Tuesday, December 04, 2007

A New York visit

Really enjoyed New York a few weekends ago. The New York Public Library was surprisingly fun. They had a Kerouac exhibit which included one of his letters or essays, Who is a Reactionary?, written in the 40's. Among the criticisms in it were of Stalin or Russia which banned the works of Dostoevsky because he believed in God. There is a room of oil portrait paintings, many Astors, apparently the library was initially an Astor philanthropy, including an Astor (as modern aristocracy) in a Navy uniform. There is only one bust and that of Raoul Wallenberg, the man who as a diplomat provided many hundreds of Jews with made up parers to escape the Nazis and who himself disappeared at the end of the war into a Soviet concentration camp apparently dying in one in 1953. There is a portrait of the son of Alexander Hamilton. In one of the nearby reference rooms I ran into a book reviewing Southern novels which talked of several from the twenties and thirties which expressed the pain of small town life in its religious intolerance and materialism; thus the authors difficulties in finding empathy.

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