Dear Sinclair: —

I've just been enjoying your Henry Ford article! Could anything be more delicious than the unconscious humor of the Bourgeois mind — or more tragic in its implications? I used to be of the impression that the world was run by capable men, as a matter of course. Slowly it dawned upon me that comparatively few men ever become intellectual adults, and that our world is really run by big children. They will discuss everything under the sun but the real question, just as they are doing now at Paris. Couldn't a significant article be written on the relation of the sense of humor to the revolutionary process? Always the class that supports the moribund system seems to be without that sense, while the revolutionary classes have it in abundance. When men can no longer see themselves & chuckle at what they are, they seem to be lost. Of course, the idea is old, old; but a new appreciation could be made.

Did you see The Public for March 1st? The whole number struck me as being rather funny, and I was seized with an itch to kid the editors. Assuming the psychological atmosphere of the Bourgeoisie, I wrote a rather raw and hasty letter, which I enclose, together with the note I received from the editor, Cooley. I had hopes that the Public would print my inquiry, and that some benevolent pig-head might undertake to enlighten me! It would have been great fun. Nothing doing in the enlightenment business, however! I wasn't quite pig-headed enough to get across, it appears.

Recently I received a book called "Casting Out Fear" by the "Hon. Mrs. Lionel Guest" — the richest bit of unconscious humor I have ever seen! I wrote a review of it, and of course, it won't appear. The "Hon. Mrs." pointed out that fear is all that is wrong with the world, and that poverty is unnecessary, even unintelligent(!) because "all share equally the time in which to make money!"

I would like to spend half my time in writing about our Bourgeois literature, seeming to take it seriously yet making it appear at least half as ridiculous as it really is.

I've just finished reading a book called "The English Village" in which there is prime material for your proposed work on Literature in the "Dead Hand" series. It shows how literary criticism in some important instances has been influenced by the economic system. Old to you, of course. Nevertheless right in line with your thesis.


Jno. Neihardt