Time Traveling With R.E. Prindle  Part I

G.W.M. Reynolds and Charles Dickens

The study of social progress is today no less needed in literature than is the analysis of the human heart. We live in an age of universal investigation and exploration of the sources of all movements. France, for example loves at the same time history and drama, because the one explores the vast destinies of humanity, and the other the individual lot of man. These embrace the whole of life. But it is the province of religion, of philosophy, of pure poetry only, to go beyond life, beyond time, into eternity.

Alfred de Vigny, Cinq Mars, 1826

I have reached the time in life when it’s time to travel back through the years to review my life. While my corporeal years are few compared to eternity my mental psychological and historical life goes back thousands of years but more specifically the last three or four hundred. I am no St. Germain, I don’t claim to have actually experienced those earlier centuries but I have made an attempt to recreate them in my mind. Looking back I find that mankind has made no emotional progress. As my ancestors were so am I, so are we all. If one can’t empathize and sympathize with them one is being snobbish.

I don’t mean to bore you with a mere lineal presentation to the evolution of the human, specifically the European mind, over three centuries. I intend to roam back and forth linking and combining.

In today’s mental climate some may be furious that I would specify the European mind but it is the mind in which my own mind has developed. I have little empathy for the Asian mind, for instance, except as represented by the European experience of it. Nor am I particularly interested in learning another racial mindset when there is so much to be learned of my own.

As a base of reference I have chosen the 1840s and 1850s, a time of great discoveries just before the Darwinian and psychological explosions that were a quantum leap from the past to the present. A leap which in my own time we are in the midst of experiencing. The future will bear little resemblance to the past.   Western Civilization is on the brink of extinction and has no desire to live. The Asian mindset seems poised to be its replacement. Both the US and Europe are on the brink of disintegration. Asian hordes are at the door and breaking it down. Kaiser Wilhelm was right about the Yellow Peril. Thus, it seems that I’m taking a sentimental journey.

The journey will be a literary one for the 1840s and 50s were years of great writers and even greater literary masterpieces.

The decades before the before the 60s and the annunciation of Darwin played John the Baptist to Christ. My life has been lived mostly in the literature of that period. The great predecessor to the period was the beautiful time called the Romantic era. The French and Industrial Revolutions had put a period to what had gone before. Man hadn’t changed but the circumstances of life had. Steam power had entered the picture and with it the coming of the railroads and iron ships, those great dividers between the medieval past and the present. Electricity, the telegraph and photography made their appearance. Between the moveable type developed in the fifteenth century and photographic pictures the past could be captured as it was forever. The movies of the twentieth century, even more effective, were an improvement in film technology.

Science destroyed the belief in supernatural beings, the fairies, the elves, the elementals and, yes, even the gods. To destroy the foundations of their belief was easy but to destroy the need for them has proven difficult. Hence the Romantic era when the mind groped to reconcile fancy with science and created beautiful literary effects. It was then that genre literature began to appear alongside so-called literary novels. Genres were considered inferior to literary novels and still are although why isn’t clear. What is clear is the genre novels rule modern literature.

Perhaps literary novels disguise reality under the appearance of things creating an artificial world that doesn’t exist except in the minds of the believers and they don’t want their illusions disturbed. Hence, the popularity of Charles Dickens for nearly two hundred years. Dickens is no Shakespeare but perhaps even better read. Dickens can make grim facts seem palatable, perhaps because of Dickens authorial and censorial distance from the facts diminishes the reality and more genteel and respectable minds can handle the unpleasantness, which is quite grim, because it is happening to different people under different conditions that bear no relationship to their own lives except to be pitied. Dickens specifically writes for the self-satisfied and well to do. Dickens pretties his characters up.

But for every Dickens who has survived the ravages of time there are many, many more who have sunk beneath the waves remembered only by those who think of a vanished Atlantis. Amazingly one of these writers who crashed beneath the waves during WWI, an English contemporary of Dickens, who was as or more popular than he at the time was forgotten after WWI. I don’t know large the market for Reynolds was on the eve of the Great Destruction but I have a copy of The Rye House Plot bound with Omar. It was advertised as rare but it should have been unique. One Norman Hartley Rickard went out and bought the parts for The Rye House Part one and two on 5/13/14 and the two parts for Omar on 6/16/14 then went to the trouble of having them bound together receiving the bound volume back on 7/22/14. He thought that much of Reynolds on the eve of the war. The novels themselves were printed sometime after 1880 by John Dicks as they advertise General Wallace’s Ben Hur. Both books are more obscure Reynold’s titles so that if they were available at the late date of 1914 indicates fair interest in Reynolds. And then the war came.

During a time of prolific writers Reynolds was extraordinary. He not only wrote at least 43 novels, the novels themselves were of extraordinary length. Of his two masterpieces the first, Mysteries of London runs to 2500 pages of smaller type in the current Valancourt Press edition. His master work, Mysteries of the Court of London is ten volumes running to 5000 pages. He has numerous works running to 1500-2000 pages. These were not merely rambling stories but tight and compact, serious sociological and psychological studies with strong historical connections.

While Dickens and Reynolds represent the English contribution to the period, Reynolds, while being English, was also a Francophile. His writing style is a combination of the English and French psychologies. His is such an interesting case that I might as well devote a little space to it indeed these rambles will center on his career.

Reynolds was born in 1814, being two years younger than Dickens. He came from Kent in the South East of England. Much of the scenery takes place there, especially around Canterbury, in his earlier novels. His home town was called Eastry. His father was a naval officer who died in 1822 when Reynolds was eight; at fourteen he was placed in the Sandhurst Military College by his mother apparently to follow in the footsteps of his father. His mother died in early 1830 leaving Reynolds a complete orphan at the age of fifteen. How this affected his situation is not clear but he either chose to leave Sandhurst or was encouraged to seek a career elsewhere sometime in late July as he turned sixteen. His formal schooling ended there. He was one hellacious reader though.

Some say he inherited twelve thousand pounds, some dispute this, but, at sixteen he must have had had enough money to encourage him to emigrate to a new country with a tender age and no skills. He seems to have existed reasonably well. His inquisitive nature led to him to examine all levels of society. His Pickwick Abroad demonstrates this.

There were large numbers of English people who either moved to France, spent long absences there of fled England for legal reasons. It is this society he depicts there in Pickwick Abroad. There are opinions that he was not a stranger to illegal activities there. Pickwick himself, in the novel, dwelt at the Meurice Hotel. The Meurice was begun by a Frenchman who realized that with the number of English in France they needed a home away from home. He therefore created the Meurice to cater strictly to English tastes. Reynolds seems to have been familiar with both residential customs there and the riff raff who lived off the legitimate residents. One wonders what his exact situation was,did he live or perhaps prey on those who did. He was obviously very intelligent and studious. He must have had abilities because he was able to earn money as a journalist becoming familiar with newspaper practices. On his return to England at merely twenty-three years of age he was entrusted to edit the Monthly Review which he revived and set back on its feet.

There is a question of how long he was in France. The general opinion is from 1830 to 1837. Dick Collins in his introduction to Reynolds’ The Necromancer as published by Vallancourt thinks he arrived there in 1835. That doesn’t seem quite right as Reynolds’ experiences would likely take more time to acquire. Reynolds himself says he lived in France for ten years. To justify that he must mean that he arrived in 1830, left physically in 1837 and lived on mentally for another three years while physically being in England. The extra three years would coincide with his writing which is French oriented through is Master Timothy’s Bookcase. This book would be his mental transitioning from France back to England making up the ten years.

At any rate his knowledge of France and French literature would indicate a seven year residence. He returned to England just as Dickens’ Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club was being published in parts- that is in installments published monthly or weekly. Reynolds had had an active journalistic and literary career in France publishing his first book there in 1935 at the age of 21 and editing an English oriented magazine.

Rather startlingly, even as Dickens’ Pickwick Papers was still in progress Reynolds began a continuation of the novel called Pickwick Abroad that took place, naturally, in France. As might be expected this plagiarism caused an uproar that would mar his career. Nothing daunted by the uproar Reynolds next appropriated the idea of Dickens’ Master Humphrey’s Clock with his own title Master Timothy’s Bookcase. Both plagiarisms were notably better than Dickens’ originals. The Bookcase took place in France and then in a weak conclusion, one supposes, mirroring reality, shifted to England to end with another Pickwick story, The Marriage Of Mr. Pickwick, and several representations of Mortimer’s, the narrator, life in England. As Bookcase appeared at the end of the ten years this might be what Reynolds termed his ten years stay in France.

Then comes a two year hiatus in which Reynolds wrote nothing. Reynolds was well read. He frequently references his reading including Homer’s Iliad, probably Mallory’s King Arthur, Walter Scott much of the Gothic period and the Romantic Era, most especially Byron. Byron’s poems the Corsair and Giaour made a great impression on him and indeed the next couple generations. He was well versed in French literature. Dick Collins in his introduction makes a very telling point for Frederic Soulie (accent aigu over the e) being a direct influence on Reynolds in his introduction to The Necromancer. Reynolds put together a two volume survey of the literature of France published in 1938 composed mainly of extracts with introductions to the authors. I reproduce the intro for Soulie here in full from Collins which fairly accurately portrays Reynolds approach to writing:

Quote:

Frederic Soulie

Turn we now to that young and successful writer, who descends into the vault of the dead and snatches the cold corse from the tomb, to introduce it into his tale, who calls in the assistance of plague and fire to add fresh horrors to his romances; and who delights more in the violated sanctuary of Death than in the splendor and gaiety of the drawing-room. Turn we to him who has revived the midnight terrors, the phantoms, the robbers, the murderers, the executioners, and the violaters of virgin innocence, that were wont to dwell in the legends of the olden times, or in the folios of a German library; whose patrons were Maturin, Lewis and Radcliffe; and whose readers were timid school-girls and affrighted nursery maids. Turn we to him who has regenerated that school of horror which had nearly exploded within the dozen years;–yes, let us turn to him whose favourite subjects are those which we have dreaded to think of at night in the days of our childhood.

The writer of an ordinary novel may possess a weak, pusillanimous and feeble mind, yet produce an amusing tale. His book may be called a good one; and he himself may pass as a man of talent and capacity. But the author of a romance…must own a powerful mind a vivid imagination and a fertile brain; or else his lucubrations will be vain and futile.

His murders must not be told with the coolness of a newspaper report: they must seem as if they were written in letters of blood themselves. The very page, which narrates their tale, must be surveyed with awe and a species of pleasing and fascinating abhorrence—if the reader can comprehend the antithesis—which create much more than a common interest in the mind. The romance writer must indulge in nothing puerile; no tame or vapid description will be pardoned in him: his work must be all fire, all vigour, all energy and capable of producing a species of electric interest throughout.

Such is the system of M. Frederic Soulie exemplified in his Deux Cadavres. This awe-inspiring romance, which seems as if it had been written in a charnel-house, by the light of those flickering candles that in Catholic countries surround the corpse, and by an iron pen dipped in human gore, in the most extraordinary creation of the brain that ever was yet, in the guise of a historical tale, presented to the world. Let the superstitious and the timid beware of it: they would not forget its terrible incidents for many a long night, after they had once perused it. It is a romance which haunts its reader as a man is haunted by a phantom of the victim whom he has slain: it is a book so full of horrors—and all those horrors so natural and so probable—not once exaggerated by the assistance of powers from beyond the tomb—that he, who reads it, lays it aside with the impression that such things might have been, and interrogates himself whether he be just awakened from a nightmare dream, or whether he have witnessed a series of terrible realities.

The scene is laid in England; and the epoch of the tale is the Protectorate of Oliver Cromwell. The work commences with the execution of Charles the First, which is described with painful accuracy. This is the first horror. Then comes the desecration of a grave in Westminster Abbey—the parade of a corpse through the streets of London—the hideous ceremony of presenting a jug of beer to the motionless lips of the dead thing, as the procession moves up the Poultry—the visit of two adventurous men to the Chapel in Windsor Castle at midnight—the exhuming of a coffin—the circumstance of one of those men putting his hand to the dead body which that coffin contained and finding by the disserved head that it was the corse of the late King—the journey through dark and dismal roads with that coffin upon a sledge drawn by dogs—rape of a beautiful girl by her lover in an hour of madness—the progress of the plague—murders, duels, riots and deaths—and then the horrid agonies endured by that young girl, who lingered through all the stages of starvation, tied to a tree, till she was wasted away, expired, and found a fleshless skeleton some time afterwards? This is the brief analysis of Les Deux Cadavres: this is the frame-work of the book upon which was built the reputation of M. Frederic Soulie.

Unquote.

This pretty well expresses the style Reynolds adopted combined with his reading of the Marquis de Sade. Reynolds used the episode of the woman tied to tree in Robert Macaire. Unfortunately Frederic Soulie has no translations into English so we can’t enjoy his spectacular style directly.

It appears that this part of quote is an analysis of Dickens:

Quote:

The writer of an ordinary novel may possess a weak, pusillanimous and feeble mind, and yet produce an amusing tale. His book may be called and good one; and he may pass for a man of talent and capacity but an author of a romance…must own a powerful mind, a vivid imagination and a fertile brain; else his lucubrations will be vain and futile….

Unquote.

That sums up Dickens as accurately as possible. If Dickens read this then one can imagine that he would be incensed and develop a deep seated aversion to Reynolds. Indeed, he would many years later say that Reynolds was a despicable person. The quote also expresses a certain amount of envy in his dismissal of Dickens from whom he had just appropriated the format of Pickwick Papers for his own Pickwick Abroad. At the same time the quote illustrates the difference between Dickens and himself.

