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Hospitality

In response to:

Crier in the Wilderness from the August 24, 1967 issue

To the Editors:

In regard to Mr. Adams’s question: “Did Mr. Tate indeed kick Mr. Dahlberg out of the house…” No. Allen Tate did not kick Edward Dahlberg out of the house. The “quarrel” came after the week-end visit. Mr. Dahlberg wrote me a cantankerous letter berating me for a discourteously phrased invitation, for inadequate hospitality, and for my opinions about the Equal Rights Movement. I was, in his opinion, “a misanthropic humanitarian.” Allen Tate took exception to the letter and wrote tartly to Dahlberg.

Both Mr. Paul Carroll and Mr. Edwin Seaver had access to all of the letters written to me. Dahlberg tells me he chose to have nothing to do with the selection or editing, and did not, in fact, know what was to be included.

Therefore Mr. Seaver and Mr. Carroll made their selections without help or hindrance from Edward Dahlberg or any of Dahlberg’s correspondents. I consider that both Mr. Carroll and Mr. Seaver read the letters with competence, intelligence, and concern. Neither man was indifferent to the problem of accurate presentation insofar as that problem could be solved without the inclusion of the replies to Mr. Dahlberg’s letters. Edward Dahlberg, understandably concerned with work in progress, simply let the chips fall.

Mr. Dahlberg and I remain friends and I should like to say that I mind that a man of Dahlberg’s stature should be discussed with somewhat snide sarcasm…the current critical mode…the tidy stiletto.

I am glad Mr. Adams thinks Edward Dahlberg to be an A.A.A.—an Authentic American Artist. I think, by Priapus, he is. If so then personal letters, whatever their quality, are of interest on the printed page no matter what they reflect. Most of Dahlberg’s letters show his passionate concern about the ways in which his correspondents use and misuse their lives and talents. He scolds but he cares.

I recently had a letter from Dahlberg in which, discussing certain literary matters, he says: “There is too little indignation about anything any longer. And as a result hardly any affection.”

Isabella Gardner

New York City

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