By Zeese Papanikolas MA BA

In American Silence, a supplement to his prior research Trickster within the Land of Dreams, Zeese Papanikolas investigates a few major American cultural artifacts and the lives in their makers. For Papanikolas, either the personal disasters and public successes of Clarence King, Henry Adams, Gertrude Stein, Ernest Hemingway, Raymond Chandler, and Hank Williams resonate with silences. those silences—absences and omissions—put them against the yank mythology of luck and show the fundamental solitude Alexis de Tocqueville came upon on the center of the yankee soul. The painters George Caleb Bingham and Jackson Pollock and the recent Orleans photographer E. J. Bellocq expand the topic of erotic loss and the redemptive probabilities of paintings past it into the world of the visual.
 
On a deeper point, the lives and works of those writers, thinkers, artists, and public figures attach them to extra tense questions of yank crimes of race and despoliation. Their silences and reticences comprise a lingering pathos rooted in a recognition of utopian risk simply neglected and to an unspoiled nature nearly inside of dwelling memory.

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The real mountain, the Diamond Mountain, has been made by desire.  You don’t get to Diamond Mountain any conventional way. General David Colton was brought to it blindfolded in the summer of 1872. A month or so later, after wandering around the Utah-Colorado-Wyoming borderlands lost for four days a delegation from the San Francisco investors who had dispatched Colton arrived at a flat sandstone rock below a timbered mesa. indd 26 1/16/2007 3:29:26 PM Henry Janin went to work with picks, shovels, and pans.

The name Jesus. Names of the places where the boxes and the beautiful cloths and the carved little old men and children and delicate ivory bridges came from: Canton, Formosa, Peking. There was the name Amoy, the place where his father had died. The smells and the things hidden in the chests were connected to his father. The women taught him to pray. They taught him about the crime that lay on the land, the crime of slavery. Of places where the poor Negroes were whipped and hunted down if they tried to run away.

Indd 30 1/16/2007 3:29:26 PM market. The glittering diamonds and rubies turned out to be cheap, second-rate gems bought in bulk in London and Paris. The two “simple old prospectors” (perhaps with a little help from Harpending and the slippery Englishman Rubery) had salted the claim. But more important, they’d salted the minds of a ring of clever money men in New York and San Francisco and even London, for Baron Rothschild had his own man on the board. They had salted the United States Congress with some favorable mining legislation through General Ben Butler, who had been awarded his own little souvenir of the mines in the form of a block of stock.

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American Silence by Zeese Papanikolas MA BA
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