"On Being Out of Touch: Evan S. Connell and the Aesthetic of Social Oblivion": Evan S. Connell (1924-2013) is widely regarded is an innovative, talented and under-studied American writer. This essay seeks to contribute to his wider critical appreciation by examining a central element of his oeuvre, namely his depiction of the socially oblivious, or those who function in life, but are what popular parlance calls "out of touch." Specifically, the essay explores the portray of two such oblivious characters: Mr. Bridge, the title figure in the 1974 novel of the same name, and Muhlbach, in the 1974 novella, The Connoisseur. The argument claims these figures have an aesthetic sense of their own, and that Connell cultivated a special aesthetic in bringing them to the page. The essay also explores the implications of this idea in that one of Connell's special gifts was the capacity to extend artistic considerations to a category of people who are typically regarded as beneath or beyond the purview of serious art. Simultaneously, the essay argues that a key reason why Connell remains noted but not really integrated into engaged critical reception is because the aesthetics of social oblivion receives insignificant attention. Placing oblivion "in focus" makes Connell's work more interesting and relevant for our age.


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pp. 54-72
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