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RICHARD M. M. McCONNELL AND SUSAN A. FREY Paul Horgan: A Bibliography* When, on the last day of July, 1970, a New York Times feature pointed out that novelist Paul Horgan — they spelled it Hogan — had received for his writings literary honors out of all proportion to his financial rewards, the prestigious paper also pointed out the continuing dichotomy between creating and banking. Ironically, the occasion for the Times’ observation was a report that for Paul Horgan at least the dichotomy no longer exists. Ad­ vances alone on his novel Whitewater totaled more than a quarter of a million dollars. A quarter of a million dollars? And literary honors? Who is this guy? Born in Buffalo, New York, in August, 1903, Paul Horgan moved with his family to Albuquerque, New Mexico. His father’s ill health forced the move but it was no misfortune for the ado­ lescent Paul. In the barren Southwest, he came to know the back­ ground for most of his later work and he came to know artist Peter Hurd, a life-long friend. He found there too a job — librarian at his own alma mater, Roswell’s New Mexico Military Institute —that gave him access to books and to time. Working as a librarian at Roswell put an end to Horgan’s brief flirtation with a career in music and slowed if it did not end al­ together his career as a painter. But it went a long way towards launching his career as a writer. Now, decorated and paid, Horgan is faced with another di­ chotomy. He is still without the readership, and especially without the critical study, that his rewards indicate might be rightly ex­ pected by a man who has labored so long and so successfully over the typewriter. Horgan’s writing career spans half a century. His competence spans history, drama, criticims, and poetry as well as fiction short and long. He has been honored with the Harper Prize, the Collins •This is an excerpt from Richard M. M. McConnell and Susan A. Frey’s book-length study, Paul Horgan’s Humble Powers: A Bibliography to be published by Information Resources Press, Washington, D. C. in 1971. 138 Western American Literature and Banrcoft prizes for history, and the Pulitzer Prize. His antholo­ gized short stories appear in dozens of volumes and several of his own collections. His novels have been translated in Europe and Latin America and his books reviewed regularly in the British as well as the American press. Paul Horgan is very much a man of the Southwest. He lived there through most of his literary career and most of his works are set there. Indeed, all of his best works are in some way reflections of the people, traditions and geography of the Southwest. Critical comment has praised Horgan’s understanding of the region and lauded his presentation of it. As a result, he has been considered by many primarily a regional writer and relegated to the in-crowd type of acceptance reserved for that type of scribe. On the other hand, some critics have pointed out that Horgan’s work has nearly unique universal moral application and that his use of a regional setting has been essentially an effort to humanize his universality. It is our belief that the clash of these two opinions has pre­ vented Horgan from getting the depth of study we believe he de­ serves. There is one other element of Paul Horgan to be considered. He is not only intensely conscious of being a Christian, but he is intensely conscious of being a writer. He is introspective about his craft, careful of his skill. He has given a great deal of thought not only to the form and content of his work, but to the creative form and control of his life. One result of this intensive awareness of form in life and work has been the periodic leveling at Horgan of the charge often made by up-from-the-ranks newsmen about junior associates who sport a journalism school diploma: “He really knows how to write — shame he doesn’t know anything to write about.” Yet the survey of Horgan’s...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1948-7142
Print ISSN
0043-3462
Pages
pp. 137-150
Launched on MUSE
2017-10-04
Open Access
No
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