Reynolds was apparently a theater goer in Paris becoming familiar with the plays of Victor Hugo and Alexandre Dumas, both of whom would be major influences of the period 1840-60 and beyond. Dumas, of course, exists today through his incredible novels, The Three Musketeers and The Count of Monte Cristo. Hugo lives on through his work Les Miserables, recently a very successful stage musical in the US as a revolutionary play. Also making a most profound effect on Reynolds was another extremely prolific author, the great Eugene Sue. In 1843, two years before Soulie died, the parts for Sue’s Mysteries of Paris began appearing and that would galvanize Reynolds back into activity. He immediately began his own first masterpiece, The Mysteries of London. A French writer by the name of Paul Favel also wrote a work titled Les Mysteres De Londres at the time also inspired by Sue. Favel was an excellent crime writer detailing the activities of organized crime through his Blackcoats series. Written sometime after Reynold’s Robert Macaire or the French Bandit in England that mentions Macaire as the leader of a nationwide loose organization of criminal revolutionaries. It begins the story of the great worldwide criminal organizations of today as well as the US’ Statewide and national criminal organizations. The Revolution released them, and Democracy allowed them to prosper.

Reynolds while bursting with ideas seemed unable to express them without a format provided by someone else, hence his use of Dickens’ Pickwick Papers and Master Timothy’s Bookcase as wells as Sue’s Mysteries of Paris—he had to have a format to follow. When Sue’s Mysteries of Paris appeared the plan for Mysteries of London appeared. The basic premise had evolved in Reynolds’ mind, that of two brothers connected to two trees who go separate ways, one of crime and one of rectitude, who then reunite to compare the results of their systems.

This notion may have evolved from Reynolds’ reading of Justine and Juliette by the Marquis de Sade. In de Sade Justine who follows a life of rectitude ends up trashed and her sister Juliette who followed a life license ends up rich and happy. Reynolds reverses the results, complaining that such may be case in individual situations but certainly not systemic.

That is not to say his novels are slavish copies of other men’s work. Oh no, they are amplifications and extensions, completely original alternate versions. Sue, himself had just entered his masterpiece period with The Mysteries of Paris and its successor, the marvelous Wandering Jew. For my tastes The Wandering Jew far surpassed the great Mysteries of Paris and that is saying something in a long way. All these works are massive while the successor to Reynolds’ Mysteries of London, The Mysteries of the Court of London is twice as long as any other novel of the period while its intensity lifts one into the stratosphere. By the time of Mysteries of London Dickens was pursuing Reynolds in an effort to keep up. Reynolds by that time was more successful than Dickens so the latter had even more reason to be bitter.

The novel took four years of serialization to be completed and in that time both Mysteries of Paris and The Wandering Jew by Sue had appeared. The Wandering Jew in 1845, the year Soulie died, so both novels would have had an influence of Reynolds’ novel. For myself, as great as Mysteries of Paris is, I prefer The Wandering Jew. Its style may be offensive and off putting to today’s readers but the book has nothing to do with Jews; it is rather an anti-Jesuit story with the greatest villain ever, the Jesuit priest Rodin and his Invisible Hand.

The story involves a fabulous inheritance due to a number of inheritors including two children from Germany. In order to claim the inheritance they must be in Paris for the reading of the will on a certain date. If they fail to appear the fabulous fortune will fall to the Jesuits. It is Rodin’s task then to prevent the inheritors from reaching Paris. Simply killing them would arouse suspicions hence he has to engineer delays and obstacles hence the Invisible Hand. While without being apparent Rodin’s schemes are always at work.

Here we are introduced to the concept of rather than outright assassination it is better to exploit the weaknesses of the individuals so that they destroy themselves. Hence for one claimant Rodin easily leads him into a life of dissipation in which the man essentially drinks himself to death.

The closer the children get to Paris the more intensely the climax resolves into a final Armageddon in which all of the participants including Rodin and his Invisible hand are killed. The only claimant left standing is a good priest and he of course is a very charitable guy with no other use for the money. With such a model before him Reynolds digs deep keeping his own story racing along but to a relatively weak ending, a slight disappointment very poorly handled. He does much better in Court of London which ends in a real Armageddon.

Even as Mysteries Of London was drawing to a close Reynolds began the eight years of weekly installments of The Mysteries of the Court of London. The latter was a grandiose and magnificent structure. At the time England was only short of a fifty percent literacy rate. So a pretty good living could be made by organizing a group to read these stories to. Thus a man could gather a reading group of perhaps thirty people to whom he read the weekly installment. A really primitive radio setup, eh? I suppose one could organize two or three groups and live rather comfortably. I am not aware of what the readers charged but the penny was divided into half-pennies and even farthings or quarter pennies. For eight years people set aside an hour or two to be read to. This is not unlike todays filmed episodes that go on for years like the Game of Thrones. This is quite marvelous. Reynolds would have been the talk of the town for eight years, actually, combined with The Mysteries of London, twelve years. That’s something of an achievement.

His writing style then was conceived as to sound like he was talking directly to these hearers while always being so intense that their attention did not waver, and he succeeded. One can’t be sure but perhaps the memory of this success drove Dickens wild so that he himself devoted the last years of his life reading from his novels, especially Oliver Twist, to audiences.

Now, Reynolds had a particularly capacious and powerful mind. While he was writing Court of London over eight years he also wrote eighteen additional novels nearly all of which were 600 to 1500 pages. The ability to keep weekly installments in mind and while either consciously or sub-consciously planning several others is beyond phenomenal. While these were coterminous the variety of incident had to be kept fresh throughout the corpus or all would fail. Reynolds was capable of doing that while pacing his novels with fast flowing action. At the same time he is keeping up with social and scientific developments and raising a numerous family. His psychology is usually thoughtful and spot on. He refers, for instance, to Anton Mesmer and his Animal Magnetism that moved toward perfection as hypnotism. While revealing the unconscious, the realization of which would dominate psychology through the system of Sigmund Freud about far off 1920. The unconscious still remains misunderstood.

He makes reference to Franz Joseph Gall’s much misunderstood theory of phrenology, the forerunner of the discovery of the function of brain localities.

His corpus is perhaps too large to be read in full except by the most dedicated scholar, and I mean that in the singular, who would receive no reward for his efforts. The additional reading necessary to understand the full import and value of Reynolds is even more daunting.

The discovery of influences, for instance, and familiarizing oneself with them is a monumental task. Reynolds was born under Romaticism and began his career on the cusp of the Positive period of August Comte and Herbert Spencer.

Indeed Romanticism has never left us. A Romantic revival occurred post-Positivism and the then emerging scientific revelations. Literary styles were changing or evolving through the decades and the epigone of the 1840s and 50s were shadows of their forerunners while still better than the pulp writers they engendered. One of the finest of these was the Anglo-French writer George du Maurier who wrote three classics, almost a trilogy: Peter Ibbetson, Trilby (Svengali) and the Martian. While not as towering as The Mysteries of the Court of London, The Count of Monte Cristo, The Mysteries of Paris and The Wandering Jew they are astonishing works of art.

One of the great journalistic successes of all time, Punch or The London Charivari, the famous humor magazine, was founded in 1842. The magazine remained until the 60s of the twentieth century. During mid-nineteenth century Du Maurier was a regular contributor with both drawings and texts. He probably would have continued with the magazine until his death had not he been rejected for the editorship when it became available. Fortunate for us, for then he turned to writing his novels which were fabulous successes being reprinted until recent times. Like Reynolds his mind was divided between his French and English heritages. Born in France, he was removed to England in his teen years. This was a traumatic experience for him as the cultures of the French and English were so different. Reynolds had the advantage of developing an affection for French culture before he removed from England and although an orphan of only sixteen years he appears to have thought he was moving to a wonderland and was never disappointed. He had the misfortune to have expended his resources, bankrupting himself, thus expediting his return to England.

Du Maurier’s first novel, Peter Ibbetson, would detail his conflict with the English mentality in a beautiful story. As part of the Romantic revival Du Maurier combines the fairy world with proto-science fiction and fantasy. His French childhood in the novel is involved with fairies and his little girl friend Seraskier who reappears in England as the adult Duchess of Towers. Not only that his next novel Trilby is built on a character and situation created by the French Romanticist, Charles Nodier. In his novel also named Trilby, Trilby was a male Scottish fairy. Du Maurier transposes sexes and makes Trilby a woman in his title of the same name.

In Peter Ibbetson, Peter is in the care of his uncle who, upon defaming Peter’s mother, is murdered by him, justifiable homicide by another name; nevertheless he is convicted and sentenced to death but spared hanging through the intercession of the fairy Duchess of Towers.

Languishing in prison he goes bonkers and is transferred to an insane asylum. There he finds that while sleeping he can unlock a door and enter the dreams of the Duchess of Towers. A beautiful hundred pages follows.

Trilby, his second novel, is in one respect a very long fairy tale masquerading as real life. The novel records a fantasy of Du Maurier’s experiences as an aspiring artist in Bohemian Paris. A real font of pleasant memories for George. He remained a Bohemian all his life and made the most of enjoying that life. Trilby was a runaway smash hit equaling in impact Dickens Pickwick Papers.

There is a marked difference between the romanticism of Du Maurier and his contemporary William Morris. Morris writes in an Arthurian mode of pure fantasy while Du Maurier was affected not only by science but the so-called occult world of the founder of Theosophy, Madame Helena Blavatsky. Her The Veil of Isis published in 1873 may very well had had an influence on him. I have as yet no real proof that he read Blavatsky, other than the dream world of Ibbetson and the Duchess, but Theosophy is something that Punch would have been ribald about as well as the Spiritualist Movement.

While Comte’s Positivism did intervene between Romanticism and the Revival the whole fabric of the evolving mindset was blown apart by the issuance of Darwin’s Origin of Species . The Earth trembled beneath the feet of the Victorians and was further shifted by the rapid emergence of psychological analysis. Between Evolution and the developing knowledge of psychology that solidified with Freud’s pronouncements after the turn of the century. The ancient supernatural and fairy mentality had to be reconciled with the new scientific mentality; Mankind would not give up the concepts of the supernatural so easily.

To travel back in time again to the beginnings of the Industrial Revolution: by the time of that revolution the Scientific Revolution had been under steam for some little time. Thus, the European mind was developing rapidly. There are some, blind to reality, who will object to such a fact as racist. Associated with race, it may well be, however the fact is that science developed as with no other race on earth. This is fact. So, the European mind was solving nature’s mysteries. As simple as these solutions were they were mind boggling at the time. The very notion that air has weight is incredible to the mind. Even today no child believes air can be weighed until he is so instructed. The fact that air is made up of many gases and that these gases can be separated and that one of these, Oxygen, was the substance of life must have been just too astounding.

By the late eighteenth century then other mysteries could be explained in other ways than the supernatural. All those wonderful fairies, elves and elementals could be demystified and explained naturally. Thus the Gothic novel came into existence and the Gothic novelists made it a point to explain supernatural beliefs as perfectly natural. Thus, the transition from the Medieval world to the modern or rational world progressed. Lyell challenged the supernatural belief that God had created the Earth four or five thousand years previously. He presented the monstrous belief that the planet was immeasurably much older and that it developed under natural processes.

Inevitably these incipient sciences were primitive and left more unexplained that they explained. Resistance to all scientific revelations was strenuous, the European mind having been deeply corrupted by Biblical superstitions. Slowly the superstitious was being rejected. The wonderful and beautiful Romantic period was a confusion of the natural and supernatural as the supernatural was gradually disproved.

Reynolds, Dickens, Dumas, Sue and many others were born into the Romantic Age, experienced and moved out of it as society evolved. Byron was only one important Romanticist but one who influenced that generation experiencing the revelations of science and technological inventions, such as applications like railroad and iron steam ships and the telegraph.

By 1830 science had a firm hold on the imagination and European society was ready to advance to the Positivism of August Comte who organized the loose sciences into specific groupings or disciplines. Thus, writers, who are on the cutting edge of developments, began to amalgamate these developments. Reynolds wrestles to get all these literary genres that affected him into a coherent whole; no easy problem. He and Eugene Sue were prime examples of making order of European intellectual developments. Reynolds especially was a prominent primitive sociologist and psychologist. This makes his work extremely compelling.

The generation born into the Romantic Age and are bound into the transition from the Romantic to the Positivist were passing their prime and from the stage by the 1860s when their influences were being eclipsed by he march of time and a generation was emerging that handled the same material in a different manner.

In 1859, as the style of writing was changing, Darwin’s Origin of Species was published and that put a definite term to the Middle Ages. It was a new world from the 1860s on. Evolution was the issue while in France Jean-Martin Charcot was making great inroads in the study of psychology. The world could never be seen through the eyes of previous years again. In literature the giants had left the earth, their epigone would be much smaller.

Moving across the water to the New World of the nineteen twenties and thirties we have a strange phenomenon in the career of the short story writer, Damon Runyon. Something that emerged out of the Revolutionary/Napoleonic era that wasn’t so obvious before was the rise of Organized Crime. Dickens touched on it in the career of Fagin/Sikes in Oliver Twist. Reynolds, Paul Favel and Sue developed the phenomenon but by the nineteen twenties and thirties in NYC organized crime was virtually an alternate government. Democracy had no idea how to control it. Frank Costello, a leading Mafioso, wanted to make organized crime a legitimate form of business. In his way Damon Runyon aided and abetted Costello.

Runyon, after a terrible childhood in Colorado was brought East to NYC by W.R. Hearst as a sportswriter for his papers. Runyon because of his childhood had an affinity for the outcasts and outlaws. Once in NYC he made Satan’s Square Mile centered on 42nd and Broadway, known also as the Tenderloin, his ‘home.’ He took up a station at a deli called Lindy’s that his stories made famous as Mindy’s.

He sat and observed this immigrant store of criminals during the twenties, committing their antics to print in his short stories. Not really a very good writer other than that of this criminal milieu, he turned rather gruesome situations into charming stories for the uninstructed; the stories got grimmer as time wore on.

Without his knowledge of the actuality of his stories, as I say, one is charmed. The stories are written in the illiterate immigrant jargon of the times, a weak understanding of tenses and so forth that some, the New York newspaperman, Jimmie Breslin who was there at the time but wrote in the 60s, think that Runyon invented. I have actually heard people speak that way so I think it was the lingua franca of Satan’s Square Mile.

At the time I am writing, the American past of 1900-1950 has completely disappeared. At the time Runyon was writing in NYC, Jewish, Italian and Irish colonies were well defined and not yet Americanized except in a very superficial way. After all, unlimited immigration was only suspended in 1924 so that there were hordes of unassimilated immigrants clustered in their colonies. Dialects were heard constantly. Dialect humor didn’t disappear until after the 1950s. My aunt’s had heavy German accents until they died in the fifties or sixties.

