In literature he senses a depth of human understanding beyond his power to express, an epiphany of knowing something through words that could not be put in words.
I haven’t read Stoner, but Dickstein’s description reminded me a bit of Alan Seager. The early 60s really were the 50s, as strange Nan Talese says in the Ian McEwan documentary I also also happened to catch this weekend. I’m struck by the sincerity with which guys like Williams and Seager tried to reconcile a life devoted to literature with the the gray-flannel values of 1950s America. Is that kind of thing still done, do you think?
The documentary reminded me: I still hate McEwan’s stuff. Why do I hate so much contemporary fiction? Then I happened to pick up Lewis Robinson’s stories for the first time this weekend and I realized, no, I don’t hate everything.