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312 Western American Literature And on the roofs the portables Console the riders of their homes By telling of atrocities In nearby towns. It never rained as hard As this but once before. Then, perhaps not too oddly, there isn’t much humor here. However, J. Edgar Simmons’ “One More Time,” which joins Yeats’ “The Second Com­ ing” to the statement by one of the Beatles (Lennon?) that the Beatles were (are?) more popular than Jesus, is more than clever, it is witty: Multiple amphibians The Beatles Are slouching Towards Bethlehem Everything ancient In us To be Borne again. That “borne,” not “born,” is delightful. But there are other examples: L. W. Michaelson’s “Hound of Love,” has a charm, and Harry Woods’ “I Much Regret Inventing Red” begins with a good idea, although the poem could be much tighter. Now, as usual, one must apologize for not mentioning all the poems one likes (there are 30 poets, 59 poems). But this is an excellent collection; Mr. Stevens and the Prescott College Press have done us a service, have given us a book that should be in every library, and not just libraries of western literature. I can hope, I trust not an empty hope, that this book is the first of many—the Southwest, the West, is not just a region but a place where men write and write well. L. L. Lee, Western Washington State College Time for Outrage. By Amelia Bean. (New York: Doubleday and Company, Inc., 1967. 445 pages, $5.95.) Amelia Bean set out to produce a novel based on New Mexico’s Lincoln County War, a subject with bountiful possibilities and one that she obviously researched diligently. But, possessed of the facts, she apparently could not quite locate a method for presenting them. In consequence, she has written an undistinguished novel—labored, clumsy, and dull. - Reviews 313 Mrs. Bean’s failure to sort her material results in a number of flaws. Her book is crowded with characters, but they are introduced so mechanically and they blend and merge so easily that one is hard-pressed to care about them or to distinguish among them. Dizzying shifts in point of view make it an even more exasperating process for the reader to perceive characters in contexts and relationships. Large chunks of exposition are retailed in impossibly long-winded sections of dialogue that further remove the characters from the reader's concern. And the important themes that inhere in the historical details—criminality and lawlessness versus conscience and community —never have a chance to emerge through the obfuscating procedures of the author. In a day and age when one has come to expect rather high standards of craftsmanship, even from beginning novelists, it is disheartening to find so much that is amateurish in the work of an established writer. One doubts that anyone connected with the publisher, save possibly the Linotype operator, even read through the manuscript. Certainly a conscientious editor would have caught the errors of syntax and diction that mar almost every page. The following paragraph illustrates Mrs. Bean’s typical sins against English prose style, including a pronounced weakness for the dangling modifier and an aversion to the rules of punctuation: Having enlisted in the Army more than twenty years ago and progressing up through the ranks, Carroll’s intuitions often seemed astoundingly formidable to his men, who boasted that they served under a tough officer: Any trooper was a double-damn fool if he thought he could ever pull the wool over Cap’n Carroll’s eyes. Thus, Corporal Robinson was not at all surprised when he was summoned, he had known and with apprehension that there would be an accounting. Such a novel does nothing to serve the cause of western literature. It perpetuates the eastern fallacy that the market for western fiction can be satisfied with badly written and hastily edited repetitions of the stereotypes. Put in enough horses and enough shooting and you have it made. But Time for Outrage even lacks the excitement that the formula can minimally generate. It could, in fact, well stand as a handbook of “don’ts” for the writing of historical fiction. But...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1948-7142
Print ISSN
0043-3462
Pages
pp. 312-313
Launched on MUSE
2017-10-04
Open Access
No
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