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W alter <~Dan Tilburg (^lark 1909-1971 Walter Van Tilburg Clark is dead. So be it. Let his friends and readers remember his life and work. Let them mourn that he died and goes no more among the living. But let there be no tears of regret. Clark had read of myrtles that weep for the dead poet, and he was kin to nature. But the nature he belonged to was desert and mountain, a nature that does not know when a man dies, or care, and, in its ignorant power, could more easily kill than weep. Clark did not like the “ divisive,” a term he used for those ideas that cut a man and his world into parts and pieces and categorize them as good or bad. He saw the mountain for what it is, a thing of beauty and mindless power. H e felt the energy of primordial stories, which, by itself isn’t much, for many have done it. What gives Clark a special place as a man and a writer is that he knew the jungle of modern man is not the primordial jungle but five centuries of intellectualism. What then are the ancient stories, dispossessed of their home in the primal forests yet disturbingly alive in the alien conscience of Puritan intellectuals? In The Ox-Bow Incident, The City of Trembling Leaves, The Track of the Cat, The Watchful Gods, and in a dozen short stories Walt Clark had the courage to conjure up the full power of original energy and then to dare to think. Such courage is dangerous. But when combined with talent the re­ sult is art that will live as long as men and women have enough courage to read what he dared to tell. Max Westbrook ...


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