previous.gif     next.gif    

November 1965

Jimmy Castle Puerto Rican Novel

Jim Castle - son

Harold Castle - Prof.

Cap (ex- Ill. pol.) Jr. Barren Laplan

June Meek

Joseph McDevit


November 28, 1965 - Sunday afternoon

Renzo Sereno died in his bed last night, unattended. Miriam phoned me while I was carpentering. I telephoned Sebastian, who is in N. Y. Gone are 10,000 Latin phrases, 10,000 books learnt well, 7 languages, a ton of wit, endless conviviality of olden days, especially for Sebastian. How badly designed we humans are -- unless there is a limit to the knowable, for we deposit learning up to death, then our bank is blown to bits, while some poor infant is being born to struggle for his bits of information in turn.

R. S. was miserable in the last two years since his serious stroke in Florence and a few weeks ago, Miriam says, he began drinking more heavily and taking sedatives. he may, for all we know, have wished himself to die, even in a very direct sense.

I once sketched a plot for a story of a man of many talents, who underwent many accidents, each of which took away some part of him, leaving him freer to contemplate the universe and man, he lost limbs, beauty, mobility. Yet the passion for thought must be fierce in such a man. Else like Renzo, who never was happy with his thoughts and writing alone, he would become miserable in proportion as he obtained his true ambition of shutting off all avenues to supreme experience except the One.

November 28, 1965 evening

A basic defect of novel-writing is the need to express the plot and characters in absolutes because

1) Audience wouldn't understand anything else.

2) Author doesn't know anything else.

3) Any other way is dull to the audience.

Wherefore --

4) Novels are often net losses to the morals of society. they overteach or underteach or miseducate.

5) Cheap authors, stupid authors can get by while intelligent (or honest) ones fail.

6) And as the most noticeable sub-consequence of most of the foregoing novels are stuck to horribly distorted plots -- i. e. people have to be murdered; women raped; boys perverted; societies dictatorially operated; priests utterly corrupted; persons subjected to terrible accidents by car, rope, fire or water, worlds ended, etc.

7) The circle forms into a vicious one -- i. e. author succeeds because corrupt, and corrupts audience, which does same to author, ad infinitum, and

8) Fiction is forever "unscientific"; untypical and being untypical has to misteach.

(November 1965)

Thomas, the protagonist of Twelve by Candle, is a bright professor of American Civilization, moving into middle age who is highly critical -- a doubter, and who is hesitant, without confidence, and incapacitated to act. The blackout of New York City offers him a stimulus to action of some sort and the novel is the story of how he seeks in the darkness a new way to act and believe. The forces of his character and of the setting are both good and evil and the urge to act becomes not simply a question of whether he will or will not act, but whether he will act for good or for evil. In fact, it is the stumbling over these alternatives that obstructs his capacity to move forward. if, in order to act at all, he must bring more harm than good to others and himself, then what is the point of acting. He finally takes up a compromise position. He begins to act not in any hope of achieving good (or evil) but simply because to act is human and humbling and good for one. it is better to do good or do evil than to do nothing at all. If the blackout had been a great disaster, he should probably have been propelled into much more action, both for good and for evil. Since it did not so develop, his odyssey became a picaresque journey around Manhattan during which he encountered all types of people and experienced sometimes as an observer and sometimes as a participant how they were motivated by the evening's events. He witnessed not only the behavior of people, but also their philosophies, ranging from the simplest primitive helping or exploiting responses to the full variety of universal philosophies that were adduced to explain and place the events of the night.

(November 1965)

Walt Whitman, Voyeur or

See "I Sing the Body Electric

See "The Boy from Under the Circus Tent Flap"


He is the single whole [tingling] sensual response to everything.

Is he exhibitionist as well as Voyeur?

Disgustingly explicit about ordinary things.

Also prurient

And pedantic

And boringly frank

Who cares for the first man circa 1893? 1899? 1907? who said he saw a woman's calve?

The clumsy wonder of a child in fleshland.

In effect says Whitman -- "Is Everybody happy?

Everything is Great

Everything is great and nothing is greater than anything."


I see a speck of russet down the beach, a woman moving my way. She wears a while sailor's hat pulled down. She moves erratically searching the sands. I wonder whether this solitary early bird is pretty. She will be pleasant certainly. No one is up at this time on the beach unless she feels better for it.

At 150 yards she pauses and seems about to climb a dune and disappear. I try not to appear aware of her, and sit on my stone, writing or look out to sea. She returns and at 60 yards she removes her hat. "She must have fine hair," I think. She passes behind me. I do not look. Then she continues a few yards, swings forward to the beach, and passes in front of me. I look up quickly from my book. She smiles sweetly and we say "Good morning," softly. I have seen her now. She is fifteen. She has long lustrous black hair, a creamy skin, and all her features round. She has the look of a Madonna, as some would say, the material that poets are made of. I think she is happy. She walks by. I think of nothing to say, and more important, of nothing to do, so I watch her amble on her sweet way to some unknown cottage while thinking once or twice of the man with the brown stubbly-bearded face sitting on the stone, writing something. It couldn't be a letter. It was in a book! How strange!

(November 1965)

To write re trip.

Fraser Makaus (re ship) // write after talking with Alexander's

Pear // call him on arrival François Gluck // write after talking with Alexander's



Delas // call him on arrival

Xitras // Call him on arrival

Del Campo //

Institute of Anglo-American Studies, Padova


University of Tunis (Roland Young's contact) // wait

Tunis (Peebles friend's son) // find out in Paris

Cairo (USIS ??) Leo Crespi (Roland Young?)

AUB (Adam's contacts) Beirut

Jordan (USIS contacts?) Crespi, Baroody

Israel *Eileen Basker, Miriam Balaban, Eisenstadt)

Ankara (Karpat )

Istanbul (Karpat )

Misirli (Ismen)

Zia // Wait to write from Europe

di Mora

Ferrero // Maybe call in Rome

Christina del Campo // Maybe call in Rome

Anna Maria


Mrs. Belli // write from Europe

Vienna (USIA)

Prague (USIS) Crespi

East Berlin (USIS) Crespi

Robert Lochner, RIAS 170 Clayallee, 1 Berlin 33, Germany


[in margin:] Trento, Broga

(November 1965)

Cf. districts in which new faces have appeared on 5 out of 7 last contests.

Cf. Froman for data? Stat Yearbook

These are the true unrepresented districts. They always have freshmen.

1) Cure: Congress should lend special leverage institution to freshmen.

(November 1965)

Topic for Book:

Get experts from each country to describe institutions, plans, practices from their country that might be considered for the improvement of American government.

(November 1965)

Is there a WASP conspiracy in America?

(Ask American Jewish Committee for data on U. presidents)

The Fundsman / Foundation Executive

The Law of the Great Norm

The norm theory


things tend to the middle

The search for freedom by throwing off bonds of local cliques in favor of collectivism

(There being ostensibly only two poles of gravitation)

But this collectivizing brings in turn its own "great normalizing." The same minority

are discriminated against.

The eternal minority problem.

November 1965

Restate V's theory in short substance

1) What are functions of a scientist-as-scribe?

a) Confessed

b) Covert

2) What is expected of him?

a) Confessed

b) Covert

3) What of 1) and 2) in re V.'s work

4) Why

5) Proof: No other reception could have been given V. except the one that was given him.

Exceptions: revival, continuance, prove the rule

6) Justice

a) How due to a man?

b) How due to a theory?

7) Pragmatic effects of accept or rejection of a theory, including how theory could have been developed. What could be done if V's theories were properly assessed, accepted

or applied.

previous.gif     next.gif