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Literary Precedents for Man Descending

Guy Vanderhaeghe
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The short story "Sam, Soren, and Ed" is a prelude to the novel My Present Age (1984). Two of the most entertaining characters from the novel make their first appearance here: Benny, the bourgeois lawyer who handles divorce proceedings for Ed's wife, Victoria; and Victoria herself, a rather righteous, sexy, determined woman. But the two most important abstract influences in this story — and again they anticipate their own magnifications in the novel — are Kierkegaard and Sam Waters (the "Soren" and "Sam" of the title) — the former being the gloomy philosophic touchstone for Ed; the latter being the projection for Ed's wish-fulfillment fantasies. Where Kierkegaard's journals breed Ed's pessimistic worldview, Sam Waters, the Western hero in Ed's own creative writing, is a remedy for the modern age's malaise. However, by the end of this story, Ed confesses that Kierkegaard is slowly supplanting Sam Waters as his guide...

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This section contains 253 words
(approx. 1 page at 300 words per page)
Buy the Man Descending Short Guide
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