Monday, February 16, 2015

Quote of the Day

American talent does not survive sophistication. It needs to preserve a certain naïveté, a hayseed element, even a touch of the child, and the primitive, if it is to retain its juice and energy. This is true of Huckleberry Finn, of Scott Fitzgerald (always an outsider in Paris and the Côte d'Azur), of Hemingway (with the boyish braggarty of his virility cult), of the out-of-towners who founded and wrote for The New Yorker, of Ring Lardner's ingrained and obsessive provincialisms, of Whitman, Sherwood Anderson, Runyon, John Ford...When urban sophistication lays its hands on the American artist, it is like frost on a bud–witness the aridity of Edward Albee's recent work and the nonexistence of Truman Capote's. Tennessee Williams and Arthur Miller, so different in almost every respect, have more in common with each other than either has with–say–Nabokov. When US talent goes elegant, New York really becomes what Spectorsky calls it–"a road company Europe." Exception: Cole Porter is about the only one I can think of.

—Kenneth Tynan, diary entry, October 19, 1971, New York City

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