In other words, there were still large populations that hadn’t learned English at all and many, many who had a flimsy grasp of it.

At any rate, Runyon uses this immigrant dialect as the basis of his stories, and it is that that really gives his stories interest. No matter, he sat with these criminals ona daily basis and mostly all day at Lindy’s. Without that there isn’t much there. However, he sat with these criminals as a very successful ‘real’ American. He gradually insinuated himself into the underworld as a sort of consiglieri. He was an important advisor within the underworld. He, really became one of them protected by his association with Hearst.

The stories are entertaining enough but then Runyon tried to make romantic characters of these thugs on the stage and in the movies. The effort revealed the situation as it was without the glamour. In what was supposed to be a comedy Runyon filmed a movie called A Slight Case Of Murder with Edward G. Robinson playing a very convincing Mafia Don. It isn’t charming on film.

Runyon contracted Cancer in the thirties dying in 1946. His era died with him. Organized Crime had become Murder Inc. and there was nothing funny about it anymore. The sort of last gasp for Runyon came in 1955 when a big budget movie in striking technicolor (the movies lost something when technicolor was discontinued) called Guys and Dolls was released glorifying the Underworld. Brando and Sinatra starred. The movie didn’t make it.

It would take the horror film, Coppola’s Godfather to put a romanticized Mafia over a decade or so on.

To slide back a century and a half ago I will now review Reynold’s novel Robert Macaire or, The French Bandit In England.

To be continued in Time Traveling With R.E. Prindle, Part II, Robert Macaire.

G.W.M. Reynolds

A Mind Of Vast Proportions

by

R.E. Prindle

 

G.W.M. Reynolds had a remarkable career. I don’t know how many people have ever read his entire oeuvre, I certainly am not yet close, not even close enough to say closing. Still, I have read a few million words.

His work can be divided into two groupings. The first group is a preliminary to the outstanding second group. It seems almost unbelievable that a human mind could encompass the second group.

Reynolds was only 21 when he wrote his first novel in 1835. That book was titled The Youthful Imposter. This was the first in the group that may be called the French novels.

After a hiatus of three years this was followed by Alfred De Rosann and then his appropriation of Dickens’ Pickwick Papers, Pickwick Abroad, or The Tour of France in 1839, followed by Grace Darling also in 1939 and then in quick succession in 1840, Robert Macaire, The French Bandit In England, The Drunkard and The Steam Packet.

Then came the termination of the French period, Master Timothy’s Bookcase which took place in both France and England as Reynolds had returned to England in 1837. Both Pickwick Abroad and Master Timothy’s Bookcase were based on Dickens stories. Having no further source of inspiration Reynolds went dry for two years.

One imagines he put the two years to good use reading and thinking. Gathering his ideas together without format within which to place them. The bridge between the French group and the Mysteries series was image of two brothers and the two trees that were mentioned somewhat lovingly in Master Timothy.

Then the inspiration, the format, for his phenomenal period from 1844 to 1856 came from France in the fantastic novel of Eugene Sue: The Mysteries Of Paris. In his earlier period Reynolds explained quite clearly that his interest was in solving the mysteries of life. The two brothers and the two trees took immediate form in his mind and he rolled out the story that would consume 2500 pages or so working on many mysteries in the series called Mysteries of London. There was also a Mysteres de Londres published by Paul Feval in France beginning in 1843.

Now, the first premise of Master Timothy’s Bookcase was then of the mysteries or back stories that explained the true stories of certain events so there was a smooth continuation to his Mysteries of London. Once again Dickens was an influence as by 1844 several of his works had been published that dealt with the London sociology and its ‘mysteries.’

The Mysteries of London, a massive novel of 2500 pages in the two large volumes of today published by the Valancourt Press, was serialized over four years from 1844-48 while Reynolds’s supreme Masterpiece The Mysteries of the Court of London was as long running in weekly parts as today’s television series and as popular as Game of Thrones or Downton Abbey, from 1848 to 1856. The two works combined ran for a total of twelve years; a whole generation, almost, was brought up on these bestselling books.

One should also note that as there were no movies or TV at the time and most of the population was illiterate, well paying jobs, on a modest scale, were created as reading groups in which a reader read to a gathered audience. Thus, whether they charged a farthing, a half-penny or a penny, I know not, and perhaps had two or three reading groups, the reader probably lived well, well above their listeners that is.

More phenomenally the beginning and ending of Court of London bracketed eighteen other novels being composed during the same period. Nor were these minor works. Mary Price, for instance, ran close to a million words. Ellen Percy was equally long as was Joseph Wilmot. Court of London was itself five million words. I mean, these are staggering numbers. The Necromancer in the Valancourt edition runs to 600 pages of small print.

When I say bracketed, I mean that the inclusive novels must have involved problems that Reynolds was working out concurrently with the main frame Court of London. In my studies of Edgar Rice Burroughs, that author did the same thing. In his case he was unable to finish the novel that began the series as he solved his mental issues and when they were solved, he was able to finish his book.

While writing these eighteen novels while turning in weekly installments of the Mysteries of the Court of London Reynolds had to be working up two or three other novels at the same time and submitting weekly installments of those. This is a staggering work load. If it weren’t a fact, I would say it was impossible.

One can only marvel at such a capacious mind that had to be cogitating completely different stories and compartmentalizing his mind to keep them separate and coherent. Try that as a mental exercise. Absolutely impossible. The mere speed of writing to accomplish that must have been 60, 70 or even a hundred pages a day, one is stupefied. Reynolds had no problems with carpal tunnel either.

At the same time Reynolds was editing magazines and engaging in radical politics while he and his wife were raising eventually nine children. Reynolds was a superman guided by divine hands. At the same time he was keeping up on his reading and one can find traces of inspiration from that reading all through his works.

Of course, such intense mental activity took its toll on his brain. My reading is that his mind broke, or became worn out, while composing the conclusion of Court of London. Reynolds had kept this story going for eight years meaning that he to keep all the details in mind while writing more than a dozen other novels. Now this additional writing didn’t break his concentration on Court of London and that is phenomenal. The series is divided in two parts, or possible two related novels of five volumes each. The second part can be considered a sequel to the first. As the story draws to a close in his mind he has to bring several different strands including ones from eight years back, but interlocked, to a conclusion. This calls for all his ingenuity and super human concentration. As I read, I reared back in my chair exclaiming: Let’s see him pull this one off.

He announces in the text that he is going to have to concentrate intensively to do that. The astute reader can feel the effort, and he is straining, it’s almost like a runaway train careening down a mountain grade with the engineer struggling for control but then bringing the train safely into the station. I found it breathtaking but I also divined what the effort had taken out of him.

And in reading the chronological list of novels in Stephen Knight’s G.W.M. Reynolds And His Fiction I found my understanding confirmed. Consider that the great Alexandre Dumas pere, had also expended his mental energies and at roughly the same time. He too was exhausted by 60. Eugene Sue completed his last novel and died. All three men expended prodigious mental energies during their prolific careers. Walter Scott also blew his brain out by excessive mental activity.

Reynolds himself would die comparatively young of a broken head, strokes and brain hemorrhage. One can only thank him for his titanic energy during the 1840 and 50s. As a slow writer myself I hold G.W.M. Reynolds in reverence.

A Note On G.W.M. Reynolds On The

Reception Of His Pickwick Abroad

by

R.E. Prindle

 

In March 1836 Charles Dickens began his story The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club. The story was issued in weekly parts concluding in October 1838. The series had been a great success, actually moving fiction into its modern phase. G.W.M Reynolds- George William MacArthur- noting Pickwick’s phenomenal success decided to piggy back on Dicken’s success so he began a continuation of the novel called Pickwick Abroad beginning three months after Dickens last installment in January 1838 in weekly parts through Aug. 1839.

His continuation was a success also. It did dumbfound the literary circles who considered it a plagiarism. For Reynolds his appropriation of the whole of Dickens’ idea and his cast of characters and, indeed, only a couple months after Dickens concluded, Reynolds began. The public must have said something like: ‘Oh, too much of a good thing.’

Reynolds version was running concurrently with the publication of Dickens’ Pickwick Papers in book form. How much confusion and dismay this may have caused was probably profound. Unheard of. The public unaware with what was happening very likely thought that Pickwick Abroad was, in fact, a sequel to the Papers. Whether the sequel cut into sales of The Papers isn’t known; perhaps it augmented them, the story becoming one in the public mind.

Regardless of copyright violations, copyrights being ill formed at the time, the sheer effrontery of appropriating another writers success was astounding and deeply, even viscerally, resented by Dickens as why shouldn’t it have been. Dickens bore rancor in his heart while it was always remembered by the literary crowd as a gaffe on Reynold’s part.

Both men went on to subsequent great success over the next thirty odd years with Dickens being a legend still. Reynolds who was extremely prolific, composing as many as possibly 40 very long titles actually sold more copies than Dickens. As happens to writers who write copiously the mind becomes worn and exhausted by the age of 60; it loses its flexibility. Following the excellent short biography of Dick Collins as published as a forword in the Vallancourt edition of Reynold’s The Necromancer in about 1862 Reynolds had ceased to write novels and apparently through with that line of endeavor sold all his copyrights to his printer, John Dick. They had been associates through most of Reynolds career.

Now in possession of Reynolds’ copyrights Dick accordingly brought out an edition of the entire corpus save Pickwick Abroad. This would seem to mean that publishing that book would be embarrassing, or, perhaps Dickens may even have requested that exclusion. Perhaps so, but it did sting Reynolds to the core. So that his entire corpus would be available one presumes, Reynolds found a publisher to reissue Pickwick Abroad dated 1864.

The book contains two prefaces, the first appearing to be from the first edition and the second from the 1864 reissue. In it Reynolds make no apologies. I quote the second preface in full:

On perusing the work, preparatory to the issue of this present edition, I see nothing that I regret having written, or that I have thought it prudent to omit. The ensuing pages are, then, a faithful reprint of the original edition, without the slightest abridgement: the plates accompanying it are also those which were expressly designed for the work, by Alfred Crowquill and Mr. Phillips.

With these words do I introduce the new edition of “PICKWICK ABROAD” to the public—sincerely hoping that its cheapness will have the effect of multiplying a hundred fold the number of readers.

He wasn’t kidding about the cheapness either.

I think the feeling of insult by Dick’s omission of the book is deeply felt. And who knows but that a great of satisfaction by that omission was felt by Dickens.

There is also an issue of how long Reynolds resided in France. In the First Preface written in 1839 he says he resided among the French for ten years. If so, it was only possible from 1830 when he was sixteen to 1837-8 just before he turned 25. Collins who has researched he issue thinks that Reynolds was only in France for a couple of years from ’35 to ’37. One must choose between Reynolds and Collings. Now, the age figure 25 occurs frequently in Reynolds early writing usually in connection with a death. Psychologically, then, it would appear that the Reynolds of his youth died in 1839 when he was twenty-five and Pickwick Abroad was a success. In fact in the legend of Edmund Mortimer as told in Master Timothy’s Bookcase, Edmund Mortimer the literary alter ego of Reynolds, belongs to a family in which the male dies in his room in his mansion at the age of 25. Thus with the publication of Pickwick Abroad the previous G.W.M. Reynolds in the character of Edmund Mortimer died and the second G.W.M. Reynolds took his place. Reynolds was reborn in his mind in 1839. The legend of the Mortimers then continues into it eighth incarnation and through Reynolds II reborn from the ashes of Mortimer I, the Mortimer line lives on.

Another of the mysteries Reynolds so loved to unravel, this one a mystery of his heart.

The Mysteries of G.W.M. Reynolds

by

R.E. Prindle

Part I

 

It is now over two hundred years past since Walter Scott ended his great series of novels. Closing in on two hundred years since G.W.M. Reynolds began his truly amazing career that puts him in the pantheon of great novelists. Not exactly the household word of his contemporary, Charles Dickens, but after a century of neglect he is now making a belated reappearance. With the rise of on demand publishing his whole extensive catalog is now available although it requires some searching. The British Library is leader in the field.

Unfortunately the BL is reprinting the Dick’s English Library editions that use diamond point for print. At least the books aren’t heavy. For anyone beginning reading Reynolds, Valancourt Press of the US has a beautiful paperback edition of what may be Reynolds’ most popular work, the 2400 page Mysteries Of London. That book was inspired by the French writer Eugene Sue’s great work The Mysteries of Paris.

If your mind is attuned to the period Eugene Sue who was as prolific, if not more so, than Reynolds, is just as readable especially his two great masterpieces Mysteries of Paris and the Wandering Jew. The latter book has nothing to do with Jews, rather the Jesuits, but Sue uses the medieval legend of the Wandering Jew as a framing device.

Sue inspired Reynolds for numerous titles. Reynolds was accused of plagiarizing frequently and this may be true in the sense that he often used their structures. Dumas had Auguste Maquet who researched material and provided a story outline that allowed Dumas to put his entire effort into composition without having to invent the story line so he could clothe the skeleton of the story. In that sense Sue’s Mysteries of Paris provided the format for what was already in Reynolds’ mind.

Sue and Reynolds were part of that crop of novelists born from 1800 to 1816 and either died or petered out about 1860. Their brains were exhausted, worn out by their prodigious output. His contemporaries are the key to understanding Reynolds’ work. They were all essentially sociologists and psychologists. It might be advisable here to note that Reynolds born in 1814 left England at the age of sixteen on his own arriving in France in the turmoil succeeding the French Revolution of 1830 then returning to England in 1837.

Those seven years were the most formative years of his life. Not unlike the end of the century’s George Du Maurier who spent his childhood as a Frenchman then going to England with his French heritage. Reynolds developed an Anglo-French style of writing. His is not the pure English style of the period. It is much richer and fuller. He digs deeper.

