Notes For a Character Study

  • John Rackliffe
Keywords: F. O. Matthiessen


The letter sent out by the editors of MR, asking for contributions to this memorial issue, speaks rightly of F. O. Matthiessen as "an extraordinarily complex, many-sided personality, by no means free of inner contradictions." Burdened, perhaps even endowed, with these inner contradictions, Matty faced an outer world equally and fiercely full of contradictions. They insistently tore at his mind and his heart: he continued to face the world bravely. His courage was doubly rare and admirable because he carried with him always a sharp and heavy sense of his own responsibility to make that world more bearable and more livable.