You have to wonder about the vagaries of reputation in a media saturated age, especially when the organs of the mainstream media are run by the left for the benefit of its friends. I think back (or try to) to some of the hot authors on campus when I was a student. If you’re under 50, I think you would almost have to be a student of the era to have a clue who they were. Paul Goodman. Herbert Marcuse. Charles A Reich. Carlos Castaneda. I read them all and more.
I could go on, but I’m killing brain cells trying to dredge these names up from memory. As soon as they died and the machinery that pumped up their reputations was turned off, they became something like nonpersons.
Yesterday’s Wall Street Journal Review section includes Tess Lewis’s account of the career of Victor Serge. But for William Buckley’s citation of Serge’s The Case of Comrade Tulayev in Did You Ever See a Dream Walking? I would never even have heard of Serge.
Lewis remarks in passing that Serge is all but forgotten today. By contrast with Paul Goodman et al., however, Serge’s obscurity is undeserved. Thanks to NYRB Classics, several of Serge’s books (including The Case of Comrade Tulayev, with an introduction by Susan Sontag) have been restored to print. Check out Lewis’s column to see why you might want to make his and their acquaintance.
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