and defiantly classical. His masterpiecesn(like the Sherman monument in frontnof the Plaza Hotel in Manhattan or thenDiana that once stood on the pinnaclenof the old Madison Square Garden) cannhardly be understood without an appreciationnof their classical roots. As BasilnGildersleeve told his Virginia audiencenin 1908, “I too would plead for annhonest American literature, a literaturenof the soO, but the classics are in anmeasure our home, and Kipling quotesnHorace as the burial service quotes anverse from a Greek comic poet. It is notna matter of blood, it is a matter ofntradition.”nSaint-Gaudens wrote of himself, “Inalways thought I was a kind of cosmopolitan,ngelatinous fish; pas du tout, Inbelong in America.” Saint-Gaudens isna good example of the American as ancitizen of a United States of Europe.nHe studied in Paris and Rome, and wasnborn of a French father and an Irishnmother. His greatest works celebratednthe Northern heroes of the Givil War:nhis Farragut and Sherman in NewnYork, his standing Lincoln in Chicago.nHis monument to Robert Gould Shawnin the Boston Common gave us ournmost brilliant relief sculpture, as thentraditions of the Arch of Titus return tonlife to honor the Boston aristocrat whonled a black regiment in the war. Nearnthe end of his life, Saint-Gaudensnjoined with Charies FoUen McKim tonfound the American Academy innRome, so that the traditions of thenancient world of art and scholarshipnwould be preserved for future Americans.nBurke Wilkinson’s tribute is basednon much research, and his book hasnmuch to say about the artist’s movementsnand emotions and even aboutnhis mistress. We get to know thosengreat leaders of American art, CharlesnFollen McKim and Stanford White,nand in Wilkinson’s retelling White’snshocking murder hits us as hard as itndid Saint-Gaudens himself We seenwhat Europe meant to an American ofnthose days. When Saint-Gaudens returnednto America to work on thenFarragut monument, his first majorncommission, he “was so homesick fornRome that he left the faucet running innhis studio washbasin to remind him ofnthe tinkling fountain in the BarberininGardens.” (I know the feeling.)nSadly, the book’s weaknesses arenmany. The author does not write withndistinction, his knowledge of historyncomes from textbooks, and he has littlenidea of the significance of the Classicalnpast for Saint-Gaudens and his greatncontemporaries. Wilkinson is best onnthe wife, friends, and mistress. But tonbe just, when a more technical worknon the artist is published it will owenmuch to Wilkinson’s dutiful collectionnof evidence. Saint-Gaudens’s worknstill speaks to us, or perhaps rathernspeaks to us again. I do not think anyonencan understand Henry Adamsnunless he has confronted long and hardnthe mysterious Adams monument,nsculpted to commemorate his wifen(never mentioned in the Education)nwho committed suicide. Can wenunderstand our own past until we stareninto the faces of the winged Victorynleading the wild-eyed Sherman? Saint-nGaudens, like Charles McKim andnBasil Gildersleeve, tells us today thatnthe barren spareness of the InternationalnStyle and Hemingway’s prosenare not the only options; that a trulynAmerican creativity can be built on thenClassical traditions of our civilization.nThat empty feeling in the pit of ournstomachs, which we have been taughtnto call anomie and alienation, is not anfatal cancer. We are just a little homesicknfor Rome.nE. Christian Kopff is professor of classicsnat the University of Colorado,nBoulder.nThe Impossibilitynof a Booknby Ana SelicnPushkin House by Andrei Bitov,nNew York: Farrar, Straus &nGiroux.nAndrei Bitov graduated from the LeningradnMining Institute but chose tonbecome a writer rather than a geologist.nHis new novel, Pushkin House (thensecond of his works translated intonEnglish), will probably share the “generalnacclaim” that greeted his shortnstories in Life in the Windy Weather,npublished a year ago. It is skillfulnenough to attract attention, and thenvaried typefaces, unfinished sentences,nhints, and empty spaces between thennnparagraphs will impress snobbish criticsnwith the many different levels of meaning.nEager literary explorers will haveninexhaustible opportunities to drawnparallels, to trace sources, and to performntheir mental aerobics in essaysnthat fill the pages of magazines specializingnin literary theory and criticism.nBitov’s Lev Odoevtsev is the essencenof all Russian classical heroes sonfar — an aristocrat born in Petersburg,nwith slightly confused ambitions andnideas, partially an idiot (though not angambler), on the verge of having a duelnto the death with his arch-enemy. He isnobsessed all the while with a NastasyanFilipovna under a different name. Hisncrucial flaw, however, is to have beennborn in modern Soviet Russia, therebynruining his chances for a respectablentragic ending.nBesides intentionally constructingnhis book on the foundations laid bynPushkin, Lermontov, Turgenev, andnDostoyevsky — their writings, destinies,nand heroes, and their undisputablenrole in establishing the greatness ofnthe Russian written word—Bitov cannotnrefrain from further interventions,nelaborations, and comments, like a bakernconvinced that his already rich cakenneeds an additional cup of sugar.nBy serving us Lyova’s loves, friends,nand power games in one version as wellnas all the other possible ones, Bitov triesnto tell us that in today’s Russia not onlynheroes are killed before they are born,nbut so is art itself. His final statementnabout not wanting to deal with his heronanymore because he does not wish himnincarcerated in a dusty volume ornlocked in a determined destiny isnmeant as a gesture of solidarity with allnthe possible heroes strangled by thenbleak everyday life of his country withnits background of labor camps, partynsecretaries, and mass parades for thennth anniversary of the revolution. ButnBitov falls into his own trap: his thesisnthat such a sequel to greatness both innart and life is more than tragic—thatnis, his thesis of the impossibility of anbook — is an epitaph altogether lost innhis weighty volume. After all, there isnno proof that the world of imaginationnhas been so depopulated sincenBulgakov’s times.nUnwittingly, Bitov admits that himself:nin this novel there are marvelousnpassages glowing with life. He gives anNOVEMBER 1988 j 37n