“…the nightmare tales Woolrich wrote are thoroughly modern in one sense: they take place in a godless world where monstrous, irrational, barely comprehensible forces wreak violent havoc on the affairs of doomed innocents, who scatter like cockroaches in the night.”
From Richard Dooling’s introduction to Rendezvous in Black by Cornell Woolrich
“Distance mattered in male friendships. One on one, men often had little to say to one another. They found closeness by focusing on a third thing that wasn’t them: music, video games, golf, women. Male relationships were triangular in shape.”
Kim Gordon. Girl in Band
“…it would seem that Wister’s personal values constantly interfered with his objective to describe the West and its people as they really were. Romance and marriage in his novels, as in some of his stories, serve only to emasculate his cowboys, to make them docile Easterners concerned more with personal ambition, accumulation of wealth, and achieving what by Eastern standards could only be considered social standing, rather than luxuriating in their freedom, the openness and emptiness of the land, and the West’s utter disregard for family background. To make his cowboy’s acceptable heroes to himself, as well as to his Eastern readers, Wister felt compelled to imbue them with his own distinctly patrician values. For this reason his stories cannot be said to depict truthfully the contrasts and real conflicts between the East and West of his time and Western readers of his stories have always tended to scoff at what he was presenting as the reality of Western life.
“Wister in his political philosophy was a progressive and what has come to be termed a social Darwinist….He believed in a natural aristocracy, a survival of the fittest – the fittest being those who measured up best to the elective affinities of his own value system. …Yet privately (and this is wht his journals are so illuminating), he lamented the sloth which he felt the West induced in people, and it was his ultimate rejection of the real West that brought about his disillusionment with it and his refusal, after 1911, ever to return there.”
Jon Tuska, Western Stories
“When it was over Morrasey stood panting, the heavy .45, still smoking, dangling carelessly in his hand. Well, he thought with a bleakness that was just bearable, that’s that. And then he waited for something to happen. He wasn’t sure what he expected, but for the past several hours, which had seemed like an eternity, the point to his whole existence, and the hope of rest for Delly, had been centered in the act of killing Omar Jessup.
But nothing changed. Jessup was dead, but so was Delly. And then, slowly but with a fearful thoroughness, it came to him. It was never going to change. No matter what he did, it was never going to change.”
Tragg’s Choice by Clifton Adams
“She looked out at the country mushrooming on the other side of the glass. She knew what it contained, its colors, the penury and the opulence, hazy memories of a less cynical time, villages emptied of men. But on contemplating the tense stillness of the night, the darkness dotted here and there with sparks, on sensing that insidious silence, she wondered, vaguely, what the hell might be festering out there: what grows and what rots when you’re looking the other way. What’s going to appear? she whispered to herself, pretending that as soon as they passed that lamppost, or that one, or that one, she’d see what it was that had been going on in the shadows. Maybe a whole slew of new things, maybe even some good things, or maybe not. Not even in make-believe did she get her hopes up too high.”
Yuri Herrera, Signs Preceding the End of the World
“They are homegrown and they are anglo and both things with rabid intensity; with restrained fervor they can be the meekest and at the same time the most querulous of citizens, albeit grumbling under their breath. Their gestures and tastes reveal both ancient memory and the wonderment of a new people. And then they speak. They speak an intermediary tongue that Makina instantly warms to because it’s like her: malleable, erasable, permeable; a hinge pivoting between two like but distant souls, and then two more, and then two more, never exactly the same ones; something that serves as a link.
More that the midpoint between homegrown and anglo their tongue is a nebulous territory between what is dying out and what is not yet born. But not a hecatomb. Makina senses in their tongue not a sudden absence but a shred metamorphosis, a self-defensive shift. They might be talking in perfect latin tongue and without warning begin to talk in perfect anglo tongue and keep it up like that, alternating between a thing that believes itself to be perfect and a thing that believes itself to be perfect,morphing between two beasts until out of carelessness or clear intent they suddenly stop switching tongues and start speaking that other one. In it brims nostalgia for the land they left or never knew when they use the words with which they name objects; while actions are alluded to with an anglo verb conjugated latin-style, pinning on a sonorous tail from back there.
Using in one tongue the word for a thing in the other makes the attributes of both resound: if you say Give me fire when they say Give me a light, what is not to be learned about fire, light and the act of giving? It’s not another way of saying things: these are new things. The world happening anew, Makina realizes: promising other things, signifying other things, producing different objects. Who knows if they’ll last, who knows if these names will be adopted by all, she thinks, but there they are, doing their damnedest.”
Yuri Herrera, Signs Preceding the End of the World