Bicycling Through Europe Wearing BlindersnWright Morris: Solo: An AmericannDreamer in Europe: 1933-34; Harpern& Row; New York.nby James H. BowdennX hose unfamiliar with Wright Morris’snfiction probably won’t read this book; ifnthey do, they no doubt will be puzzlednby a vision that could be called nonjudgmentalnby educationists, laid-back bynthe intellectually lazy, sketchy by a writingnteacher, and any number of othernbemused epithets. I choose detachednself after seeing the swollen horse. Thatnis as involved as he gets.nHe passes, through Central City, thenNebraska town in which he grew up, butnlittle is said of it or his family, or of thenworld prior to 1933. Very American, fornMorris there is no sense of one’s being innmedias res; there is no Hebraic grammarnof man caught between what was accomplishednand s!;hat is yet to be done.nIt is always Now. Yet there is little mysterynin this; it is only a black and whitensnapofhowit is.nAfter working a summer to get hisn”liiis u:icN ipi.sudi- ha.- a wondiTliil. iinipitili-tl iiuliiij;.. ;iii ri-adi’i” i :iii -iivornihi”. wi-i- ;in(I whiiii.siial link- lnuik.'”nJim MilU-rn.oirsu:t'<‘kn.. till’ IK-SI Ivi- re:ul -iniv Iraiik (iimnu’s Mop Tinu-.”nJames .-tliLsnThe i’ir York I inn’s Hook Ri’vh’ivnSome might see that vision as benign,nbut I don’t think so, though Morris doesnseem to be a photographer manque, onenof the sort who is even more of a voyeurnthan is ordinary for practitioners of thatncraft. For one thing, there is the seeminglynabsolute precision of recall: whennthis partial autobiography begins he isnleaving California for his Wanderjahrnand after an ex-professor of his dropsnhim oflf in Utah he hitches eastw^ard till ancouple of farmers pick him up, they beingninterested chiefly in whether he cannread. A college almost-graduate (Pomona,n1930-33, but he doesn’t say so in Solo),nhe can indeed read. He interprets anListerine label for them, and they applynit for a palliative to the rump of a geldednhorse; all is recorded dispassionately,nmeticulously, and all quite immediatelyn—^we are there. But the only interpretationnoffered is that Morris has to lie innthe cool grass face down to steady him-nDr. Bowden is author of Peter Denes:nA Critical Study (G. K Hall).nstake—»360—in the Schlitz Garden Cafenat the World’s Fair in Chicago, a jobngained him by a fraternity brother (that’snas much detail as is given about brother,njob, Chicago) he’s off to New York Fromnthere he sailed on a freighter to Antwerp,nmeeting on the trip one Sol Yellig, ofnBrooklyn, who, when sailing past thenStatue of Liberty remarks, “What a joke.”nIn the MailnAnd that’s about it for Sol. Morris saysnthat until he met two on the ship whonspoke German and until he “had somenlong talks with Sol Yellig, I thought therenhad to be something special betweennpeople who spoke the same language. Infound that there was. The dislike theynhad for each other was more refined thannthat for people in general.” Maybe that’snprecise enough.nInterestingly, as an endorsement fornhis craft, when he experiences a stormnat sea, he wanted to know the differencenbetween it and Conrad’s storms. Dockingnin Antwerp he sees first of all theirnfamous whores, whom he avoids for fearnof picking up a nail. He avoids nonwhoresntoo, though one muses on how matterof-factlynsuch encounters would havenbeen recorded had he indulged. Indeed,nthough he must have read Freud, henseems not to have paid it much mind.nPerhaps his sexual circumspection wasnthe result of his having a girl back in thenstates whom he was to marry upon hisnreturn: he doesn’t want her to read aboutnany youthful peccadillos. But the marriagenwas dissolved nearly three decadesnlater, so each condition (divorce andntime lapse) is sufficient to permit truthnnow. But the truth seems to have beennchastity, which probably was only slighdynless rare then than now. And in the booknVietnam Heroes III: That We Have Peace edited by J. Topham; American Poetry Press;nPhiladelphia. Heartfelt words by the men who are almost forgotten and those near to them.nA Guide to Bird Behavior, Volume n, by Donald W. Stokes and Lillian Q. Stokes; Little,nBrown; Boston. More than taxonomy, an ornithologist’s field-day field guide.nThe Case for Character Education by Frank G. Goble and B. David Brooks; Green HillnPublishers; Ottawa, DL. Ethics in public schools are like the janitors: somehow there and necessary,nbut little evident. Herein is a call to up the image of ethics.nThe Holy FoolbyWatolATidiea:, Crossway Books; Westchester, IL. Thenovelistic treatmentnof an LA. preacher; a comedy that transcends the quotidian.nnnil9nMarch 1984n