TONGUES OF FALLEN ANGELS by Selden Rodman

TONGUES OF FALLEN ANGELS

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Informal conversations disclosing what is ""gentle and childlike"" in leading North and South American writers -- Borges, Frost, Hemingway, Neruda, Kunitz, Garcia Marquez, Paz, Mailer, Ginsberg, Vinicius de Moraes, Joao Cabral del Melo Neto and Derek Walcott. Rodman inverviews each writer in his own home among his family, and engages him in casual, spontaneous talk about his own experiences and influences (Ginsberg on Patterson and India; Walcott on British racism; Mailer on the Hasty Pudding boys at Harvard. . .and on Hemingway: ""'Why doesn't he recognize me? I used to think. . .'""). These interviews reveal what in each of these varied writers conforms to Rodman's personal theory of art -- that the modern artist must be an internationalist who is also deeply committed to his roots, that he has ""a need for humility in pursuing the meaning of life,"" that his genius is an innocence of vision that defies exegesis. His approach is particularly effective at stripping away the ""monstrous"" public masks of Mailer and Hemingway, who are too often regarded as macho celebrities rather than working artists. Rodman's literary sketches are quick and telling and well worth reading.

Pub Date: April 19th, 1974
Publisher: New Directions