As in his 1840 novel Master Timothy’s Bookcase he explains that his joy in life is exploring and explaining mysteries, getting behind the effects and seeking causes. He is not satisfied with surface appearances. He does so with spectacular results. Unfortunately he began his career by plagiarizing the characters and basic plot, such as it was, of Charles Dickens, (born 1812) Pickwick Papers, not to mention parodying Dickens’ title: Master Humphrey’s Clock with Master Timothy’s Bookcase. The loss of credibility cost Reynolds as he was shunned by the literary establishment while opening a feud that lasted their lives through.

Reynolds shows his rue in the 1864 reissue of Pickwick Abroad. To justify himself, in a preface he quotes from ‘a small sample of the favorable reviews which the greater portion of the press bestowed upon “Pickwick Abroad.”

‘From the Sunday Times: “Mr. Reynolds proceeds in his striking imitation of Boz (Charles Dickens). Would it were not so. The writer has powers that may be more worthily employed to working out an original story (which to a certain degree, this is) in an original manner.”’

And then from the Sun: ‘”In Pickwick Abroad” were not the work built upon another man’s foundation we should say it was one of the cleverest and most original productions of the modern British Press. We rise from the first Number with the only regret that Charles Dickens himself had not written it.’

In such a manner Reynolds tries to justify himself. As the work was published serially over twenty numbers and the second quote refers only to the first Number, by the twentieth part Reynolds himself seeks to exculpate his plagiarism, or perhaps, borrowing might be a kinder word. Afterall, Chretian de Troyes work The Holy Grail had four different continuators. Perhaps Reynolds should have described his Pickwick Abroad as a ‘continuation.’ But no, as we will see, he tried to appropriate Dickens characters.

Nevertheless, in his last part p. 607 of the 1864 reissue he writes:

“We must now think of bidding adieu to our friends” said Mr. Pickwick, “and of shortening the hour of departure as much as possible. One of the most important periods of my life has been passed in Paris; and though I have occasionally met with disagreeable adventures, still the reminiscences of them are almost entirely effaced from my mind by the many – many happy hours that I have spent in this great city since the day I left England. The numerous songs, tales, and anecdotes that I have heard or read are carefully entered in my memorandum book; and on my return to England I shall place the whole in the hands of some gentleman connected with the press, and who at the same time is conversant with France, and acquainted with the character of her inhabitants, for the purpose of laying them before the public in proper form.”

“The talented editor of your travels and adventures in England would be the most fitting for such a work,” observed Mr. Chitty. “He is the most popular writer of the day, and from the manner he executed the important task you formerly entrusted to his care and abilities certainly deserves your confidence in this instance.”

“No, –” returned Mr. Pickwick: “I am sorry to say that he declines the labour, and it therefore remains for me to find one who will be bold enough to take it, with the fear of being called imitator and plagiarist before his eyes. I am perfectly aware that there will be much hypercriticism to contend with – that many journalists will be severe, if not actually overwhelming, in their remarks on the new undertaking.”

‘Severe and overwhelming.’ Reynolds must have been bold indeed to continue through twenty parts, reach a conclusion and be off and running in a career that would span twenty-three years and involve from 20 to 35 million words. This guy, Reynolds turned out enormous works one right after the other, without pause and sometimes working on two or three at a time. Just amazing.

His masterwork, The Mysteries of the Court of London ran to ten volumes and about 5000 pages and took him eight years to finish while writing other novels. Marcel Proust is still blushing.

The Court of London is too staggering. There is no let up over the course of the work.

He was fortunate in his choice of wife in that she wrote for herself while also being the first editor who transcribed what must have been scurrilous penmanship as Reynolds must have been turning out thirty to fifty pages a day. The mere editorship must have been a consuming task. In addition, Reynolds kept a close eye on French literature as is evident by who he borrowed from. Sue (born 1804) was a constant source after his Mysteries of Paris published in parts 1841-43. Reynolds must have been reading the parts when issued. Paul Favel (born 1816) who wrote his own Mysteries of London beginning in 1843 which very probably was an influence on Reynolds who was keeping a close eye on literature from France. Favel is quite worthy too.

At least Reynolds implies as much in his 1840 novel Master Timothy’s Bookcase in which his apparent alter ego is the hero Edmund Mortimer. As a foundation for his later work Bookcase is essential reading. A stunning work in itself it is as nothing to Mysteries of London and The Court of London. Reynolds had a very powerful mind. He was capable of extraordinary mental gymnastics discussing the most complicated subjects in readily understandable terms.

Bookcase borrows the title and in a nearly unrecognizable form the method of Dickens’ Master Humphrey’s Clock. There was no need for Reynolds to make reference to Dickens work, or as roughly as Reynolds says he was treated for Pickwick Abroad, it was not enough to make him stop. Indeed the feud or assault continued to Dickens’ death which came before Reynolds’.

In Humphrey’s Clock, a number of old stories, were stored in the clock case from which members of Humphrey’s club extracted stories to read. Reynolds took the notion to a level that was impossible for Dicken to match.

The premise of the Bookcase concerns seven members of the Mortimer family as told through the life of the last Mortimer, Edmund. The genius of the family appears before each generation in turn and offers to give them through life the quality they think will make them happy.

The first Mortimer chose glory, the next literary fame, then love, success in all enterprises, Health, Wealth and finally Edmund the hero of our story chose Universal Understanding. Of course, for each quality there was an upside and a downside; in all cases the downside prevailed eroding happiness and becoming a curse.

Reynolds very cleverly shows the downside of universal understanding. The Genius of the family named Timothy provides Edmund with a magical bookcase that solves all mysteries for him. Like his subconscious the bookcase is always with him providing a written scroll to answer whatever mystery Edmund asks.

If one remembers the US radio commentator Paul Harvey, his shtick was : You’ve heard the story, now, here’s the backstory. Harvey explains the mystery much as Timothy’s magical bookcase does.

One is also reminded of The Divine Pymander of Hermes Trismegistus, tr. 1650. In it the scholar explains how Poemander helped him solve mysteries. Reynolds was very well read so there is no reason to believe he hadn’t read the book. The scholar explains the situation thus:

My thoughts being once seriously busied about the things that are, and my Understanding lifted up, all my bodily Senses being exceedingly holden back, as it is with them that are heavy of sleep, by reason either of fulness of meat, or of bodily labour; Methought I saw one of an exceeding great stature, and of an infinite greatness, call me by my name, and say unto me, ‘What wouldst thou hear and see: Or what wouldst thou understand to learn and know?

Then I said, Who art thou? I am, quoth he, Poemander, the mind of the great Lord, the most mighty and absolute Emperor: I know what thou wouldst have, and I am always present with thee.

Then I said, I would learn the things that are, and understand the nature of them, and know God, How? Said he. I answered that I would gladly hear. Then said he, Have me again in mind, and whatsoever thou wouldst learn, I will teach thee.

And there you have the magic bookcase, the unconscious of Freud, the auto-suggestion of Emile Coue. The biblical injunction: Seek and ye shall find. In a reasonable sense Edmund took the particulars of a situation worked them through on an unconscious or semi-conscious sense just as Reynolds does in his explications.

Thus, through the first couple hundred pages Reynolds has Edmund living his life, meeting people and involving himself in their problems, the back stories of which are explained by recourse to Timothy’s magic bookcase.

All goes well until Edmund is accused of a murder which he didn’t commit but which circumstantial evidence indicates he did. In trying extricate himself his explanations were so vague and bizarre to his judges, but not to we readers, that he is convicted and sentenced to be hanged but then he is considered to be insane and his sentence is commuted to life imprisonment in the Bicetre Insane Asylum.

He is then sent to the famous French prison for the insane where he is considered to be a mono-maniac. He is imprisoned with three other mono-maniacs. Now, Reynolds wants to introduce a discussion of the circulation blood. I think this really clever the way he leads his story to this point, creating a false ending with the monomaniac interlude and then Edmund will be freed from the life sentence when during the 1830 French revolution the revolutionaries throw open the prison doors and unleash a small army of loonies on Paris.

Edmund’s fellow inmate, a doctor, had contested William Harvey’s right to be called the discoverer of the circulation of blood, contending that Plato had been before him. Reynold’s describes the situation:

‘The first (monomaniac) was an old man of sixty-five, with long grey flowing locks, with long grey hair flowing from the back part of his head, the crown and region of the temples being completely bald. He was short in stature, stooping in his gait, and possessed of a countenance eminently calculated to afford a high opinion of his intellectual powers, he was however a monomaniac of no common description. Bred to the medical profession he had given, when at an early age, the most unequivocal proofs of a fertile and vigorous imagination. He first attracted attention towards the singularity of his conceptions by disputing the right of the Englishman, Dr. Harvey, to the honour of having first discovered the circulation of the blood. He maintained that Harvey merely revived the doctrine, and that it was known to the ancients. This opinion he founded upon the following passage in Plato:–“The heart is the centre of a knot of the blood -vessels, the spring or fountain of the blood, which is carried impetuously around: the blood is the food of the flesh; and for that purpose of nourishment, the body is laid out into canals, like those which we draw through gardens, that the blood may be conveyed as from a fountain, to every part of the previous system.”

The young physician was laughed at for venturing to contradict a popular belief, and was assailed by the English press for attempting to deprive we Englishmen of the initiative honour of the discovery. He was looked upon as an enthusiast, and lost all the patronage he had first obtained by his abilities.

Thus, Reynolds as part of his story introduces an extraneous discussion of the circulation of the blood in which he was interested. And then Reynolds goes on to explain the purposes of what will be his own more than vast body of work.

“Of a surety…there are individuals in his world whose motives are so strange that they escaped human comprehension. Many an action in a man’s life is explained by some little sentiment or feeling, lurking at the bottom of his soul, and buried in the most infallible mystery. The most extraordinary and important deeds are frequently regulated or indeed engendered, by motives so trivial that, if judged by the side of other men’s minds, they would appear totally incapable of exercising so powerful a control over a sensible imagination. We are apt to exclaim against the explanations frequently given by romanticists and novelists, to account for the conduct of the heroes or heroines, as unnatural and being at variance with probability; but, in the great volume of human nature, we trace the motives of character, and eccentricities of disposition, which seem to justify the wildest descriptions of the professed dealers in fiction. No romance, which emanates from the imagination is so romantic as the tales of real life. Oh! If the veil were withdrawn from all eyes—if the whole world could read the mysteries and secrets of the heart—how much villainy would be suddenly exposed—how much how many unjust suspicions explained—and how many supposed motives of applause as rapidly turned into evident causes of blame.

So, there you have the goals towards which Reynolds is striving in all his work with his very powerful mind.

After Edmund escapes from the Bicetre Asylum he immediately returns to England. Here the stories of deep mystery end and there is an interlude before a long story titled The Marriage of Mr. Pickwick. Ends the book. I will deal with the Pickwick story in another part.

It would appear that the French part of the Bookcase story represents Reynolds’ sojourn in France in fictionalized or perhaps, hypnoid state. In the interlude Reynolds looks back and examines that stay from a more sober point of view. Here in an interesting interchange between Edmund, already an alter ego, with another man who appears to be a different alter ego. The second alter ego gives a different brief history of what might have been a portrait of Reynolds in France seen from a different perspective. It is well to bear in mind that Reynolds arrived in France when he was sixteen with a very ample inheritance of 12,000 pounds. Such a young sport with money must have been seen as easy prey to sharpers. As his stories are replete with such characters and stories, indeed, Pickwick Abroad is a virtual catalog of sharp and indeed, criminal practices, Reynolds must have had the same approximate encounters. It is most likely that at least one or two succeeded and probably more as he went through 12,000 pounds in six years. Here is the passage; Edmund, the sober Reynolds and Mr. Ferguson, the flighty Reynolds.:

As Sir Edmund was returning home…he stopped for a moment to request a light for his cigar at a lonely cottage which stood on the way to his own mansion. A young man with a pale countenance and yet with an ironical and smirking expression thereupon, answered the knock on the door, which stood half open. The individual immediately addressed Sir Edmund by name and claimed acquaintance with him.

“I have seen you before,” said he:–your face is familiar to me.”

“I reside in the neighborhood,” answered the baronet; “and that may be the reason—”

“No.” Interpolated the stranger. “ I have seen you elsewhere. I never stir out of my own house and therefore well aware that I couldn’t have seen you in the vicinity. I was once a man of the world, now I am a misanthrope.”

“Indeed,” said Sir Mortimer; “and yet,” he added glancing around him, “methinks that for a misanthrope you are tolerably comfortable.”

“It was in Paris that I saw you.” Exclaimed the stranger, without heeding the observation, and having reflected for a moment. “Ah, now I remember you well, and who you are—and the strange adventure which befell you there. But, believe me, I am delighted to see you released from that horrid dungeon into which you were cast. I never believed your guilt,–I knew you were innocent,–indeed, I was fully able to judge of the force of a combination of circumstances, all collected against you, from my own experience in a most extraordinary scene of adventures, and yet”, he added with remarkable rapidity of utterance, which was evidently characteristic of him, “mine was rather a laughable than a serious history. Did you know me by name in Paris? Did you ever hear of Mr. Ferguson, who had acquired the honourable distinction to the name of the ‘Man of the world? No! Well—I believe I was as much entitled to the name as the Barber in the ‘Arabian Nights Entertainments’ was to that of Silent…’

Undoubtedly as a sixteen year old in 1830 Reynolds over the next six years flattered himself as being a man of the world, which he was, he ruefully recalls, as much as the obviously talkative Barber in the Arabian Nights had received the sarcastic name of Silent.

Also Reynolds having read the Arabian Nights shows how he must have passed much of his time in France. The work was translated into French from 1702-1713 by Antoine Galland and first in England as late as 1844 by Edward Lane.

Reynolds was exceptionally well read for such a young man. He was only twenty-six in 1840 when this book was written. He was interested in all the Liberal Arts including psychology as being developed by the great Anton Mesmer and his successors and hence the inkling of the sub- or unconscious. And he considered himself a teacher. Quite extraordinary.

As there will be discontinuity between this period and part two and three I will discontinue here and pick up on the continuation shortly.

 

3477 words

Thoughts On Mr. Bezos’ Pecker Problem

by

R.E. Prindle

https://medium.com/@jeffreypbezos/no-thank-you-mr-pecker-146e3922310f

Let’s keep the ball rolling on this issue that Mr. Bezos has brought to our attention.   We have little idea of the behind the senses activity so we can only deal with what is public.

