UNCONQUERED SOULS: The Resistentialists by C.L. Sulzberger

UNCONQUERED SOULS: The Resistentialists

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Sulzberger's ""Resistentialists"" are not altogether unheralded ""little men"" but by no means undeserving individuals who surmount in one way or another ""impossible adversity and cruel strain,"" unordinary ordinary beings who have ""within them the ability to walk the hard, stony way, unbent and alone"" -- unfreakish freaks in this ""dismal"" age of other-directed anxiety. Three such exemplars tread these pages -- like Sisyphus they keep at it. There's a ""misfit"" German artist engage fittingly named Baron Rudolph Karl von Ripper (Rip or The Ripper to Sulzberger and friends) who suffered awful Gestapo tortures for his persistent anti-Fascist activities and is Sulzberger's ""bravest man I have known."" There's a French Resistance fighter named Michel Dupont (a pseud -- he might still be alive) who turned collaborator when the Nazis threatened his wife and child and then bore the humiliating ""collabo"" stigma with quiet agony. Finally, there's a Yugoslav former compatriot of Tito's named Vladimir Dedijer who like Djilas has written his own books and was imprisoned by the very system he helped create and was freed only when his son's self-immolation moved the regime. What is a hero? What is courage? In what private furnace is the choice forged? These ""lessons"" in fortitude are intended as answers but beyond noting that ""All of us dwell inherently alone, cut off from each other's souls by impenetrable plate-glass windows"" Sulzberger merely lets the case histories speak for themselves. The result is bracing, but the reader's time might better be spent with Colman McCarthy's Disturbers of the Peace (p. 44) or, better yet, rereading Camus' The Rebel.

Pub Date: Feb. 19th, 1973
Publisher: Overlook Press -- dist. by Viking