Nathanael West

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Nathanael West (born Nathan Weinstein; October 17, 1903 – December 22, 1940) was an American author and screenwriter. He is remembered for two darkly satirical novels: Miss Lonelyhearts (1933) and The Day of the Locust (1939). He died in a car crash in 1940, aged 37.




  • He sat in the window thinking. Man has a tropism for order. Keys in one pocket, change in another. Mandolins are tuned G D A E. The physical world has a tropism for disorder, entropy. Man against Nature . . . the battle of the centuries. Keys yearn to mix with change. Mandolins strive to get out of tune. Every order has within it the germ of destruction. All order is doomed, yet the battle is worth while.
    • p.104 [Chapters are unnumbered. Page numbers per the Nathanael West "Complete Works" Picador Classics paperback, 1988 edition.]



Rondeau (1922)


My lady's eyes appear to be
Like brimming pools of ecstasy,
Deep wells, from which the twinkles flow
Unceasingly as on they go
To charm me with their witchery;
Mayhap an easy prey they see,
Enmeshed by their dexterity;
I can't protest; they thrill me so—
My lady's eyes.

Although they gaze alluringly,
Appealing with such potentcy,
Oft times in them I see a glow
Which warns me that I should go slow,
For then, you know, I really see
My lady lies!

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