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Monkey Business

In response to:

Picking Up the Pieces from the February 23, 1978 issue

To the Editors:

A monkey might have done a better job of reviewing my book (Refiner’s Fire: The Life & Adventures of Marshall Pearl, a Foundling, NYR, February 23) than did Roger Sale. Someone should teach him (Sale) the difference between Romance and Romanticism, the ability that I.A. Richards calls “translation,” and how to read a book without subjecting it to the aggressive frisk of his own politics. I would not, however, attempt to convert him to my idea of a decent intuitiveness anymore than I would try to resurrect the dead or teach an ant to dance. And certainly he has a right to his views, which, for all I know, may be correct. But he suggests that I am a bigot, and that my advice is to “avoid…blacks.” This is an unwarranted personal slander and a terrible lie. There is no place in my book where this is recommended, either directly or indirectly, and I would like that to go on record in your pages. It is already on record in the book.

Mark Helprin

New York City

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