also to provide a paradoxical vision ofnUtopia. “Nowadays,” he wrote, “darknessnis the representation of . . .nUtopia. Art’s Utopia, the counterfactualnyet-to-come, is draped in black.”nUtopia, in the post-Auschwitz world,nwas not a vision of heaven but annevocation of hell; not a dream but anscream. Indeed, reading Adprno is likennothing so much as contemplatingnEdvard Munch’s famous painting.nAdorno distanced himself even furthernfrom more orthodox Marxist aestheticiansnby focusing his attention onnartistic form. “Form,” he wrote, “is thenlaw that transfigures empirical being;nhence form represents freedom whereasnempirical life represents repression.”nNew and dazzling experimentsnwith form, he believed, might promptnfundamental changes in society. Bynbreaking down order, the sense ofnregularity, and the pattern of instrumentalnrationality, such experimentsnworked on human consciousness, lib­nerating it from bondage to what exists.nNew forms had always, however, tonwork with elements appropriated fromnalienated reality, separating them outnand recomposing them in unexpectednways. Failing that, Utopian reality, asnthe totally other, would leave empiricalnreality intact, undisturbed, andnregnant.nWhat lends Adorno’s writing its peculiarnfascination for contemporarynradicals is, I think, its striking combinationnof nihilism and utopianism,nboth of which derive, as readers oiThenPossessed know, from the same sourcen—undying hatred of the world as it is.nAfter the failure of the 1960’s “revolution,n’ Adorno’s despair correspondednto a growing mood on the left. At thensame time, however, he maintainednthat the dialectical imagination mightnyet have it both ways—despair couldnbecome the symbol of hope, the contemporarynform of Utopia.nWhatever attraction such ideas un-nTrivial Pursuits by Mark Royden Winchelln”I shall be but a shrimp of an author. “n—Thomas GraynDavid Pryce-Jones: Cyril Connolly:nJournal and Memoir; Ticknor &nFields; New York.nA Chime of Words: The Letters ofnLogan Pearsall Smith; Edited bynEdwin Tribble; Ticknor & Fields;nNew York.nLogan Pearsall Smith: All Trivia: AnCollection of Reflections andnAphorisms; Ticknor & Fields; NewnYork.nLeslie Fiedler once observed thatn”in our day, it is . . . possible tonbe a writer without having writtennanything.” Although it would be grosslynunfair to apply this generalization tonCyril Connolly and Logan PearsallnSmith, one cannot help but believenthat these “men of letters” represent anMark Royden Winchell’s booknWilliarn F. Buckley, Jr. (Twayne) isnnow available in paperback.ntriumph of image over substance. Fornall of the words that these two actuallynpublished, they are remembered todaynmore for who they were than for whatnthey did. What Mrs. Q. D. Leavis saidnspecifically of Connolly is true of both:nthey revealed “the relation betweennknowing the right people and gettingnaccepted in advance of production as anliterary value.”nBecause Cyril Connolly began hisncareer as secretary and protege tonLogan Pearsall Smith, these men werenlinked together in life. It is thereforenfitting that the concurrent publicationnof Connolly’s journal and Smith’s lettersnand the republication of Smith’snAll Trivia should link them afterndeath. What these books remind us ofnis that literary genres, which are peripheralnfor great writers, were fornConnolly and Smith final forms.nConnolly was a prolific journalist whonfrom 1952 to 1974 was main booknreviewer for the Sunday Times of London;nhowever, he produced no distinguishednfiction or poetry nor any last-nnndoubtedly possess for civilization’s discontents,nthey do not add up to anpromising aesthetic theory. This is notnonly because Adorno’s work was rootednin hate, but also because his rejectionnof the world was so complete thatnhe could not understand the efforts ourngreatest artists have made to revealnmeaning in the complex moral universenin which we live. If, as I believe,nthe author of Waiting for Godot isnindeed a major writer, that is notnbecause he is a sublimated Utopian,nbut because he continues to wonder atnthe resiliency of the human spirit and,nwithout passing over our terrible trials,nto affirm and explore the only worldnwe know. And that, I suppose, is onlynanother way of saying that we are notnindebted to Beckett and other giftednartists for raising our consciousness ofnUtopia, but for deepening our understandingnof human existence. ccning critical work. His two mostnenduring books—Enemies of Promisenand Unquiet Graves—were both autobiographical.nDespite his valuablenscholarship on Jeremy Taylor andnHenry Wotten, Smith is best known asnthe composer of aphorisms—as if hisnlife’s ambition were never to write anpassage that didn’t have a chance ofnmaking it into Bartlett’s.nThe life and times of CyrilnConnolly are of particular interest tonAPRIL 1385/15n