Monthly Archives: February 2024

February 2/25/24

I want to highly recommend this book — Ron Henderson is a kind of miracle — and his observations about class surpass, I think, those of Fussell. Surviving a childhood of drug-addicted mother, repeated foster homes, incessant turmoil and wild acting-out as a teenager, he finally got a handle on things by joining the Air Force. He then went on to Yale and a PhD from Cambridge (England). His observations on the class snobbery he survived are remarkable for their analytical quality and a kind of calm about it all. When he met Harold Bloom, and related to Bloom very briefly his background, Bloom put a hand on his arm and said, “You were forged in a fire”. Henderson is the author of the term ‘luxury belief’, which has become current.

Be current, read up on this, it’s the start of something new, or perhaps very old, but certainly welcome.

How it might affect the present state of fiction I can’t tell.

Dear Reader 2/14/2024

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Reading C.S Lewis’ An Experiment in Criticism and not that I am looking over anybody’s shoulder, or peeking at their library titles but he has great points about exchanges between reader and writer..


(Many readers) (and reviewers on Amazon) demand a swift-moving narrative. Something must always be ‘happening’. Their favorite terms of condemnation are ‘slow’, ‘long-winded’ and the like…”

“Some people read only narrative because only there will he find an Event. He is dead to the aural side of what he reads because rhythm and melody do not help him to discover who married who (or rescued, robbed raped or murdered) whom”

I’m not totally in agreement with this — it’s important to find out who. But I think it’s true about narratives that leap wildly from event to event becoming tedious.

And, “In the course of my inquiry I rejected the notion that literature is to be valued A) for telling us truths about life and b.) as an aid to culture…while we read, we must treat the reception of the work we are reading as an end in itself.”

That’s because non-fiction — polemics, essays, journalism sermons— does those things much better than dressing it all up as a “novel”.

Every dawn is different, the sun is moving north again, shadows are different on the hills day by day and Orion is leaving us. Last night I stepped outside and I never saw such a sky full of blazing stars.