Summer 1962 • Vol. XXIV No. 3 Nonfiction |

Peyrefitte

I don't pretend to know why English language writers usually have soft centers: the peoples who, for some unfathomable reason, are known as Anglo-Saxon shrink from beholding themselves and mankind in the raw. Surely most mirrors in Britain and America have a faint tint of rose in their depths? French writers, who look long and hard enough into themselves to find out what people are like, laugh when they succeed; nor is their self-love, commonly referred to as love of humanity, impaired by the shock; probably because they knew all the time, really. English language writers so rarely penetrate to the inside that their successes in this endeavor are not statistically significant; but when they do succeed the shock turns them sour, their souls behave like milk in a thunderstorm, and they begin—like Swift with his ridiculous Houyhnhnms and his hysterical vision of Yahoos, or like Nigel Dennis in Cards of Identity—to betray their sentimentality by writing with hate. The English, altho

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