More important, the novel raises questionsnwhich have disturbed sensitivencritics over the past decade or so; Whyndoes even the best-written, most ambitious,nand well-crafted of contemporarynliterature seem “minor”? Why hasnno literary voice emerged to capturenindelibly whatever soul is left in contemporarynWestern culture? And whatnare the implications of this failure—nwhether of the imagination or of thenculture it would reflect—for us, thenaudiences the art must speak to? Withnthe exception of the 81-year-old RobertnPenn Warren, no major writer innAmerica today bears comparison withnthe remarkable generation of writersnwho dominated our literature afternWorld War I—which was preciselynwhen Warren got his precocious startnas the youngest member of the Fugitivengroup of poets.nAn insightful explanation for thencontemporary crisis in American lettersncomes from a retrospective essay,n”Why the Modern South Has a GreatnLiterature,” by Donald Davidson, onenof Robert Penn Warren’s Fugitive colleaguesnand teachers. According tonDavidson, great literary epochs occurnwhen artists are forced into “a momentnof self-consciousness” because theirntraditions are threatened by certainncultural and social changes, “when anwriter awakes to realize what he andnhis people truly are, in comparisonnwith what they are being urged tonbecome.” He defines a traditional societynas:n. . . stable, religious, morenrural than urban, andnpolitically conservative. Family,nblood-kinship, clanship,nfolkways, custom, community,nin such a society, provide thenneeds that in a non-traditionalnsociety are supplied at greatncosts by . . . governmentalnagencies. A traditional societyncan absorb modernnimprovements up to a certainnpoint without losing itsncharacter. If modernism entersnto the point where the societynis thrown a little out of balancenbut not yet completely offnbalance, the moment ofnself-consciousness arrives.nNew From the Occasional Papers SeriesnDisarmingAmerica’sWilltoDefendltselfnbyJohnA. Howard, President of The Rockford InstitutenFor your copy, please use order formbelow.nTitlenn #15 Disarming America’s Will to Defend Itselfnby JohnA. Howard I2.00ea.nAdditionaltitks available inthis series:nn # 9 OnStrategyandPolitics byMackubinT.Owens $.35ea.nD #10 StraightTalkontheEconomy byEdsonl.Gaylord $.35ea.nD #11 Soviet Global Strategy byFaithRyanWhittiesey $.35ea.nD #12 Our National Self-Confidence by AUanC. Carlson $.35 ea.nD #13 TakingtheBlindersOff byjohnA.Howard Jl.OOea.nD #14 The Tragedy of SexEducation by EdwardJ. Lynch J2.00ea.nPostage andhandling: Add!.50 for orders totallingJO – 4.99nAddJ1.00fororderstotaIlingJ5.00ormorenNamenCity_n261 CHRONICLESnAddressnDavidson supports his thesis with PericleannAthens, Rome of the late republic,nDante’s Italy, and Elizabethan England.nHis argument can aid greatly innplacing a novel like The Summoningnin perspective.nIt is almost axiomatic now that thenself-consciousness of our culture hasnQty. Ami.nAmount due:nTotal AmountDue:n.State_ _Zip.nneRockfordInstitute’934NorthMainStreefRockford’IL’61105 _OcP86Jnnnbecome a kind of narcissism; as Tatenput it in one of his best poems, contemporarynman has become like somenbloated Alice, paralyzed by her ownnimage in the looking glass and strippednof volition to act. This extension of thenmodern dilemma from protest to selfindulgentnsubjectivism is inevitably reflectednin the art. The voices of WorldnWar II are the likes of Norman Mailernand James Jones; of the Korean War,nonly William Styron; and while therenis a growing body of interestingnVietnam-like period fiction, no definitivenvoices have emerged to bringnmeaning to the chaos. The traumas ofnthe Holocaust and the Civil Rights andnfeminist movements have producednpainful cries of ethnic and sexual outrage,nbut no great art. EarliernDepression-era fiction, with its proletariannfocus, already seems badlyndated. Such is the context in whichnthe highly touted Towers novel mustnbe read.nTowers, a Southerner who earnednhis Ph.D. at Princeton and now teachesnat Queens College in New York,ndevelops his story of revenge and spiritualnrevelation in the dramatically potentnsetting of post-civil-rights Mississippi.nThe protagonist, LawrencenHux, is also a transplanted Southerner,nPrinceton Ph.D., and a foundationnexecutive in New York. In his laten30’s, Hux is divorced and approachingna mid-life identity crisis involving hisnpast as well as present life. Whilenworking as a civil-rights activist innMississippi during the early 1960’s,nHux had abandoned his mission tonreturn to Princeton. Carrying on thenstruggle, his best friend is eventuallynmurdered by a prominent small-townndoctor who, in the volatile atmospherenof those days, was acquitted in a localncourt. Now—10 years later — anhaunting apparition of the martyrednfriend stirs up Hux’s guilt and sendsnhim back to Mississippi to exact hisnpersonal revenge. What he finds there,nin the waning days of the Watergatencrisis, is the crux of the novel.nInventing as a pretext for his returnna foundation project to study libraryncollections at several Mississippi colleges,nHux is drawn into an elaboratenmasquerade which allows him to insinuatenhimself into Dr. ClaibornenHeme’s life. He discovers the doctor tonhave become a shattered recluse, liv-n