It seems that the Mr. Bezos owned Washington Post has been attacking Mr. David Pecker’s publication the National Enquirer, itself owned by a corporation calling itself AMI.

The sin of the NE as identified by Mr. Bezos is being in contact with Saudi Arabia. This seems strange as the Saudis are publicized as one of our stalwart allies, second only to Israel. It is difficult to see the offence even if it relates somehow to Pres. Trump. Yet this seems to be the basis of Mr. Bezos’ and the WP’s complaint.

There does seem to be some involvement with government investigators between Mr. Bezos, the WP and the Mueller outfit.

Mr. Bezos make this incomprehensible statement:

Quote:

Federal investigators and legitimate media…suspected and proved that Mr. Pecker has used the Enquirer and AMI for political reasons.

Unquote:

I have always held Mr. Bezos in high regard for his unbelievable commercial success but here he makes the incomprehensible statement that it is wrong that newspapers have political reasons in publishing. Has Mr. Bezos never heard of the Editorial page? Are not stories and their characterizations used for political purposes? Do not newspapers endorse and recommend their favorite candidates? Good Lord, doesn’t Mr. Bezos own the Washington Post and use it for defaming Pres. Trump?

Actually, he does know it. (One wonders if Mr. Bezos doesn’t also own the Medium site, the site on which he chose to expose himself.) Mr. Bezos calls his ownership of the WP a ‘complexifier’. In other words it compromises him.

Quote:

Even though the Post is a complexifier for me, I do not regret my investment. (The Post loses tens of millions of dollars a year; some investment. More a vanity and/or political project.)

The Post is a critical institution with a critical mission. My stewardship (note the word) of the Post and my support of its mission, which will be unswerving (and) remain unswerving…

Unquote.

Very well, but can’t Mr. Pecker say the same about his relationship with the National Enquirer. Is the NE really any less legitimate than the WP? Is Mr. Bezos mouthpiece any less reprehensible in its political ‘mission’ to discredit Pres. Trump?

Mr. Bezos then says:

Quote:

Back to the story: Several days ago, an AMI leader, (Editor I presume Mr. Bezos means) advised us (us being whom?) that Mr. Pecker went “apoplectic” about our investigation. For reasons still to be better understood, the Saudi angle seems to be a particularly sensitive nerve.

Unquote.

Why should it? Didn’t Pres. Obama make an obsequious bow from the hip while placeing his hand in the Saudi king’s hand as a sign of fealty?

There we have the crux of the matter. Mr. Pecker’s counter attack. Apparently fighting back is not kosher to Mr. Bezos.

After having been married to a lovely lady for twenty-five years, and building the most successful gigantic business on the planet Mr. Bezos decided he needs a hot babe and so he went out and bought one (for lack of a better word) not only that he bought a married one.

In this romance Mr. Bezos, who is perhaps one of the top ten tech wizards in the world inexplicably sent and exchanged pornographic photos with his Hot Tamale. These emails and photos were then given or sold to the NE by someone.

Mr. Bezos believes that the Pres. somehow hacked them. Where they came from is beside the point but the NE categorically denies they got them by hacking. Using Occam’s Razor the most obvious suspect is the Hot Tamale. After all if you had bagged a guy worth 150 billion dollars wouldn’t you want the world to know? What Hot Tamale wouldn’t? Anent that we have heard no objections from the husband and no filing for divorce.

In frustration the NE tried to negotiate with Mr. Bezos offering to squelch publications if he gave up his unwarranted persecution of them on the WP.

Mr. Bezos chooses to call this offer extortion and blackmail. Mr. Bezo’s will hopefully pardon a knowing smile on our part.

One wonders at what strategic moment Mr. Bezos will choose to announce his candidacy for President of the United States. I think you just killed your chances, Sir.

A Review: Foreign Affairs Magazine

Jan.-Feb. 2018 Issue

The Undead Past: How Nations

Confront The Evils Of History

by

R.E. Prindle

Part I

 

In this issue of the official gazette of the CFR (Council On Foreign Relations) the Editors examine the moanings of those citizens of the world who believe the past still lives and of those who feel no obligation to mourn the doings of previous centuries but yet must suffer the torments of hell forever for what are deemed the sins of their fathers. May heaven deliver the latter from the former.

Perhaps the model for those who live their lives in hatred for the dead past whose deeds have never affected them are the Jews who even today bemoan, and make for a narrative for their lives, the deeds of a long forgotten king named Haman who existed some twenty-five hundred years ago in a society that ceased to exist at about the same time. Haman’s descendants have disappeared in the ceaseless flow of time, yet his memory is deplored in the Haman shrieks in synagogues across the world today.

The CFR seems possessed, I believe possessed is the right word, by events that can have no other than a ghostly effect on them. In this issue of Foreign Affairs the Editors examine the feelings of the walking dead suffering from the Undead Past that haunts the corridors of their minds.

How do nations handle the sins of their fathers and mothers? Take genocide, or slavery, or political mass murder. After such knowledge what forgiveness—and what way forward?

Are the Editors deranged? Nations don’t handle anything, the people do. And once you’re dealing with citizens, you can examine their psychology to put matters into a correct perspective. They believe their angst is universal throughout the population, or should be. Nothing can be further from the truth. A very large proportion of the people have no such qualms as these. Legions of us do not share the Editors’ sense of guilt or shame.

Any rational person is well aware that human passions can be inscrutable while there are no innocents. Let the dead past bury its dead. Have done with them. Life is for the living. Those sayings do not require quotes, they live throughout history as well as today.   The Editors continue:

The Germans have a word for it, of course: Vergungenheitsbewaltigung, or “coming to terms with the past.” But the concept is applicable far beyond the Nazis—as Americans belatedly recognized when Robert E. Lee shot to the front of the culture wars last August after the riots in Charlottesville, Virginia.

To acknowledge ‘culture wars’ means that the Editors do recognize that by the term Americans, they mean that there is no monolithic America. Not all Americans think as the Editors do. The others, the Deplorables, to use Hillary Clintons term of abuse are misguided animals who don’t count and, moreover, shouldn’t, must never count. They are people who shame this great democracy of theirs. The Hillbillies, the Rednecks, the unwashed, knuckle dragging ignorami, the off scourings of humanity.

The Editors ignore not only their own faulty bigoted psychology but project it onto others.

Not surprisingly the Editors’ lead article is entitled ‘America’s Original Sin’. Even less surprising they have chosen as their advocate the dread locked Negro female, Harvard’s so=called historian, Annette Gordon-Reed.

Miss Reed is unmistakably an Affirmative Action hire from the African-American studies department. Her article takes the form of a complaint as one might expect. Her understandings reflect her grievances: America has never lived up to its high flown rhetoric of the Constitution while she believes that slavery lives on in White Supremacists’ hearts as it does in her’s and her Negro fellows. White Supremacists do not want to re-enslave the Negro, they want to send them back to Africa. A subtle difference.  Miss Gordon-Reed continues:

Consider, by contrast, what might have happened had there been Irish chattel slavery in North America. Irish suffered pervasive discrimination and were subjected to crude and cruel stereotypes about their alleged inferiority, but they were never kept as slaves. Had they been freed, there is every reason to believe they would have had an easier time assimilating into American culture than have African-Americans. Their enslavement would be a major historical fact, but it would likely not have created a legacy so firmly tying the past to the present as did African Chattel slavery. Indeed, the descendants of white indentured servants [slaves] blended into society, and today suffer no stigma because of their ancestors’ social condition.

Let us examine the above quote. Miss Gordon-Reed obviously believes that Whites look down on Negroes because the race was once enslaved in America. I have never heard any White demean Negroes because the race had once been slaves.

In fact, as Miss Gordon-Reed admits, and as I have maintained elsewhere, that the real issue is that masters were White. As she points out slavery before had always been of the same race so there was no racial inferiority contrast. Thus, when Lincoln emancipated the Negroes they ceased being slaves but remained Negroes. The issue was not former servitude but race. Of course in any society a former slave would take about three generations to live down the stigma, but Negroes were outside that convention because, she says, of race.

Nor, was it a simple matter of ceasing to be slaves that was the problem. In ancient Rome the Romans enslaved the culturally superior Greeks. The Greeks were advanced thinkers compared to the Romans, thus they became the instructors of the Romans even though slaves. One must compare that situation with Negro slaves who had nothing to offer Whites except their labor. As the Greeks were superiors to the Romans, the Whites were far and away superior to the Negroes. And therein lies the problem.

While Negroes were relatively few in numbers before 1800 they represented about 20% of the population. Then in 1794 Eli Whitney patented the cotton gin making cotton growing on a mass scale viable. This created the need for increased importation of Negroes. This coincided with the ban on the importation of Negroes in 1808 but the importation went on illegally. Thus there was a phenomenal increase of the number of Negroes until 1860. When Lincoln emancipated the slaves, then, perhaps a majority of Negroes were fresh from the jungle being totally unacquainted with civilization. These were some rude dudes, raw recruits, as it were.

Lincoln perhaps took this into account but the abolitionists didn’t. Hence when the real invasion of the South by the North took place during Reconstruction (that is one terrifying word) and the Negroes were placed over the Whites the juxtaposition of qualities was unnatural, intolerable to the Whites, it could not be allowed to go on.

If the Greeks had revolted against the Romans and the roles were reversed that would have still been two very capable peoples. The horror of being placed under the governance of such a motley crew was palpable. Thus from 1865 to 1877 deprived of all rights by Northern bigots while suffering under Negroes who in nearly all cases could neither read nor write while being linguistically inarticulate. There is small wonder that Jim Crow succeeded slavery.

The situation is, perhaps, an unpleasant reality, but something that Miss Gordon-Reed as a historian should have taken into some account. As a polemicist she is free to speak as wildly as she likes but being a Negro does not excuse her as an historian. Certainly, the Editors of Foreign Affairs could see this. She is not an historian and not up to what people believe are the standards of America’s foremost university.

Her handling of the Irish situation also betrays a near complete lack of understanding. She has no grasp of the racial problems of the Irish and English, that is, the Celts and the Germans. Those racial problems far anteceded any Negro-White relations. While the Irish may not have been chattel slaves on the North American continent they surely were in the New World. The English Puritan Cromwell having overrun Ireland rounded up tens of thousands of Irish and sold them into chattel slavery in the Caribbean Islands where they worked the fields until death alongside Negro chattel slaves.

Further, something that Miss Gordon-Reed should take into account is that Negroes in Africa were sold by the Chiefs to the Whites. Nobody beat the bush for them to drag them from the jungles. In contrast, Cromwell, as it were, stole the Irish in much the same way that the Nazis rounded up the Jews. There was no compensation paid to anyone for the Irish.

Now, while Miss Gordon-Reed claims some sort of solidarity with the Negroes of the US, I also claim solidarity with my fellow Whites now so meanly treated. If she can claim an injury done to them as an injury done to her, I claim the same with the White slaves of the Caribbean. And that doesn’t exclude now non-Irish White indentured slaves on the North American continent.

Still further, English waifs and unprotected children as well as any unwary adults were taken from the streets of England’s cities, transported to the colonies and sold lock, stock and barrel in the colonies.

If she has read R.L. Stevenson’s Kidnapped she will see that the protagonist was intended to be sold in the colonies, saved only by a shipwreck. I hope that Miss Gordon-Reed can empathize with me as I do with her. Our pain is mutual.

Over all Miss Gordon-Reed has a thick headed inability to place matters in context which distorts and invalidates her analysis,

One thing she fails to understand is that the South was not responsible for chattel slavery. Southerners never went looking for Negro slaves. That was done by New England sea captains. In the early years the trafficking was between Africa, South America and the Caribbean islands. Only when the American colonies had been settled, as an afterthought unsold Africans were taken to North America seeking to make a new market and palmed off on the Whites. Originally Negro slavery was legal and practiced in all the English colonies. Only gradually was it rejected colony by colony while still being practiced under one legal pretext or another in several Northern States at the time of the Civil War.

Miss Gordon-Reed quotes Alexander Stephens, VP of the Confederate States thusly:

The prevailing ideas entertained by (Jefferson) and most of the leading statesmen at the time of the formation of the old (US) constitution (not the Confederate one) were that enslavement of the African was in violation of the laws of nature; that it was wrong in principle, socially, morally, and politically….Those ideas, however, were fundamentally wrong. They relied upon the assumption of the equality of the races. This was in error.

And so, there we get to the crux of the problem Miss Gordon-Reed admitted when she complained that never before had one race enslaved another race. Mr. Stephens thought that the great truth was that the Negro was not equal to the White man. Now, this remains the issue today. Is there a fundamental difference between the two races?

It may be true that the two races are fungible but is that the true quality that unites the races or does it just mean that evolution has not reached the point negating fungibility?

The Southern observation seems to have been proven by science although for social and political reasons those scientific facts are being suppressed. Indeed, any expression of them is severely and criminally punished. The very scientist who discovered DNA, James Watson, at 90 years of age, had his life and career destroyed and his achievements wiped from the books when he mildly responded to a question about racial differences between Whites and Blacks that the news coming out of Africa was not good.

Is it possible to denounce a scientist of preeminent achievements based solely on a few innocuous words like ‘it doesn’t look good? Not by any people revering the Constitution such as Miss Gordon-Reed claims to be here. The crime against Mr. Watson was committed out of sheer bigotry.

So, while I understand fully the motivations of the Editors of the CFR magazine, Foreign Affairs, and while I think Miss Gordon-Reed is undoubtedly a wonderful person the CFR should have chosen a more qualified historian to express their opinion which is all Miss Gordon-Reed has done. It has been done before; it wasn’t necessary to do it again. We all know the story.

Peggy Noonan And Alabama Women

by

R.E. Prindle

 

Peggy Noonan came up with an interesting essay in the Wall Street Journal of 11/18-19/17 concerning the sexual issue, specifically concerning Alabama’s Roy Moore, who, as far as I can tell, committed no crimes .

