What rose shine in the midst if his usual thorny bramble of Marx Brothers scholarship and scrambled invective

December 17, 2014 § Leave a comment

Read Edward Dahlberg but pay no attention to anything he says. He is so critical and cantankerous, so grum, small, and jealous, that if you took him at all seriously he would drive you as batty as he is. The quotations he burdens his work with are never to the point, and, as he is incapable of placing two sentences in logical order, such a thing as a quiet, scholarly paragraph let alone essay or chapter is outside his reach. But he is the poet of sentence design, and the quirk that shocks you with delight in the half-dozen books he has left behind is not an accident nor the inkling of an army of virtues the thought of which staggers the imagination, but itself is the hand-tended bloom. What rose shine to stumble on a sentence of his so filled with helium you squeak like a mouse tumbling back and forth anywhere in five thousand years while doing the eternity samba in the pansy bahianas of Carmen Miranda the Brazilian cadaver—what rose shine in the midst if his usual thorny bramble of Marx Brothers scholarship and scrambled invective. As a matter of fact I like this glitter and have thrown myself at his feet, for he is a great pure writer in the sense that he will sacrifice any meaning however important that he may have made it out to be for any flourish or conceit, and he would sell his soul to the devil and mine too for the power to write one unalterably beautiful sentence.

— Irving Rosenthal, Sheeper, 1967.

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