the book, is subliminal and implicitnrather than open and expressed. What isnexpressed is a persistent disdain fornwhat might be called Americana.nJ. o say that this sort of writing doesna disservice to the American societynand culture is to understate the case.nSinclair Lewis long ago dealt somensavage blows to American businessmenngion on earth, no place too barren fornits inhabitants to sneer at Americansnas recipients of God’s mysteriousnbounty, rich but incredibly stupid, prosperousnwithout merit, winners withoutnbrains. Cultural contempt for the UnitednStates is probably the only single subjectnupon which all other lands and racesnagree. To say that they can point to ournown literature as proof, to our own films,n”Thomas Fleming, who can be ranked with Herman Wouk and James Jones . . .nprobes the heart of the American experience over the last 30 years with subtletynand intelligence.”n—New York Times Book Reviewnin Babbitt, to small towns in Americanin Main Street and to Christianity innElmer Gantry. He was not the firstnAmerican author to attack hypocritesnand bores, and hardly the first to ridiculouslynoverrate women. His great giftnwas for caricature and mimicry: hisnexaggerations contained enough elenments of recognizable truth to be credible.nHis admirers would argue, ofncourse, that Lewis portrayed exceptions.nBut late in his life, when he was baitednby some college students, he seemed unawarenthat his portraits had been acceptednas realistic. He was hated bynmany for having damaged this countrynand its people; to the end he was unawarenthat he somewhat deserved thatnhatred. Writers like Fleming absorbednthe attitudes of Lewis as easily as ifnthey were air; after all, Lewis was onlynone of a long parade. His predecessorsnand intellectual heirs stretch as far asnthe eye can see. They infest Hollywoodnand television, they hog the booklists,nthey clog magazines, they occupy thenlecture stage, they posture before students.nThey spread the universal mythnof that species they have invented:nAmericanus Fatuus.nTravelers abroad meet that myth atnevery turn, with numerous variations.nIf one is male, he is told that Americannwomen are nymphomaniacs. One learnsnthat we prefer musical comedies tondramatic plays, digests to books, insultsnto .compliments. There is no re-n3()inChronicles of Culturennewspapers, magazines and lecturersnas evidence is to admit one of the mostnpeculiar problems that ever confrontedna great nation. For the myth does notnsimply travel abroad: it is fed and nurturednhere at home. Students are taughtnAmerican history in such a manner asnto create indigtiation. The Germansnhave problems with guilt over Hitler,nbut they can at least point to other erasnof their history that are worthy of pride.nWe have been denied the satisfaction ofnpride in any era of our history.nWriters like Fleming, fearful thatnthere may be some lingering hope fornthe U.S. Arniy, will use fiction to makensure that such illusions, if alive, arendestroyed. The editors at that greatnfiction factory, Doubleday, cheerfullynagree. There is an agent at work, atnthis very instant, attempting to sellnthis novel to Hollywood and/orntelevision.niNo other country has ever beenncursed with such a literature—with thenpossible exception of France during thenlast decades of the ancien regirfte, justnbefore the revolution. The modernnAmerican, for all his tolerance, accomplishmentsnand charity, must walknabout with his back bent as though henrepresented some low, uncouth set ofndegenerates. Russians slaughter millionsnof their fellow countrymen, maintainnslave camps and still they are acceptednas a great people. Chinese communistsnhave led massacres, but theynare honored in every world capital. Hownmany books appear about the Chinesengenocide? How many writers rise innwrath against the U.S.S.R., as comparednto those who find South Africa worse?nAmerica seems to be afflicted by annominous scourge: we have writers whonare not proud of us, and we ‘thereforenhave very few writers of whom we cannbe proud. DnCreative Muddle & Poignancynof RealismnD. M. Thomas: fT>&c White Hotel;nThe Viking Press; New York.nWilliam Wharton: Dad; Alfred A.nKnopf; New York.nby Christina MurphynThe White Hotel by D. M. ThomasandnDad by William Wharton exemplifynopposite ends of the spectrum of con-nDr. Murphy is professor of English atnMississippi Industrial College.nnntemporary fiction. The White Hotelnis a symbolic novel, replete with complexnimagery suggestive of deepernthemes and more abstruse meanings.nDad is a realistic novel recounting thenday-to-day struggles of two fathers andntwo sons as they come to terms withnlife, death, suffering and the greaternpuzzlement of the purpose of humannexistence. The imagery is minimal, then.symbolism nonexistent; the power ofnthe technique and the focus have anpoignant impact on the reader’snsensibilities.n