THE INMAN DIARY: A Public and Private Confession by Daniel--Ed. Aaron

THE INMAN DIARY: A Public and Private Confession

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Proving McLuhan's dictum that in the media-dominated world, everybody will be famous for 15 minutes, this is the diary of an unknown man, Arthur Inman, the sick, reclusive son of a wealthy Atlanta family. Unfortunately, 15 minutes is about all the time his diary can sustain interest. Inman, who spent the last 40 of his 68 years in the same Boston apartment, deeply believed that his raison d'etre was to chronicle the 20th century for posterity. Samuel Pepys Inman definitely was not. This is unfortunate, for despite Inman's reclusiveness, his daily doings had the makings of some interesting chronicling. While living in a dark room, Inman advertised for readers and talkers whom he paid to tell him their life stories. Apparently, he was invested with enough personal charisma that many of these folks became hangers-on at his apartment, allowing him to keep long-term tabs on them. Their stories, in effect, became Inman's vicarious life and, through his diary pages, his story of our century. But as W.B. Yeats said, ""Events are in the saddle and ride mankind."" As the century progressed, events gradually took over from personalities in Inman's daily jottings. But here, he comes off even worse, for in being sort of a curmudgeon-at-large, he managed to support just about every unpopular cause possible--including fascism and Hitlerism. Inman occasionally sprouts a nice turn of phrase. However, posterity can only view his magnum opus as did reviewers who tackled several books of poetry which he paid to have published in his day. To a one, they ascribed his poems to mediocrity. So too his diary.

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1985
Publisher: Harvard Univ. Press