Alms for Oblivion by Edward Dahlberg

By Edward Dahlberg

“His perceptions are mostly marvelous, cogent and refreshingly unique, and his use of the language in addition to his mastery of English sentence structure
make the e-book worthy examining as an instance of superlative kind if not anything else.” — R. Baird Shuman, South Atlantic Quarterly

This quantity makes to be had in booklet shape a suite of seventeen essays through Edward Dahlberg, who has been referred to as one of many nice unrecognized writers of our time. many of the choices have by no means been released earlier than; others have seemed formerly in basic terms in magazines of restricted stream. there's a foreword via Sir Herbert Read.

The person essays are on quite a lot of topics - literary, old, philosophical, own. The longest is a dialogue of Herman Melville’s paintings entitled “Moby-Dick - A Hamitic Dream.” The destiny of authors by the hands of reviewers is the topic of the essay known as “For Sale.” In “No Love and No Thanks” the writer attracts a characterization of our time. He offers a critique of the poet William Carlos Williams in “Word-Sick and Place-Crazy,” and a dialogue of F. Scott Fitzgerald in “Peopleless Fiction.” In “My acquaintances Stieglitz, Anderson, and Dreiser” he discusses not just Alfred Stieglitz, Sherwood Anderson, and Theodore Dreiser yet different personalities to boot. He additionally writes of Sherwood Anderson in “Midwestern Fable.” In “Cutpurse Philosopher” the topic is William James. “Florentine Codex” is ready the conquistadores. different essays within the assortment are the next: “Randolph Bourne,” “Our Vanishing Cooperative Colonies,” “Chivers and Poe,” “Domestic Manners of Americans,” “Robert McAlmon: A Memoir,” “The Expatriates: A Memoir,” and an essay on Allen Tate.

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Robert McAlmon was a defiant rake-hell of literature; he went to Paris and later to Barcelona to inveigh against America without restraint. He seemed to lack the full liberty he prized so much unless he could employ the most loathsome words. The money he spent to help and to print the works of unknown authors dropped through his sieve-like pockets just as easily as the gargantuan obscenities fell out of his mouth. A nihilist, he believed that no one could enter the kingdom of letters unless he detested virtue.

We tolerate so many mediocrities but cannot forgive an unusual man. One should save one's stones for the mercenaries of letters, and not cast them at a broken Ishmael of truth. Then McAlmon became ill and repaired to a scrawny garbage settlement, Desert Hot Springs, the back alley of Palm Springs, where he owned a small stucco duplex. He lived in one part and rented out the other half for forty dollars a month, on which he managed by eating the lean fare of a Greek Cynic or an acolyte of Plotinus.

At that time I wrote a long letter to T. S. Eliot, urging him, as guilefully as I could, to publish Gregory's Chelsea Rooming House. Having had no word from him in several months, I sent him a strong rebuke. After I mailed the letter, I received a reply from Eliot, telling me that he was ready to bring out Gregory's poems. Sick with anguish over what I had done, I crawled into a subway, sitting in that iron season of hell until I arrived at the Church Street post office. I showed the postal superintendent my credentials, and asked him whether there was the slightest chance of recovering the letter I had written.

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