Ever sensitive about Republican sexual peccadilloes the Democratic perverts are forcing Moore to undergo a second confirmatory election to give the Democrats another shot at defeating him. Good god, how they wish they could have forced Trump into a second confirmatory to give Hilary a second chance of winning and how they would have been driven committable had he won. Not as bad thing actually as we would have been relieved of the whole miserable lot.

I don’t know that Doug Jones, chosen to run against Moore, has been sexually vetted to insure he is clean, but in any event Peg approvingly quotes Jones: I’m not in favor of anything that is going to infringe on a woman’s right and freedom to choose.

This is a live issue with certain women: they insist that they choose what they do with their body. Yes, indeed, but this has societal and legal ramifications with real consequences.

The first issue is when is a woman a woman? At the time Jerry Lee Lewis was pushed down in the mire for marrying his 13 year old cousin it was legal in his home State; he was completely within the law and his and his wife’s rights. She should have been free to do with her body as she wished. Nevertheless Jerry Lee was literally crucified.

Recent laws have pushed statutory rape to the age of eighteen. Any male who has sexual relations with a sub-eighteen, even by a day, sub-eighteen himself or not is guilty of statutory rape.

At the same time in girls’ or women’s terms any girl still a virgin past sixteen is a retard. There’s a conflict there isn’t there? Who is going to deflower the women and yet with few exceptions every girl of sixteen has been deflowered? Still, women say that it is every woman’s right to do with her body as she wishes.

Let us assume then that a girl becomes a woman at fourteen when her womanly attributes become obvious and she knows it and struts her stuff. So, the law forbids a woman to function as a woman for four long years when her hormones are driving her crazy.

And this raises the question of prostitution. If a woman can dispose of her body as she wishes then she has the right to sell her favors. In this day and age that would be for several thousand dollars a night. Obviously, the laws as now written prevent women from becoming easy millionaires by forbidding her to use her body as she wishes. Technically this is unjust.

Even more unjust is arresting some poor John who has done no wrong in purchasing a woman’s product of which she is free to dispose.

Of course, the law forbids a woman from exercising this privilege or right. Like marijuana advocates say when the product is made legal crime will cease.

This then poses a problem for candidate Doug Jones. Regardless of whether he favored young women Moore will have been perfectly within his rights, in the above considerations, in pursuing the women as long as didn’t use force. Rape, of course, violates the woman’s right. That they may have acquiesced to the importunatations of Moore doesn’t mean Moore is liable for any censure. The women have no complaint. Certainly a firm no or I’ll call the police would have sufficed to dissuade anyone but a rapist.

So, the whole sexual brou ha ha appears to based on outmoded laws or behavior of women if women are to truly have control of their body. If they err in judgment that is their own concern. If they want to terminate a pregnancy the day before birth or even murder the new born it is the product of their own body and no concern to society. Right?

How The West Was Lost

September 20, 2017

The Past Is Prologue:

How The West Was Lost

by

R.E. Prindle

 

The following is a quote from Vo. V of Mark Sullivan’s great social history, Our Times. The quote is a critique of Woodrow Wilson’s politics:

Of the effects of (WWI) on America, by far the most fundamental was our submission to autocracy in government. Every male between 18 and 45 had been deprived of freedom of his body – for refusing or evading the surrender, 163,738 were apprehended and disciplined, many by jail sentences. Every person had been deprived of freedom of his tongue, no one could utter dissent from the purpose or the method of war – for violating the sedition act, 1597 persons were arrested. Every business man was shorn of dominion over his factory or store, every housewife surrendered control of her table, every farmer was forbidden to sell his wheat except at the price the government fixed. Our institutions, the railroads, the telephones and telegraphs, the coal mines were taken under government control—the list was complete when, after the war and preceding the Peace Conference, Wilson took control of the trans-Atlantic cables. The prohibition of individual liberty in the interest of the state could hardly be more complete. “In the six months after our entry into the war the United States had been transformed from a highly individualistic system…into what was almost a great socialistic state in which the control of the whole industry, life and purpose of the nation was directed from Washington. It was an amazing transformation, for nothing like it had ever been attempted before on any such scale, and the process was wholly antipathetic to our ordinary ways of doing things.” It was the greatest submission by the individual to the state that had occurred in any country at any time. It was an abrupt reversal of the evolution that had been under way for centuries. Since the Magna Charta, substantially all political change had been in the direction of cumulative taking of power from the state for the benefit of the individual. Now in six months, in America the state took back, the individual gave up, what had taken centuries of contest to win.

It was not merely that we had passed through the experience of enforced submission or voluntary surrender or both. The results remained with us. Government had learned that we could be led to do it, had learned the technique of bringing the individual to give up his liberty, the cunning of propaganda, the artfulness of slogans, and the other methods for inciting mass solidarity and mass action, for causing majorities to insist on conformance by minorities.

The purpose for which we did this, as described by the one who urged us to it and led us into it was “the destruction of every arbitrary power anywhere,” “ to make the world safe for democracy,” a purpose to save the peoples of all nations, including and especially Germany, from autocratic government; a purpose to have the individualist ideal of society…triumph in a struggle against the ideal of regimentation….

That purpose reviewed fifteen years later in the light of what had meantime happened in the world, seemed very ironic indeed – Germany and Italy under dictators, Russia under a dictatorship called proletarian but more extreme in its deprivation of individual liberty than any personal dictator or absolute monarch attempted, American industry and social organization in the beginning of what was aimed toward regimentation. (Roosevelt administration.) End of quote’

 

Thus Wilson’s socialist politics violently wrenched Americans from a history of freedom into one of servitude. The people who aided Wilson in his attempt at a dictatorship and socialist organization of society did not disappear when Harding was elected. The Council On Foreign Affairs was set up in 1921 on Wilsonian principles. They continued in their attempt to shape America into a socialist state hindered by the three Republican presidents of the twenties, finally getting their man FDR elected in 1932. They then, the same Wilsonian crowd, returned to power setting about to complete what Wilson had begun.

Much of their program was achieved but hindered by the Second World War and Roosevelt’s death. Then began a long clandestine effort to change American mores. They seized moral control so that any who dissented from their program was labeled as anti-social, a racist or whatever. Then, when Obama was elected their man was in the Office again. Obama immediately set about to reestablish the Wilsonian dictatorship. He made great strides but the CFR wished to proceed more or less Constitutionally so they allowed an election fully expecting it to be between their two candidates Jeb Bush and Hillary Clinton. A wild card, Donald Trump, unexpectedly ‘stole’ the election. Had Hillary been elected she would have been able to complete the socialist revolution clamping the Wilsonian dictatorship on us.

Currently they are involved in discrediting Pres. Trump in preparation for forcing him to resign as they did Richard Nixon. I’m sure they will succeed.

A Review:

David Amram’s Vibrations and Offbeat

by

R.E. Prindle

 

Amram, David: Downbeat: Thunder’s Mouth Press, 2002

Amram, David: Vibrations, original MacMillan’s 1968, this issue Thunder’s Mouth Press 2001

Wakefield, Dan: New York In The Fifties, Houghton, Mifflin/Seymour Lawrence, 1992

 

While apparently but few have ever heard of David Amram yet he was a significant figure in the Sixties and beyond. He was or is a musician, French Horn player and composer. A couple of his movie soundtrack credits, The Manchurian Candidate and Splendor In The Grass of the Fifties give some indication of his recognition in the entertainment world although having seen both movies I had no idea he scored them while Imdb gives credit to Amram and Irving Berlin and Grass to a Euphemia Allen. So there you have it.

No one to whom I have mentioned him has ever heard of him. As I was in the record business in the Sixties and Seventies I knew the name but nothing more. I don’t recollect selling any of his records or even carrying them. I called his name up on Amazon’s Echo or Alexa and listened to a couple hours of stuff a couple of times and while the music is pleasant enough I find it undistinguished.

My attention for this review was brought to me because his book Offbeat is a record of his association with Jack Kerouac the author and founder of the Beats. I will deal with the association in the appropriate place. Vibrations, David’s first book, is a discussion of his life from birth in 1930 to his thirty seventh year in 1967, the book was published in 1968. Vibrations is a very interesting psychological study whether the reader has heard of Amram or not.   As of this writing (8/2/17) he is still living at 87 years and looking very presentable. Significantly he doesn’t call Vibrations an autobiography but a memoir.

David was born in Feasterville, Pennsylvania, where he spent his early years on a farm until his father took a war job and moved the family to Washington DC in 1942, the move was very traumatic for twelve-year old David who loved his life on the farm and never recovered from losing it. Later in life he would buy a farm.

The move to DC was especially traumatic because his family moved into a house in what was called a checkerboard neighborhood, that is a mixed Negro and White area. David and his family were themselves Jewish. The central childhood fixation that governed David’s life was when he entered Gordon Jr. High. He describes the experience in detail and since it is so important to the telling of his story I will quote in full, pp. 17-18:

A few days later I entered Gordon Junior High School. Because I had just come from a small rural school, Gordon Junior High seemed enormous. The playground alone was larger than the entire school area in the country. The atmosphere was completely different because of the large number of students, the fact that it was a southern school and the air of seething violence that seemed to be everywhere. The atmosphere of violence was constant and when it erupted the teachers as well as the students seemed to take the idea of fighting for granted.

The moment I arrived I saw three or four serious fights in the school playground.

Six or seven boys were holding someone’s arms behind him while he was being smashed and stomped by two or three others. I was used to being in fights myself, but at least we used to go at it one at a time and when I got to be a good fighter myself, the fights finally stopped. But I noticed that here the parents of some of the smaller kids led them right into school or they came in with older kids who served as protection. It took me a little while to realize there were several organized gangs in the school, including one called the Foggybottom Gang. My sister was going to boarding school in Florida because of her health. I was sure glad she didn’t have to through this with me. When we had gone to school in the country she used to lie down on the floor of the car on the way home so the kids wouldn’t see her. She was terrified then because of the abuse I used to take being called a Jew. I had gotten used to it, but she never could.

But there at least she was safe on the floor of the car. In 1942 at Gordon Junior High no one was safe. Even teachers- those who couldn’t fight back- were in danger of being punched pummeled kicked or even knifed. It was a madhouse and I enjoyed every minute of it. I had never liked school anyway except for music and sports, so the chaotic conditions in the classroom, with kids yelling and insulting the teachers, setting their desks on fire, throwing snowballs with razors and rocks inside, fighting and even one student being pushed out the window- it all seemed wonderful and exciting to me. By the third day I felt at home. The classes were so backward that in about thirty minutes I could do all my homework and spend the rest of the afternoon practicing the piano or playing in the back with Walter and some other kids I met.

The fifth day in school I was coming from the science class when a boy named Joe punched me on the shoulder and almost knocked me down.

“Watch that, Joe.” I said.

He seemed surprised that I knew his name. “How do you know my name?” he said.

Suddenly the casual group behind him seemed to become an organized gang standing stiff and hostile. All the kids behind me also stopped and in a few seconds later the immediate rumble was inevitable.

“Never mind how I know your name, just watch who you’re pushing,” I said. With that he threw a right at me. Because I was expecting something like this, I slipped his punch. Next he hit me in the left shoulder, spinning me half around. Then he leaped for me and I caught him with my right elbow in the stomach, hit him three or four times in the face put my leg behind him, hit him on the Adam’s apple and knocked him backward into a locker. He didn’t feel like fighting anymore.

Then all of a sudden, one of the larger teachers materialized out of nowhere, hit me in the face and knocked me down. He then proceeded to knock four or five other students as well while everyone else scattered. I was stunned. Kids who hadn’t even had anything to do with the fight were lying on the floor, wondering what had happened. He pulled up and marched us up to the principal’s office. While we were waiting for the principal to come out, another teacher was rushing down the hall, yelling for the teacher to get to another class where a serious fight was going on. He left and by the time the principal came back, Joe and some of the other students had slipped out of the office leaving just one other boy and myself. The principal was a kindly old man in his seventies and obviously was nearly ready to retire. His name was Mr. Winston, a sweet old man with white hair, a white mustache, stooped and worn out by all the years in Washington’s public school system and very upset about the chaos that had developed since the war began and the younger teachers were all away.

“Boys,” he said in a genteel southern moan, “The good Lord didn’t put you on earth to act like animals. Fighting is for an animal, not for gentlemen. I want you two boys to shake hands and promise never to fight no more.”

“But I wasn’t even fighting,” said the other poor boy, about to break into tears.

“Don’t sass me son, I don’t even want your name. Just don’t let me see you in here again with fights. I don’t know what’s happened to the school and to young people today. In my day people would fight each other fair and square, out behind the schoolhouse. It’s just with the fathers away, there doesn’t seem to be any discipline.” He looked through his thick glasses at both of us almost expecting us to sympathize with him. “All right, boys,” he said wearily, “you all go back to your classes and don’t let me see you in here again.”

We got up and left and went back to our classes. After a hysterical Latin class, during which the teacher, a kindly woman in her fifties with an incredible case of dandruff, was shouted down and almost knocked to the floor by one of the students, I left in disgust. I knew you weren’t going to learn anything that way. Outside I saw Joe and the members of the Foggy Bottom Gang waiting. I noticed that two of them had knives, which I could see glinting in the sun. They were not switchblades but the kind of knife used for shucking oysters in Chesapeake Bay, easy to hide in your pants and very sharp. I had heard of several stabbings the year before, and I didn’t want to be the first victim of the new academic year, so I went out the back way through the boiler room and walked home.

And David says he loved that and was right at home. Apart from pretty spectacular total recall the story sets out the problem of Black and White relations from then on. Of course the effect of this incredible first week at school was very traumatic for David fixating him it would seem with a variation of the Stockholm syndrome. Nor was this an isolated incident but the ‘normal’ situation that would go on for years, his entire youth, in David’s checkerboard neighborhood.   While seeming to maintain a rigid separation between his Black and White identities as well as White and Jewish identities his primary identity seemed to be White during this period while he sank into a medium grade depression. He immersed his mind in music to escape his desperate situation and his music the rather odd combination of French Horn and Negro Jazz. Probably the French Horn was a desperate clinging to his White identity.

