courageous woman” and her poetry asn”a triumphant event in our literature.”nStill, the spectacle of Sexton’s emotionalnbreakdown and suicide is not an attractivenone. Because the artists who formulatednOates’s credo envisioned only “thisnworld … rendered in all its detail, withnno more revulsion for the contradictory,nthe obscene, the vulgar, the unspeakable,nthan any anthropologist or chemist mightnfeel confronted with his or her primarynmaterial,” she lacks any strictures gainstnwhich to measure Sexton’s pathologies.nSo, after becoming vaguely “disturbednand moved” by them, she implausiblynargues that “all works of tragedy dealnwith ‘suicide’ of a kind” and, even morenincredibly, that the final catastrophe wasncaused by Sexton’s weak sense of a masculinenGod “outside of her.”nMs. Gates is similarly evasive and unconvincingnwhen she blandly labels itn”ironic” that modem artists have invariablynfound that “a kind of hell… [is] thenonly possible place for the liberation of ancertain kind of independent and courageousnwoman” Never—worlds withoutnend—will Ms. Gates peek beneath thisnirony. To do so would reveal that thengoverning spirit in modem art-becomereligionnis the same one Milton portrayedndefiantly afBrming that he had rathern”reign in Hell than serve in Heaven.” Nonsanctimonious Pharisee was ever morenhypocritically self-justifying than is Ms.nGates when she accuses conservativesnof “a reftisal to examine one’s beliefe.”nAs Kenneth Lynn’s The Airline tonSeattle proves, it is actually liberals andnleftists who refuse to examine their beliefs.nDr. Lynn’s critical powers are feirnmore potent than Ms. Oates’s not just becausenhe is more intelligent (though thisnis clearly true) but also because he bringsnto literature a marvelously Johnsoniannskepticism about the holiness of modemnart and artists. Tearing through liberalnhagiography, he demonstrates that Emerson,nWhitman, and Hemingway werennot gods, not even very admirable mortals.nEmerson, who reputedly fetherednAmerican literature through his bold ad­n8 ^ H M M M H H HnChronicles of Culturenvocacy of self-reliance and his oppositionnto the Puritan tradition, did not cutnhimself loose from Christian doctrinenand clerical employment until after henhad secured a sizable business fortunenthrough a dubious courtship of a dyingnheiress. Whitman, whose paeans to unbridlednlust have made him a favoritenamong homosexual activists, confessednin his private notebook that his perversionnmade “life a torment… [of] diseasednfeverish disproportionate adhesiveness.”n”modem-day intellectuals and thefr terriblenneed for radical myths.”nProfessor Lynn cannot abide left-liberalnmyths because, like the rock-kicking,nwoodcock-watching Johnson, he has andeep respect for concrete facts and actualnhuman experience. The reftisal tonperceive the gap between theory andnfact, he finds, is “a telling indication ofnthe intellectual temper of the times.” (Itnis also a likely explanation oiTheNation’snnegative review of Dr. Lyim’s book) Butn”Contentiousness and sarcasm… flashy pro>c ;inil a .sk-i^iht-ol’-hand poli-mk-… Lynn’snad hominem spitballs usually whiz by as sojihoinorit ilisiractiDns.”n—77it’ ationn”He is not above name-calling…. Nor is he above the occasional leer.”n—The New Republicn”Willfully inconsistent… just sneaky … Lynn misses the point.”nHemingway, the champion of modemnmasculine bravery, cowardly lied to hisnmother about his atheism and cravenlynshirked the responsibilities of marriagenand fefherhood. Dr. Lynn also irreverentlyntrashes the standard liberal readings ofnTwain’s Huck Finn and Hemingway’sn”Big Two-Hearted River” with compellinglyndocumented arguments. TTie “dropnout” approach to Twain’s work ignoresnbooks both before and after Huck Finnnin which Twain firmly tied Huck bothnemotionally and morally to Missouri societynand therefore made his thoughtsnabout fleeing to the Indian territory incrediblenexcept as a passing boyish fentasy.nContradicting the popular “warnwound” explication of Hemingway’snstory is bountifiil biographical evidencensuggesting that the ambiguous unpleasanmessnNick tries to suppress was merelyna fight with his mother.nTurning to historical scholarship, Dr.nLynn proves that contemporary imagesnof Jefferson as an egalitarian communitarianist,nof Greenwich Village as a gatheringnplace for refugees from bourgeoisnhorrors, and of leftish New York journalistsnas unbiased observers of Sovietnpolitics are the specious manufecture ofnnn-Village VoicenDr. Lynn is fiar more than an iconoclasticncollector of &cts. He indicts MatthewnBmccoli for a “fact-mongering” whichnevades the need for interpretation, andnhe censures Gay Allen for Ming to drawnany conclusion from the sordid detailsnhe uncovers in researching Emerson’sncalculating romance. Like Johnson, henwants both facts and a vision of life withinnwhich facts fit and can be interpretednand evaluated.nThough much of this volume is devotednto nay-saying, his nay is groundednin a ftindamental yea. With Johnson, Dr.nLynn says nay both to those who wouldndenigrate the nobility of bourgeois mannand to those who cannot appreciate thensignificance of Christianity when manifestnas a “living faith, not an ossified piety.”nHe says nay emphatically to all who “restncontent with nihilism.” So while Ms.nGates leads the nauseous public chomsnof liberal critics hailing narcissistic artistsnas gods. Dr. Lynn stands as a courageousnblasphemer who stills the hosannas withna confident and resounding verdict: “Thisnis nonsense, and there’s an end on’t!”nThe reader cannot but believe that innprivate he bends his knee to a betternGod. Dn