The second of the extremely special-interest books Michele got me for Christmas. This one's only partly dedicated to Nathanael West, but it's still really interesting. Bombaci deals with West mostly as a Jew, a hereditary outsider. She makes the case for West's protagonists to be seen as flâneurs--people who wander and observe. She takes the freak as a a stand-in for the Jew, and draws historical connections between the two. Interesting stuff, but if her point is that West saw himself and his protagonists as outsiders, then she isn't saying much. The way I see it, most artists see themselves as outsiders. That's why we feel the need to comment. If we were content or felt like we belonged we'd be accountants or something.
I need to read more of these artists. I just got a Carson McCullers book, and I'm interested in Tod Browning's movies. I have no idea about Djuna Barnes. I'll have to look further into her. Then the rest of the book will mean more to me.