Nolo Contenderen28/CHRONICLES OF CULTUREnSusan Rosenberg and Timothy Blunknwere recently indicted in Newark, NewnJersey, for illegal jwssession of 14 firearmsnand more than 700 pounds ofnexplosives. Ms. Rosenberg was alsoncharged with driving the getaway car innan unsuccessfiil $1.6 million Brinksnrobbery four years ago in which twonpolicemen and a Brinks’ guard werenkilled. The pair responded to the charg­nless like a man. Finally, driven out ofnthe minimal society of cowhands, hentakes to the woods to live with at leastnthe freedom of the beasts. Then, innorder to satisfy the prissy consciences ofnan environmental bureaucracy, twonmen arrive in his camp, to order himnaround and take him back 150 miles tonjail and ciilization for what were, afternall, minor infractions. (The Idaho Fishnand Game had arranged the slaughternof hundreds of deer and left them to rotnshortly before the incident.) ClaudenDallas was either a murderer or a mannwiio had defended his life and freedom.nIn either case he is the spiritual descendantnof Daniel Boone and Jim Bridger,nBy locking up the last of the mountainnmen for a minimum of seven years, thenstate of Idaho served the cause neithernof justice nor of humanity. ccnC. P. Dragash is a practitioner of thenmanly art of self-defense.nNarcissus NarcosisnWilliam Carlos Williams: The DoctornStories; New Directions; New York.nCarl Rapp: William Carlos Williamsnand Romantic Idealism; Brown UniversitynPress/University Press of NewnEngland; Hanover, NH.nLiterary historians often claim that seriousnAmerican literature began whennEmerson resigned from Boston’s SecondnChurch. Rather than continue administeringncommunion, he turned tonwriting. With the Sage of Concord as itsnarchitect, American literature restsnupon a shaky foundation. In his farewellnsermon, Emerson rested his casenon naked egotism: Christianity was valuablenprimarily because of “the echo itnreturns to my thoughts.” Since communionnwas not such an echo, it wasnLIBERAL ARTSnes with this prepared statement:nWe are not criminals. We are revolutionarynguerrillas. . . . We arenfrom an armed clandestine movementnwithin the United States.nWe’re behind them all the way andndemand their recognition as politicalnprisoners. After all, why should theynspend 10 years in jail, when they couldnbe shot for treason? ccn”not suitable to me.” He was confidentnthat Jesus “would approve” of his decisionnto honor his “own feelings” in thisnmatter.nEven if Emerson was not quite then”Father of American Literature,” he didninitiate a line of self-obsessed romanticsnstill prominent in our national literature.nOne writer whose work is usuallynviewed as objective, unromantic, andnun-Emersonian is William Carlos Williams.nA practicing physician, Williamsnhad a keen eye for detail and a gift fornterse statement. “I have never felt,” henwrote in an autobiographical selectionnincluded in The Doctor Stories, “thatnmedicine interfered with me but rathernthat it was my very food and drink, thenvery thing which made it possible fornme to write.” The way that Williamsnturned his medical experience to art isnclearest in the kind of short stories herencollected by Robert Coles. But Williams’snshort stories constitute a muchnless important literary accomplishmentnthan his poetry, of which the Colesncollection offers only a few medicallynrelated samples.nHis verse, as Carl Rapp observes innWilliam Carlos Williams and RomanticnIdealism, is generally regarded as that ofn”a poet of reality, a poet of raw, unmediatednexperience.” Rapp rejects thisnview, however, and demonstrates thatnin both theory and practice Williamsnwas a thorough romantic and a truendescendant of Emerson. When Williamsnappears to be focusing on somenexternal, physical fact—a red wheelbarrow,na dead child, or a filthy rivern—the reason for contemplating thisnparticular object is its entirely subjectiven”surcharge of emotion.” The “nature”nWilliams depicts is, as withnEmerson, informed by “the most thort)ughlynconsistent egoism in which thensoul makes everything into a vehicle fornitself.” Williams’s “perpetual iconoclasm”nwas another problematic inheritance:nnnConfronted by the spectre of a “reahty”nrumored to be independentnof him or indifferent to himn—confronted, that is, by the spectralnwodds of science, philosophy,nart, and religion—[Williams]nsweeps all aside, affirming onlynthat which he himself has experienced.nIn opposition to every accountnof the world, he sets his ownnworld with himself as perpetualncenter.nRegarded as a pioneering modernistn(and more recently as a “postmodernist”),nWilliams was—like manynother writers in this century — onenmore echo of transcendental solipsism.nWASTE OF MONEYnLittle Pigsnby Steven HaywardnPat Barker: Blow Your House Down;nG. P. Putnam’s Sons; New York.nWhat can you say about a novel wherenall the men are invisible, almost-nevermentionedncharacters, the women—ornperhaps we should say. The Womenn—are all prostitutes, and the overridingn”message” is the gloominess and despairnWomen must endure in modern industrialnsociety? While the ideologicalnroots of this feminist agitprop arenmuted, it nevertheless allows the readernNo Exit. Nor is sleaze any less sleazynwhen it is superimposed against annexistentialist backdrop. ccnSteven Hayward is an editor of thenClaremont Review.nSafe and RestfulnStanley Ellin: Very Old Money; ArbornHouse; New York.nA pair of married schoolteachers signnon as domestic servants to an impossiblynrich family whose improbable credentialsnantedate the American Revolution.nLittle by little they becomenensnared in a scheme of murder andnrevenge plotted by their blind and elderlynmistress. Stanley Ellin, a highlynregarded writer of mysteries, does notnmanage to create a believable situationnor sustain the level of suspense that thisnsort of tale requires—a perfect book fornan insomniac reader of mysteries. ccn