip. West was an avid hunter.

Some connections were made a little while back between West's writings and other works, maybe with some mention of Charles Willeford. Without giving away too much, I'd point out that the end of the Woman Chaser seems to echo
(at least in my mind, maybe because I was reading them too closely together) the end of The Day of the Locust.


# To unsubscribe from the regular list, say "unsubscribe rara-avis" to
# majordomo@icomm.ca.  This will not work for the digest version.
# The web pages for the list are at http://www.miskatonic.org/rara-avis/ .

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : 12 Nov 2002 EST