great church once stood.” There was this dour, Scots, monumentalrnprobity of his mind. But there was that other constantrninclination: a revolt against the businessman mentality, seekingrna home in the warm fog and smoke of intellectual argle-bargle.rnHe knew—and with every reason — how much he knew, andrnhow reliable his tastes were. He also thought—with very littlernreason—that he did not have any original ideas (he once toldrnme that). Apart from the condition that there is really no suchrnthing as an Original Idea, he was wholly wrong. He was so goodrnin describing things and people and ideas that he ought notrnhave bothered with the task of trying to define them. Yet somethingrncompelled him at times to move in that direction, evenrnthough he agreed with me that to describe is infinitely more importantrnand fruitful than to define, and also that it was there thatrnhis unique talents worked best.rnHe was one of the few American thinkers and writers who escapedrnthe fatal American predicament of reaching the zenith ofrnachievement early, and not developing further afterwards. Hisrnwriting, and mind, were better in his 40’s than in his 30’s, hernreached his peak in his 50’s, and had it not been for the negativerncondition of his enormous wastefulness he would haverngone on and on. He frittered away his great talent on articlesrnand correspondence, often directed to insubstantial and evenrnsilly matters. This dualit)’ was there in his working habits. Onrnthe one hand he was utterly undisciplined, letting things go forrnhours, days, weeks, and eventually giving them up. On the otherrnhand he took infinite care (and pains) to polish and changernand get his prose exactly right; he would stay up all night in hisrncubbyhole office at the New Yorker. In his personal life, too,rnthis dualit)’ persisted: he could be dreadfully disorderly, but atrnthe same time extremely and precisely meticulous and demandingrnabout certain manners and human considerations.rnHe was an American gentleman who wanted to be a bohemian;rnLIBERAL ARTSrnA TERRIBLE BURDENrn”The L.D.S. doctrine of plural marriage became a personalrnmatter for Charles and Annie in 1876, whenrnCharles took a second wife, twent)’ four-year-old Mar)’rnEmma Fowler. . . . This must have been a great trial tornboth Charles and Annie. Theirs had been a wonderfulrnmarriage, and through journal entries and letters it isrnclear that the two adored each other. To have their tranquilrnlives interrupted by a plural marriage was difficult tornaccept.”rn—from Bradley W. Richards, M.D., The Savage View:rnCharles Savage, Pioneer Mormon Photographerrn(Nevada City, California: Carl Mautz Publishing)rna man of letters who wanted to be an intellectual. These aspirationsrnunraveled him in the long run.rnHis life falls into clearly distinguishable segments. He wasrnsent to Yale in 1924 where he rebelled against the pedanticrnconsideration of literature taught by William Lyon Phelps;rnDwight was an avid reader, a rebel, and a modernist. In the earlyrn1930’s he married his first wife, Nancy, who was beautiful, intelligent,rnand well-to-do. He worked for Fortune for a numberrnof years. He was a Trotskyist for a while, having recognized thernbrutal dishonesties of Stalinist communism years before otherrnintellectuals did. In 1944 he began to write and edit (with Nancy)rnhis own magazine. Politics, a journal which was special, individualist,rnanarchist, flailing the dishonesties of intellectualsrnmewing for blood during and after the war and the rhetoric ofrnGeneral Patton as well as that of Max Lerner. He was on hisrnway to becoming an American Orwell (Orwell liked his writing),rnbut he was also pidled by the inclination to write like LyttonrnStrachey .. . well, at least a little. Anyhow, he did not havernOrwell’s self-discipline. He was associated with Partisan Reviewrnfor about 20 years, but he really did not fit in.rnPolitics ceased in 1947. Then —fortunately—WilliamrnShawn of the New Yorker offered him a berth. For the next 15rnyears or so they paid him (he ended up with a large debt tornthem) and wrote what I think is some of his best stuff. This stuffrndid not deal with politics but with culture and literature. His literar)’rnpieces were so good that I, at least, thought that he wasrnmuch better than Edmund Wilson: indeed, had he kept on thatrnpath he could have emerged as the greatest American literaryrncritic of all time. But he dribbled his talents away. He divorcedrnNancy and married his second wife, Gloria, in 1954. Aroimdrn1963 began the last chapter of his intellectual life. He movedrnaway from the New Yorker and fell back on two of his inclinationsrnwhich were not friutfid ones. One was the movies — all ofrnhis life he took them seriously as an art form (I think thatrnmovies, at their best, are good entertainment) and wrote columnrnafter column in Esquire as its movie critic, with occasionalrnflashes of fire and wit but not very valuable, I fear, in theirrnbulk. The other inclination was his return to radical politics,rnhis participation in rallies, etc., during the Vietnam War. Irnthought that this immersion into the —falsely “revolutionary”rn—polities of that opposition was a waste of his time.rnDuring the last ten years of his life he wrote less and less. Yetrnwhen he wrote something it was still as good as ever: his lastrnpublished article (I think), the piece he wrote about BusterrnKeaton in the New Yor^ Review of Books in 1980, was Macdonaldrnat his best. But he was ill and dosing himself with thernstrangest of medicines, and his mind was turning bitter and, asrnI now know, was badly affected with sclerosis. He had a genuinernliking and taste for what was best in this life, the high pleasuresrnof body and mind. He was discriminating, an anti-puritanrnpuritan. But he never knew how to take care of himself, physicallyrnor intellectually.rnHis funeral service took place in a Unitarian church on LexingtonrnAvenue on a gray, cold December day in 1982. Thernpews were peopled by older people of his generation, peoplernwho must have remembered the days when intellectuals inrnAmerica were a small minority, when the company they keptrnhad marks of a camaraderie, when intellectuals and gentleruenrnwere not yet woefully opposite sensitivities, since both of thesernwere avocations that did not pay. The current power-brokers ofrnAmerican intellectual life and the younger generation of New-rnYork Intellectuals were —inconspicuously—absent. <-‘rn16/CHRONICLESrnrnrn