An outgrowth of the socially conscious novels of the depression years, this story of the doomed decrescendo of an English professor, whose endless way down is sparked off by one fit of anger, is loaded with feeling against the political abuses of our time. Humphrey Swanson comes to the United States in the late thirties, rises steadily in the English department of a California university, suffers a first setback from his wartime pacifism but returns to grace until a landlady accuses him of indecent exposure. A jail sentence and dismissal from the college leaves him without employment and virtually unemployable. He has a shortlived affair with the wife of a former disciple who shacks up with him near the city dump, but at the end she returns to her husband, he to an act that leads back to jail... Fate and futility direct this progression to its inevitable end, enclose this story in monotone.