Commentaries - August 2009
"The Ghetto Fights," by Marek Edelman, was published in a pamphlet called The Warsaw Ghetto: The 45th Anniversary of the Uprising by Interpress Publishers. Hard-to-find document I've made available through my Holocaust site. Marek Edelman (born December 31, 1922) is a Polish political and social activist, cardiologist, and last living leader of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising of 1943. For more, go here.
James Wechsler's memoir is titled Reflections of an Angry Middle-Aged Editor. In one chapter, "The Age of Unthink," Wechsler recalls a frustrating encounter with Jack Kerouac during a symposium on "the Beat generation" at Hunter College in 1958. Here is the text of the entire chapter.
Here's the moment when Wechsler first encounters Kerouac:
As I walked a trifle uncomfortably down the center aisle to the stage, I got my first view of the leader of the Beat Generation. He was attired in a lumberjack shirt unadorned by tie, but there was nothing especially ostentatious about his lack of dress. A little more flabbergasting was the discovery that he was holding what proved to be a glass of brandy, and throughout the evening he made several trips to the wings for a refill. Kerouac acknowledged my arrival by observing, "You ruined my sentence," and then resumed a discourse which I am obliged to describe as a stream of semiconsciousness.
There it is: "You ruined my sentence." One writer's half-attentive opening remark to another.