Re: RARA-AVIS: Nathaniel West

From: jacquesdebierue (
Date: 19 Mar 2010

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    --- In, "James Michael Rogers" <jeddak5@...> wrote:
    > The list of writers who were still hip to Scott Fitzgerald at the time of his death was pretty short. Along with the unfortunately absent West, I think Dorothy Parker traveled to the funeral. Hemingway, of course, had a very complicated relationship with Fitzgerald. O'Hara was something of an imitator at times as well as a fan and Dashiell Hammett was portrayed as a Fitzgerald enthusiast in a famous anti-Hemingway anecdote by Lillian Hellman. Chandler was something of a fan, though he had misgivings about The Last Tycoon. In short, Fitzgerald appears to have cut a wide swath as far as the HB crowd was concerned even as his rep hit the dumps with the larger public.

    It is amazing that Fitzgerald's rep hit the dumps... it's hard to think of a better writer from that era. West was Fitzgerald's equal, I would say. Tragic loss. Those two were not just writers, they were violinists of the soul.

    Of course, fads have nothing to do with quality. Just the other day somebody told me that Sinclair Lewis was not worth reading -- though the person hadn't actually read him. I told him that Babbitt and Main Street are mindblowing, that if somebody today wrote something as good as that about the present era, it would be a sensation. I doubt it had any effect, but I made the effort.



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