G(erald) B(asil) Edwards Guy Davenport - Essay

Guy Davenport

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

The passage of time always involves a metamorphosis, and any richly detailed account of a life that spans our paradoxical century of continual advances in technology and savage regressions into violence must, as Edwards so subtly does [in "The Book of Ebenezer Le Page"], draw a tragic distortion of the human spirit. (p. 1)

A classic bachelor, Ebenezer becomes (without realising it) the classic ironic observer of his constrained, ingrown little society: that is, he becomes a novelist. As if by instinct he buys in old age a blank book and records his life.

The parallel with Proust is suggestive. This is a Proustian work in two senses. It conceals its major theme in a river of sharply...

(The entire section is 636 words.)