total absence of elegance

November 5, 2019

American style in writing – current and general – is commonplace, prosaic, pedestrian, homely, as French never is. Even in Harper’s and Vogue, so-called aristocratic publications, there is a total absence of elegance,  subtlety,  nuances.  Even there the plainness and ugliness is apparent. No wonder I have failed here. I am their antithesis. The poet is the antithesis of America. Just as they don’t know “race,” clothes, distinction, of any kind, their writing reflects vulgarity and looks shabby, seamy,  like faded slippers for tired feet. Mongrels.  But real mongrels acquire a personality from their wanderings. The American mongrel is bourgeois and colourless besides.

Anaïs Nin
Diary entry, December 3rd 1941

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