The Gallery, by John Horne Burns
What happened to the American’s idea of himself, his image and spirit, as a result of the experience of the recent war? Some fine poems, a few novels of real merit have been written, but nothing to put alongside the kind of intensive examination of conscience and ideas undertaken by Europeans like Camus, Malraux, and Rousset. Can the war have been a truly “unpleasant incident” which our writers are only too ready to forget? Or, more serious yet, can the already dangerously hollow American psyche have been finally emptied out, can that death rattle of sentimental and sensational nonsense coming from Hollywood and the bestseller lists be our sole response?
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