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The Inman Diary: A Public and Private Confession (Vols 1-2) Hardcover – January 31, 1985
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From Library Journal
Inman (1895-1963), a sensitive would-be poet from a moneyed family, virtually withdrew from normal existence after a breakdown in early manhood. With necessities seen to by wife and staff, he concentrated on his immense diary, which filled 155 volumes at his death. He recorded not only striking descriptions of contemporary Georgia and New England, but a wild assortment of bigotries and fantasies. He kept in touch by reading and through ``talkers'' paid to discuss their lives in his darkened sickroom (females were required to go considerably beyond talking). Their stories, too, became part of the diary, abridged here to a hefty sampling of Inman's peculiar mind and habits. An unusual mix of social history and case study. For large collections. Starr E. Smith, Georgetown Univ. Lib., Washington, D.C.
Copyright 1985 Reed Business Information, Inc.
About the Author
Daniel Aaron is Victor S. Thomas Professor of English and American Literature, Emeritus, Harvard University.
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Not great stuff, this Diary, but interesting stuff, despite Inman's fathomless self-delusion as to his merit, and better than the stuffy memoirs and press-agent puff that otherwise draped the events of Inman's time. A repellent but fascinating neurotic of the first water, but a shrewd judge of people in some ways as he vicariously lived and reported on their ordinary lives -- somewhat Proustian in its less-talented way. Whatever the source of Harvard's reluctance to publish more Inman (and it may have been a qualitative and commercial publishing decision that was quite warranted), one hopes historians of 20th Century Boston may find more of it worth mining at the Houghton Library, along with its many photographs and some 100 hours of sound recordings.
A hypnotic read in its way. Not something one might ordinarily pick up, but it was the imprimatur of Daniel Aaron as editor and HUP as publisher that made me think "there might be something here". And so there is.
It's heavy, and the man hated everyone (he was a HARDCORE bigot).
Read it because you want to understand the psyche of someone who has left a tedious chronicle of their life culminating in suicide. He was unpleasant and not at all likeable.
Most people who kill themselves leave no reason behind. Arthur Inman leaves 40+ years of reasons behind. In a nutshell - Arthur Inman was a self-important bigot.
Don't get me wrong. His suicide didn't offend me. I'm pro-choice in ALL RESPECTS. You can do, with yourself, whatever it is you want. I don't moralize it.
It's your life, but for god's sake, read and be educated.
Mike (who ACTUALLY READ both volumes edited by Daniel Aaron)