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United States: Essays 1952-1992 Chapter Summary & Analysis - "John O'Hara" (1964) Summary

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"John O'Hara" (1964) Summary and Analysis

As a prolific, naturalistic recorder of the social conventions of his time, John O'Hara serves as a mirror for the narcissistic middle class of post-war America, according to Vidal, but should not be taken for a serious, important writer of fiction. Vidal's essay on O'Hara coincided with the publication of Elizabeth Appleton, one of some 30 volumes of stories, plays, essays and novels by O'Hara.

Quoting George Santayana on Somerset Maugham, Vidal says the same observation holds true for O'Hara: "They [stories] are not pleasing, they are not pertinent to one's real interests, they are not true; they are simply graphic or plausible, like a bit of a dream that one might drop into in an afternoon nap." Yet Vidal says the one good reason to seriously consider popular literature is because it reflects "unconscious presuppositions"...

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This section contains 374 words
(approx. 2 pages at 300 words per page)
Purchase our United States: Essays 1952-1992 Study Guide
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United States: Essays 1952-1992 from BookRags and Gale's For Students Series. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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