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   From the Editor

CONNECTICUT CONTINUUM–I KID YOU NOT

   It was with real sorrow that I learned that the visual of longtime Greenwich resident Jack Paar’s interview with writer Mary McCarthy on the old “Jack Paar Show” was lost forever. The audio survives, thank goodness, but the deletion of the record of the expressions on Paar’s face, especially when McCarthy told him sexual intercourse is absurd, is, I believe, a great loss to American and to human culture.

   Mary McCarthy was married for a while to critic and F.Scott Fitzgerald pal Edmund Wilson. The couple made their home in Stamford.  The story goes that Wilson spent so much time at his desk that McCarthy began to feel abandoned. One morning, her patience at an end, she recruited the mailman into having sex with her right beside Wilson’s desk. Wilson, in the great Connecticut tradition of scholarship, convinced of the divine and lasting nature of his inspiration, went on writing and did not so much as lift his head.

    As it turns out, I owe a tremendous debt to Edmund Wilson for turning me on to Uncle Tom’s Cabin.  I was reading Wilson’s book on Civil War writings, Patriotic Gore. The first chapter is on Harriet Beecher Stowe.  Wilson makes the point that Uncle Tom’s Cabin is a great novel, not the pack of abolitionist propaganda most of us have been led to believe.  Edmund Wilson had been dead for half a century when I read his words, but he and he alone is responsible for me reading Uncle Tom’s Cabin for the first time, at age sixty-one.  Now, six years later, Mrs. Stowe is living water to my soul. I can’t thank you enough, Edmund Wilson.

                                                                                           Max H. Peters


 

 

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