The Hunter of Doves
March 20, 2015 1:40 PM Subscribe
Miss Lonelyhearts, The Day of the Locust, A Cool Million, and The Dream Life of Balso Snell, all by Nathanael West
This post was prompted by the Neglected Books Page's recent essay on Josephine Herbst, a radical novelist who was friends with West between 1928, when he was beginning to write in earnest, and 1940, when he died in a car crash.
West’s novels, which had never been best-sellers, quickly fell out of print, but in the aftermath of World War Two, a new generation of critics, such Lionel Trilling and Alfred Kazin, began to discover and appreciate the bleak and absurdist tone of his work. A number of academics and critics became interested in his life, and their researches led a number of them to Josephine Herbst’s doorstep.Given "the fact that 'Hunter of Doves' has never been reprinted and can be found only in the rare academic libraries holding back issues of Botteghe Oscure," the Neglected Books Page has posted the entire novel online [PDF].
She soon grew aggravated by their inclination to view West’s life and work through a postwar prism that exaggerated his foresight and ignored the good and bad points of his character. And so, sometime in 1953, she set aside the book she had been working on...and wrote "Hunter of Doves," a short novel based on her memories of West.
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