In Robert Stone’s 1986 novel, Children of Light, the heroine, a Hollywood actress, encounters a Mexican avant-garde painter who has sold some paintings to an American department store. Agonizing over his sellout, the artist confesses that he’s never “spoken the truth in English,” and wonders whether such a thing is even possible. “Oh yes,” the starlet wittily replies, “but very Protestant.” The gibe takes aim at an earnest American...
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R. Clifton Spargo, a fiction writer and critic, is the author most recently of Vigilant Memory: Emmanuel Levinas, the Holocaust, and the Unjust Death (Johns Hopkins). He teaches at Marquette University.