But, first let us put his situation into a perspective that must lead to the Supreme Court decision of Brown vs. The Board Of Education. The Brown decision assumed that schools were not segregated and that there was no experience to indicate what the result of integration would be. Yet, here in DC in the forties and probably the thirties one has a sociological situation that indicates precisely what the result would be. There was no need for guesswork.

The Supreme Court justices who would make the Brown decision had integration information on the residential level that was horrendous. Eventually all the White people would leave DC or were driven out by the Negroes and DC became something of a cauldron of crime. One in which even Negroes were desperate to escape.

The schools were such that, as in Amram’s case he was terrorized for life but the White fantasy was that no resistance by Whites should be offered to the atrocities. Now, this was not just young Negroes mixed with young Whites. In high schools grown men were entered as students who then directed the young Negroes in terrorizing the Whites to gain control and dominance. Thus,. Whites were taught or required to accept the criminal behavior quietly or they would be charged with the horrendous crime of ‘racism’. If they fought back win or lose they would be charged as the aggressors and have their young lives destroyed, sacrificed on the altar of integration. The saying then and now was ‘you have to break a few eggs to make an omelet. Interestingly David has a song with the refrain, ‘all my eggs are broken.’

Any rational White person could see and understand the result of forced integration. Whites were being denied equality and their rights, essentially enslaved to the Negroes. The Whites of the South against whom the Brown decision was actually directed with their long experience with the Negro were clear as to the outcome. If nothing else they had this sociological experiment in DC before their eyes as well as the deplorable conditions in Northern schools which were already integrated. It was quite obvious that integration would lead to disintegration of society so it must be obvious that the intent of the Supreme Court justices was the disintegration of society.

The Southern Whites therefore put up a stout resistance refusing to accept the Justices’ decision which, after all, was merely the Justices’ intention. It would take the Executive to enforce the decision. This led then President Eisenhower to his decision to mobilize army troops and if tanks were not used my memory projected them on the scene. These were regular Army bearing arms to conduct a Negro Student into Little Rock’s Central High School.

Of course, the propaganda value of a switchblade bearing six foot four, two hundred pound Negro giant being led by an army squad into the high school was nil. Not being totally ignorant of propaganda effects, as their model student they chose a petite little girl in a pink pinafore and pigtails to be escorted by appropriately huge soldiers bearing arms. Resistance at that point was futile and Little Rock’s Central High was turned into the same hell hole that David Amram experienced at DC’s Gordon Jr. High. Rape and turmoil.

In today’s schools, one doesn’t see too many petite Negro girls wearing pink pinafores with their hair in pigtails. The propaganda effect of Eisenhower’s action was that the US government valued Negroes over Whites and that has been proven in the sequel. No integrated school today is an educational institution. Today, however, as well as knives, guns are much in use, so students pass metal detectors on the way to classes. Was Brown an improvement in race relations? As the current situation was predictable it must have been according to plan.

David Amram endured this torture all through Jr. High and High School. He must have needed some escape and he found it in his music allowing him to retreat into the safety of his own mind. Trapped in a Negro culture the music given him to express himself was Negro jazz. However the instrument he chose was the French Horn which is not a jazz instrument. He might have done better to have chosen the saxophone or trumpet if he had really chosen to excel as a jazz musician. Rather the French Horn was his rather obvious connection to his White heritage. He carried it around with him like a child and his security blanket.

Perhaps in an effort to gain some security he sought the company of Negro musicians who accepted him and his French Horn although they usually remarked: ‘Hmm, a French Horn, you don’t see those much in jazz bands.’ I never have. David must have been a semi-comical figure on the band stand. ‘Who’s the dude with the French Horn?’ Thus he had a presence in the DC area.   I presume he graduated high school although he says that what with the constant chaos in class the academic standards weren’t too demanding. Sufficient to say he attained a degree of competence on his symbolic French Horn.

I suspect that he was a mental wreck by his late teen years. The military draft had not been discontinued after the war so the probable necessity of serving in the military loomed before him. He solved this problem by volunteering just as the Korean War burst upon the scene.

Following so quickly on the heels of the Second World War the Korean War, referred to as a ‘police action’ had a psychologically disturbing effect on society especially just after the Soviet Union exploded their own atomic bomb in 1949, relying heavily on US spies. The idea that Americans would betray the country to Russians was very traumatic, causing a lot of self-doubt. It shook the country to its foundations.

-II-

David was fifteen when WWII ended and he probably graduated high school in 1948. The Korean War began in June of 1950. The military draft was still in effect so rather than wait to be called up David volunteered for a two year tour of duty in the Army. Joining the Army also got him out of DC a movthat might have been more difficult otherwise. For the first time since Jr. High, then, he was removed from a Negro environment. The military at the time was averse to social experiments so there were few Negroes in the Army. The Army, of course, had had Negro regiments since the Civil War but they had White officers and were not integrated otherwise. The Navy had never had Negro sailors except for Stewards and other service personnel and would evade integration until 1957.

While his memoir balances David’s Negro, Caucasian and Jewish heritages it must have been true that the Negro characteristics of his heritage dominated his personality at the time. He was clearly a hipster and may have been what Norman Mailer called a White Negro. Certainly his speech must have been heavily Negro and hipster, or cat, to use an alternate term.

At any rate with his trusty French Horn tucked under his arm he began his military experience. As luck would have it he was not sent to Korea but to the other side of the world to monitor the Germans and keep the Soviets on their side of the Iron Curtain. The fear of an invasion of Europe by the Soviets kept people on edge along with the A-bomb.

Psychologically his Army service must have been a healing period for David’s mind even if the military experience is nearly as traumatic as David’s DC Negroland life. But, the Army would probably have been less dangerous to navigate. And then, at twenty he was older and more able to deal with things.

To compare my own experience of a very difficult childhood that left me with certain psychological impairments and my military experience following immediately after high school graduation I was removed from the scene of my youthful pressures, and, even though under the stresses of the military, my mind began healing as soon as I left the scene of their creation so about eight months on the worst psychological effects lifted much to my relief. I’m sure that happened to David also because like me he spent the next decade or so in the process of realizing not only his White heritage but even more deeply his Jewish heritage. At this period he became a Jew. Indeed, his memoir that carries his life only up to the age of 37 was a record of that journey of realization.

David’s descriptions of his states of mind and person are presented only incidentally. There are no detached descriptions and no analysis. So looking through his narrative one sees a beat up hommey running very nearly on auto-pilot, unkempt, close to dirty, making his way through the army. His trusty French Horn removes him from the more onerous aspects of army life into a twilight zone of musical misfits forming the Seventh Army Band.

As David describes the band they are one subversive lot, refusing to wear their uniforms properly while evading all other regulations to the best of their ability. It should be noted that most were draftees and not regular Army. There was always conflict between those coerced to serve and the regulars who chose military service as their vocation, so his group wasn’t too far out of line. David describes how he grew his hair as long as possible carefully stuffing it under his hat. I know where that’s at. I too was I wouldn’t say rebellious, bur resentful, not only of the Navy but of life, I too grew my hair as long as possible and stuffed it under my hat.

I hadn’t his congenial atmosphere but I’m sure that being in with these musicians eased his two years which in different circumstances might have been disastrous. With a better frame of mind his tour of duty would have been delightful as the band toured Europe giving concerts thereby living the high life compared to foot troops.

Somewhat rescued from himself David was discharged into the world in 1953 having contributed his two years to the destiny of America. However he was still an ill man suffering the after effects of Washington DC. Consequently unable to face returning to that future he chose not to return to the United States taking up residency in Paris instead.

He was still a beat up hommey hence he chose the Bohemian way of life. While he wallowed in his misery his intention was still to reclaim the Feasterville life he enjoyed before his disastrous removal to DC. Thus, after gathering his psychological bearings to some extent he returned to the US landing in NYC in 1955. Having no desire to return to the horrific memories of DC he found his way to Greenwich Village and the Boho way of life.

-III-

From 1955 when David Amram returned to the US from Europe to 1966 when he climbed the mountain of respectability to become the resident composer of the New York Philharmonic was a short eleven years, only a decade. For the major part of those years David was a dirty, ragged Bohemian who most frequently offended his friends by his appearance and the rat holes he lived in, by his own admission. His depression must have been fairly deep yet he avoided drugs in a druggy atmosphere, stayed fairly sober and worked like the devil.

He had been advised that composing music would be his deliverance rather than his horn playing. Indeed, while David assures us that he was a superior horn player a professional shows up, befriends him, and gives him lessons on horn playing to correct his defects. Regardless then of David’s self-evaluation capable horn players thought he needed help. Composing was to be his meal ticket.

Now, let us concentrate on the subject of Amram’s second book, Offbeat, concerning his relationship with the writer Jack Kerouac. I’m sure that most people will recognize Kerouac as the author of the Beat bible, On The Road. Perhaps some of those know that Kerouac wrote reams of material throughout a couple dozen books. Critics at the time castigated the writer as close to worthless. I have to agree with them although I have to say that Kerouac is one of the all time greatest word slingers. The words slip mellifluously from his pen but with small content. His books are the equivalent of well produced B movies. For me they always leave a bad taste. I mean, he wrote about bums.

Kerouac had a difficult time getting On The Road published. Indeed from the time he wrote the book to its publication he wrote ten other unpublished books and he didn’t stop there. I was probably among the first to read On The Road. The Beats, of which Kerouac is considered the originator, were considered to be revolutionary, but as unsavory types they succeeded indirectly. Revolution was in the air in the Fifties through the Sixties and it permeated my time in the US Navy just before the beginning of 1957 through 1959.

My ship was leaving for a Pacific tour of duty at the end of the summer of 1957. Just before we shoved off, this is true, a sailor on the dock passed a blue bound advance copy to our Communist Yeoman telling him this was an important book for the revolution. I missed what was revolutionary about it reading only about a bunch of footloose losers. It was talked about aboard ship however and it changed attitudes.

Subsequently the book became a bible of sorts for a certain type of guy. I could never understand why but it was a major influence on their attitude toward life.

So, Offbeat is a three hundred page book about Jack and David’s relationship. David met him in 1956 just as the Beat movement was about to surface nationwide. According to David in Offbeat their relationship was intense; at times one can almost believe that they were married. David says that he wrote the book at the insistence of a friend who thought Dave’s experiences were too valuable to go unrecorded. However, in Dave’s six hundred page memoir Vibrations Kerouac gets only a couple mentions with no indication of an involved relationship, not even a hint of Kerouac’s significance. Where the truth lies, from my reading is indeterminate. Nonetheless certain indisputable facts are recorded.

In 1959 Kerouac wrote the script for a movie titled Pull My Daisy. A short film of twenty minutes. David was asked to score the film. His accounts between Downbeat and Vibrations vary wildly. In Downbeat he says Jack asked him to score it; in Vibrations he says Leslie and Frank did. I would imagine most people have not heard of the movie, Pull My Daisy. David makes it sound like a major cultural event. I have watched part of it. I left off maybe halfway through. David who is a real booster of anything his friends did thought it was terrific.

For those immersed in the Beat period it may be of interest to see their heroes in action. Ginsberg, Corso, Amram, they’re all there in their beatnik glory. For my tastes they looked like a bunch of bums goofing around a dump of a house. In Variations David gives credit for the film to the artist Alfred Leslie and the filmmaker Robert Frank. Leslie was an artist, apparently of some renown, I have to confess I have never heard of him, he has a couple of published collections, while Robert Frank has a reputation as an early ‘experimental’ filmmaker. Having become somewhat familiar with various experimental films I find them more self-indulgent than impressive.

In Offbeat David characterizes the performance as improvisational to the nth degree, the actors cutting up in totally undisciplined disarray. In Variations he portrays the filming as carefully planned by Leslie and Frank. Indeed Leslie ‘revealed’ in 1968 that while the production was thought to be improvisational it was actually carefully plotted. You’d have to read the sources to make up your own mind. Offbeat seems the most reasonable approach to me.

It is a silent film with no dialogue but Kerouac does a voice over completely improvised according to David while David improvises the musical background as Kerouac speaks. He says Kerouac and he were satisfied with the result while Leslie and Frank wished to make several takes to get the best possible results. Kerouac and Amram who value extemporaneity more than a hoped for perfection demur but agree to one more take and then refuse any further effort.

In Variations David says the he reworked his music separately seeking perfection corroborating Leslie’s 1968 revelation. There does seem to be a clash of ideals that reduces the integrity of David’s two texts while casting doubt on the veracity of his memories.

Dan Wakefield in his 1992 memoir, New York In The Fifties makes mention of Amram, usually positive and even admiring, as a spreader of sunshine so I suspect David of speaking well, putting things in their best light for the occasion rather than strict accuracy. This is nowhere more evident than in his account of poetry readings. He credits Kerouac and himself as introducing musically accompanied readings to Bohemia in New York. This is probably true as Kerouac and Ginsberg had been doing the same in San Francisco. I think he gives too much credit also to the quality of the poets and their poetry. I attended a coupe readings in North Beach, San Francisco and came away singularly unimpressed with the poetry although the social scene was nice.

For some delightful accounts of poetry reading in the New York of the Sixties Ed Sanders of the Fugs has wonderful accounts in his Tales Of Beatnik Glory. There are also some filmed readings on the internet, but without the ambience of being in the audience it’s not the same thing.

While David is great for waxing enthusiastic about his relationship with his horn he fades away on the historical background of his activities. For instance, he mentions the jazz bar the Five Spot as being important but fails to give context. Dan Wakefield on the other hand found the Five Spot so significant that he goes into great detail even providing some information on its ambiance. In fact, those places, jazz clubs, were holes requiring a great deal of enthusiasm for jazz to endure the environment.

I never visited any NYC jazz clubs during the day but I did pay a visit to the Blackhawk in San Francisco. The Blackhawk was one of the premier jazz clubs in the country. Let me say from the outset that I am not a jazz buff. The depression, pain and rage that underlies the music is offensive to my tastes, especially the classic jazz of the Fifties. The Negro artists of the Fifties were sui generis. As they aged they were never replaced although that fact seems to have gone unnoticed. Jazz began withering during the Sixties, was commercialized in the seventies and eighties and what remains is probably formulaic today.

