“Why do exceptional writers disappear?” a reader of Cynthia Crossen’s regular “Book Lover” column in the Wall Street Journal:
Morley Callaghan is my favorite 20th-century novelist. His That Summer in Paris is among the best of memoirs. His writing is splendid, but he is forgotten. Every book lover can list authors who were wonderful and maybe even great (John Marquand, John Dos Passos, Erico Verissimo) but who are gone. Why do exceptional writers disappear?
Crossen admits that Callaghan’s name is unknown to her, but in her defense, notes that,
… even in the 1960s, Mr. Callaghan was “perhaps the most unjustly neglected novelist in the English-speaking world,” wrote Edmund Wilson, who hypothesized that Mr. Callaghan might have been the victim of geographical snobbery. Critics seemed to doubt that even a literary genius comparable to Chekhov or Turgenev â€œcould possibly be functioning in Toronto.â€
She concludes with a mention of this site: “A very fine Web site, neglectedbooks.com, has many links to lists of lost classics as well as its own ruminations on the subject.” But then she also points out that, “… a site search showed not a trace of Morley Callaghan.”
Well now it does, courtesy of Ms. Crossen.