This book by a two-time Pulitzer Prize winner treasures books and those who write them. IT is a work of literature about literature. It is, in a sense, autobiographical because what Paul Horgan says here of other writers is true of himself, Words on a page are the central obsession of his life. A Certain Climate is tripartite and muti-faceted: One, Toward History, about the writing of history, the collective human biography; Two, After-Images, essays in the biography of diverse individuals from Willa Cather to Rouben Mamoulian to Alice Roosevelt Longworth; and Three, A Certain Climate, about the value of books, literature, and writers. Throughout, certain central concerns recur: - The individual vision reaching farther than his art can express ); - The relation of form to substance ( Historical writing that is t literature is subject to oblivion ); - The significance of style ( an indispensable element of all lasting aesthetic achievements ); - The relation of intuition and imagination to fact and demonstrated proof (only a power of reconstructive imagination can keep memory memorable ), and of feeling to art ( I believe that artist can fulfill his own vision unless he loves the world ); - The capacity of literature to create reality ( an artist s words once read become part of our own truth and our own qualifying memory ). Paul Horgan s distastes are a reflection of his tastes. Thus, for example, he eschews pedantry and cant, that is, an exclusiveness that seems to disdain the general reader; cynicism as too cheap a response to the marvels of life to yield an act of art; and cultural orthodoxies, for the intellectual slang of a given period, with its reigning critical modishness, is rarely capable of enclosing the aesthetic judgment. The work of an acute and sophisticated intelligence and a rich and passionate mind, A Certain Climate is civilized company of a high order.
PAUL HORGAN is the author of more than twoscore books including seventeen novels, four volumes of short stories, and twenty books of history and other non-fiction. Two of his books are juveniles. His first novel, The Fault f Angels, published in 1933, was a Harper Prize novel. The Pulitzer Prize for History has been awarded to him twice, in 1955 for Great River: The Rio Grande in North American History, which also received the Bancroft Prize, and in 1975 for Amy of Santa Fe. His most recent books are a novel, Mexico Bay published in 1982, in his seventy-ninth year; Of America East and West; the Clerihews of Paul Horgan (Wesleyan 1985); Under the Sangre of Cristo; and A Writer s Eye: Field Notes and Watercolors. Born in Buffalo, New York, 1903, Paul Horgan moved west with his family at twelve years of age to Albuquerque, New Mexico; the history of the Southwest thereafter became a central subject of his writing. He attended the Eastman School of Music and worked in the Eastman Theater in Rochester, New York, and in 1926, became a librarian of New Mexico Military Institute, which he had attended as a boy. He served in the U.S. Army, from 1942 to 1946, as a Chief of the Amy Information Branch in the Information and Education Division, for which he received the Legion of Merit. He had the rank of Lieutenant Colonel at war s end. From 1962 to 1967 he was Director of the Center for Advanced Studies at Wesleyan University, where he has been Adjunct Professor of English; he is now Professor Emeritus and Author-in-Residence. He lives in Middletown, Connecticut.