By Noel Perrin
One among America's most interesting essayists writes approximately forty literary masterpieces which were wrongfully forgotten or have been missed within the first position.
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1922. Page 20 4 A Kind of Writing for Which No Name Exists Just offhand, I can name four major American writers, each alive and healthy, who for one reason or another do not currently publish. They haven't for decades. They write, but they don't publish. J. D. Salinger is, of course, the best known. No book from him since Raise High the Roof-Beam, Carpenters in 1963. Then there is Ralph Ellison. Invisible Man came out in 1952, and there has been nothing since except a book of essaysand even that was twenty years ago.
Suppose that poet was a well-known wit, and as much at home in prose as in poetry. Suppose him an enemy of the bureaucratic state. But no need to supposethis work exists. It is Robert Graves's glorious novel Watch the North Wind Rise. It presents one of the oddest and most delightful futures I know. At times I can persuade myself that something like it might really happen. The book opens around a thousand years from now in a little kingdom in what is now southern France. A poet from our own era named Edward Venn-Thomas has been summoned into the future.
A Nearly Perfect Comedy 3 2. To Awaken Quite Alone 8 3. A Thousand and One Chinese Nights 14 4. A Kind of Writing for Which No Name Exists 20 5. A Book That Could Cure Suicide 25 6. A Future Ruled by Magic 30 7. The Fables of George Ade 35 8. Falling in Love with Stendhal 40 9. Moving in Eccentric Circles 46 10. Lament for a Young Wife 51 11. Thinking Rabbits and Talking Crows 57 12. Taking Ghosts Seriously 62 13. The Decline and Fall of Switzerland 68 14. Gulliver Goes to Washington 72 15. Lords and Pagans 80 16.