The mystique of the Negro players was incredible. If the Blackhawk was any indication the club was a church for jazzists and the players were its high priests. Essentially they could get away with anything in those dark nasty hypnotic caves. The Negro artists were themselves worshipped by the Whites. Dan Wakefield tells the following story of one of the highest of the priesthood Charlie Mingus, p. 309:Mingus was a figure all right, and could be as dramatic and surprising off stage as on. The novelist and screenwriter Rudy Wurlitzer will never forget the time he took a beautiful girl to the Five Spot when he was nineteen years old. “I wanted to impress her,” he says. “Mingus was playing, and I could tell he noticed the girl- everyone noticed her. When the last set was over, Mingus came up to our table and took out a pair of handcuffs. He didn’t say a word, just clamped one of the handcuffs on his own wrist and then clamped the other on the wrist of my date. She didn’t say anything, and he pulled up her arm, so she stood up, and then they walked out the door together, neither of them saying anything.”

Of course, the important thing here is that Wurlitzer made no protest, he acquiesced in her abduction although he was responsible for her safety. No one else in the jazz church said anything either. The high priest had his prerogatives. That and the mystique accorded to the Magic Negro.

Indeed, Amram, Wakefield and others were all working hard for the integration of the bands themselves, perhaps thinking that was a panacea for something. Wakefield himself, accounts the advent of the Beatles in 1964 as the disruption of the integration dream and perhaps the beginning of the end for jazz. Certainly, the musical priesthood was transferred from Negroes to Whites when the Beatles became the high priests. As Wakefield complains, the Beatles and the bands following from England were all White. So, while there were a few exceptions in Rock- Jimi Hendrix- that jazz dream was destroyed. It should be noticed that there is a Hendrix church. Negro energy was transferred to the all Black soul bands of the Sixties led by Detroit’s Motown label.

According to Wakefield the Lit., Music and Art crowds of Greenwich Village were separate, the artists favoring the Cedar Tavern, the Literature crowd the White Horse Tavern and the music crowd the Village Vanguard and other spots. The Folk crowd was not prominent in Wakefield’s mind during the Fifties for some reason. They were certainly there. Wakefield says that while most crowds stuck to respective groups Amram was a curiosity as he moved freely through all groups with a reputation as Mr. Sunshine.

Indeed, he was something of a touch giving small sums of money to anyone who asked for it. He complains about being broke while at the same time he says that he gave his money away, living in digs few would tolerate. If his sweater, of which he speaks so lovingly, hadn’t been so raggedy, worn and smelly he would have given that off his back to anyone willing to take it. A real St. Francis. He must, then, have had many acquaintances who would speak well of him in place of returning the loans.

In addition to pushing for integrated bands and racial harmony David rediscovered his own racial roots in Judaism. A synagogue beneath his window whose religious music rose through it awakened his interest through its mournful dirge answering to his own depression as jazz did. Consequently David offered to compose sacred music for the services, which music was well received. Thus his ties to Judaism were revived.

As a composer he composed furiously, able to turn out reams and reams of compositions. Now, the Fifties, they were not a dull time unless, of course, you were dull, although my own familiarity with the later years was disrupted by entering the Navy, losing contact with those critical years for the future; I was in exile, as it were, in the military. Nevertheless, so-called world music began after WWII in the nascent Folk music scene by the group called the Weavers led by the ever present Pete Seeger. Wakefield seems to have ignored the Folkies but Folk was very largely White as well as Rock music and the two actually coalesced in the Sixties.

After the War it seems like there were hundreds of songs celebrating the charms of far away places with strange sounding names. Martin Denny’s LP The Quiet Village was a whole album of songs celebrating exotic tropical paradises.

At this time also Electra Records began a series of LPs of ethnic musics that was very in with the knowing, the avant guard. On its Nonesuch label Electra issued two terrific albums of Balinese Gamelon music including the memorable Ramayana Monkey Chant, a real listening experience. A Bulgarian record was much revered and well as several others. The African record Missa Luba is a not to be missed classic. That’s only if you are of the ilk otherwise you won’t appreciate such discs

So, David was a leader of this Travel Poster Crowd. Travel posters of far away place were de riguer on everyone’s walls especially after the Boeing 707 changed international travel in 1959. David Amram was riding the wave of a future on that score even though jazz was emitting a dying moan. By the seventies these Fifties jazz artists were so passe that a record producer by the name of Creed Taylor fashioned a line of easy listening records employing various of these old passe Negro players with reputations as a front to legitimize his easy listening and he made a fortune. There’s gold out there you just have to know where to find it. It was the end of an era.

David then had conquered all musical worlds except for the White world of classical music. As I see it he had made a million friends with his zippity doo dah attitude expecially and most importantly in the Jewish religious world.

The background story here is unknown or, at least, undiscovered by me. The New York Philharmonic had never had a resident composer but in 1966 the position was created for David. David was appreciative and by his account overwhelmed and well he might be. There appears to have been a great gulf between what he was doing and the professional world of the New York Philharmonic of Leonard Bernstein.

The impression one gets is that the Philharmonic gave into pressure from somewhere to create a respectable paying position for Dave. In doing so, of course, they enabled him to rise from his declassed state caused by his entrance into DC’s Gordon Jr. High. He now became a man of all classes and was enabled to regain his lost self-respect. He probably would never fit in to the over world because of the underclass characteristics he had acquired in his long and traumatic exile among the subteranneans.

If I had to guess as to how he was offered his newly created position I think it would be his association with the rabbis and his sacred compositions for them. The upper music world of New York is almost all Jewish. Leonard Bernstein himself, then the conductor of the Philharmonic, was himself Jewish and subject to pressure from the rabbis. I’m guessing it was all in the synagogue, but David realized his goal and immediately commemorated it in his memoir. David was only thirty-seven, living today at 87 his life wasn’t even half over.

-IV-

Up to 1967 David’s is an American story. A collection of racial, ethnic and religious heritages to be reconciled: in his case White American, Jew and Negro. The conflation of all three could have destroyed David’s life but he had what it took to blast through to salvation. Salvation to at least 1967, the sequel remains to be seen. David continues his story in a 2008 book he titles Upbeat: Nine Lives Of A Musical Cat. I have yet to read that but I may report on it when I do.

David grew up under a Melting Pot hope of immigration. Under that fantasy the immigrants would gradually assimilate themselves to Anglo-American mores, forget their antecedents and then the US would be a great big harmonious happy family Anglo Saxon family because Anglo-Saxons had discovered he secret of governing. One fault to that theory was that Negroes weren’t immigrants and the Melting Pot theory didn’t include the Negro race. No matter what happened the Negro problem would be insoluble.

The theory also broke down because some immigrant groups wished to impose their mores on the Anglo-Saxons rather than those of the Anglo-Saxons on them. Chief among those were those of David’s Jewish heritage. As it was their intention to impose their mores made it necessary to dissolve the Melting Pot into its constituent parts and then reassemble them under the Jewish aegis. Thus for several years after 1945 it became a custom to have various national festivals in which people dressed in their national dress and did a couple dances. That didn’t last too long because under American conditions it was humiliating; we were supposed to be one and for most other national customs really had no place. The time for that sort of celebration had passed.

David’s Negro heritage was a more convenient lever for disintegration as well as his Jewish heritage itself. Lest we have confusion let me say I share David’s three heritages, as do all Americans whether they realize it or not, plus a heritage of the orphanage and several lesser ones, most notable Polish an English but I consider myself American First, White second and devil take the hindmost. But, we all, because of immigration, share in each and every heritage. The Jews, the Negroes and whoever have given up any exclusivity to their heritage, like it or not.

As there was tremendous White guilt over slavery this was cultivated as the Negro question and was a great tool as witness the White girl Mingus abducted for sexual purposes no doubt and neither she nor her boyfriend nor anyone objected. No other race or nationality could have pulled that off. It is significant that Mingus knew he could. No one has to excuse his conduct because he was Black and objecting would make one a racist. Absolute nonsense. Injustice wherever it is found should be resisted.

It is also indicative of how society had disintegrated when David as a Jew, within the synagogue if I’m correct, had the job of resident composer created just for him.

America rather than being a Melting Pot was being created as diverse before our eyes consolidating under a Jewish aegis.

In order to do that it is necessary to destroy the symbols of power of the dominant culture. Thus, the well documented War on Christmas, reducing it from a national custom to a parochial one, depriving Anglo-Saxon of the notion that America is Christian. This, even though the Jews are only two percent of the population. In the last couple of years any symbol ‘offensive’ to a non-White culture such as statues, trademarks etc. are being forcibly removed by sub-cultures. Not only the Confederate flag but the US flag itself is under assault. The law, the Supreme Court Justices, enforces minority rights against the majority. Since the election of Trump resistance to these encroachments has become permissible but not legal.

The problem is not that sub-cultures want their own monuments that exist along side traditional monuments, names, titles, whatever but that the dominant culture and its monuments shall be replaced by the minority cultures and monuments.

Rather than follow that line of reasoning for the time being I think I will break off here and continue when I have read Amram’s Upbeat, see how the nine lives have worked out.

Some Current Developments In Leftist Ideology

by

R.E. Prindle

Since Trump’s election the Left has had to make some rapid developments to its methods. Trump has freed the Real Americans to be able to express their opinions without fear or favor. Forced for the first time since, perhaps, 1945 to face an opposing freely expressed point of view the Left is definitely discombobulated. There is a scramble to adjust.

To begin with I quote a passage from Sunday’s (7/2/17) NYT magazine by a John Herrman.

Quote:

The American far right (now that’s the far right not just the right) has become remarkably adept at commandeering ideas from its enemies. Now it’s pulling off its trickiest switch yet: Billing itself as the new ‘alternative’ culture. By John Herrman   (Tricky little bastards aren’t they?)

Counter Offensive

An always-useful thought experiment is to imagine seeing all the media around you for the first time- consciously, like a teenager freshly awakened to the existence of politics or an artificial intelligence that has just blinked across some humanoid threshold. This is especially handy lately, in our strange moment of flux. A wide-eyed observer of today’s political media wouldn’t just see different voices and outlets with contrasting tendencies. It would see a disorienting game of rhetorical appropriation in which it is constantly unclear who stands for which principles and why.

An essential feature of the rise of Trumpism has been the brazen inversion, that trusty maneuver in which you wield your critics’ own values against them- say, borrowing the language of social justice to argue that the “oppressor” is actually oppressed or suddenly embracing progressive social causes in the service of criticizing Islam. It’s a blunt but effective rhetorical confiscation, in which a battle-ready right relishes its ability to seize, inhabit and neutralize the arguments and vocabularies of its opponents, reveling in their continued inability to formulate any sort of answer to the trusty old “I know you are, but what am I.”

Unquote.

As you can see, Mr. Herrman believes there is no excuse for Conservatives and whatever they do is wrong. The very idea of challenging the Left’s point of view appalls Mr. Hermann, the filthy so and soes will actually stoop to ‘rhetorical appropriation’.!!! The Negroes through their spokesman, or rather person, I too live in a gender neutral universe, Ice Cube have recently appropriated the word ‘nigger’ for their own exclusive use. Only Negroes can use it; it is forbidden to others. Thus Norman Mailer’s use of the term ‘White Nigger’ is now off limits. Those books in which he used it must now be burned.

Here Mr. Hartman in his more than incoherent article seems to be suggesting that certain rhetorical usages, that encompass the whole dictionary, are off limits to Conservatives who are merely aping Liberals. (Let’s see how those rhetorical confiscatory bastards get along without a language.)

In another interesting development some law professors from Harvard and Yale have revealed that if Hillary had been elected to continue Obama’s policies that Conservatives would have been treated worse than ‘we’ treated the Germans in the aftermath of WWII. I’m telling ya this would have been worse than Sherman’s march through Georgia. The Left is always bloody minded.

http://www.vdare.com/articles/john-derbyshire-like-nazis-after-1945-never-forget-the-bullet-we-dodged-when-hillary-was-defeated?content=the

While ‘alternatives’ appropriate a Leftist term, historians are finally revealing the horrors of how ‘we’ did treat the Germans, that have not yet trickled down to the general public it is clear that Trump by his election has, temporarily at least, saved the Conservatives from a terrible fate. Thank God for the anti-third term law that prevented Obama from running again.

One can only say: God bless Donald Trump.

One should bear in mind and take seriously the fact that both Negroes and Jews (see Noel Ignatiev) mean to perpetrate a genocide of the White populations. Much of the elite also believe that the world is too populous and that about six billion should die. As preposterous as it may seem it can easily be done.

Consider food as a weapon. Communists in the Soviet Union during the twenties and thirties with the full compliance of Liberals throughout the world created an artificial famine in the Soviet Union during 1932-33-34 that claimed untold millions of lives through starvation while those that survived were crippled for the rest of their lives physically and mentally. This crime was successfully suppressed throughout Europe and America. If you’re in control of the media what gets out is only what you want to get out, hence, Pres. Trump’s war with the media. Back him.

A similar ‘experiment’ along those lines may be happening in Venezuela today that may result in the deaths of millions. The transfer of millions of people into Europe from the Middle East and Africa may result in a massive insurrection in which millions will die from warfare and more millions from the disruption of agriculture, starvation, and that within the next ten years. Vatic I know, but still probable.

Such a conflict continually stoked from outside would prevent peace while tens or even hundreds of millions of people die. Of course such a catastrophe would affect both Europeans and Moslems and Africans which would benefit who?

The conditions in Sweden now, today, is such that a Moslem insurrection could break out at any time. Even Denmark has set up a border watch to prevent Moslem insurgents from entering from Sweden. One on their Southern border with Germany wouldn’t hurt either.

Now, just as the Ivy League lawyers were ready to begin a massive elimination of Conservatives we must believe that these same people and their confederates are working to the same end in Europe and Canada as well as not having given up hope in the US.

Make no mistake, this is a do or die situation and must be taken seriously. I believe England and Europe are already lost. The time to tolerate Liberals and their policies is over. It is no longer necessary to be covert. Conservatives must stand up and say NO!