Of Two Stranger Hands: A Reading of William Goyen’s “Precious Door”

Monday, January 10, 2011

Mr. de Persia of two hands, lighthanded and heavyhanded, one hand fleet and light, the other heavy and dark, wizard repairman of two stranger hands, you were just short of being a god. So get up and come back from wherever you, too, have vanished to. With your fleet hand you enameled, you laid in semiprecious stones, you crystallized, you filigreed, you silvered mirrors . . . (Come, the Restorer, I:12)

Chronologically, “Precious Door” comes first in the last train of stories that William Goyen was to write before he died in 1983. Like his other later tales produced on the brink of the end, this threshold story—though clearly the continuation of his previous work—indicates significant changes: the more acute bareness of style, the new driving urgency, and the intensity of feeling that are among the trademarks of Goyen’s last fiction.

More than ever, literature was not the goal for him but rather a means, a tool, and a vehicle to get to somewhere else and reach a place he had never been. Thus writing became both the experience and the record of a trip never taken before, the diary of a major journey within.

“Precious Door” was to give its name to Goyen’s last collection of stories, and the typescript that he sent me in 1983 did bear that title, but at Clarkson Potter (his last publisher), the editor of what was to be a posthumous book insisted to Goyen’s literary executor that she would publish only a volume of selected stories. Eventually this became Had I a Hundred Mouths (1985).

In a letter dated January 24, 1978, Goyen wrote to me from New York:

I’ve finished a strange, apocalyptic story—it has moved me so deeply and strangely; it has come to me as a gift out of the mysteries, I suppose, since it is certainly not autobiographical. I have wept over it. I want you to see it. It is part of this strange new work that is coming to me, about the drunken nurseryman in the icebound greenhouse of glass; the dear Hermaphrodite named Arcadio (“Nature’s Quirk”) who is called Sideshow; the hideous insect that lived at the heart of a Venetian peach and leapt out at the eater who broke the fruit open and was lost in the flowering bushes of Venice where in the night it spun over the path of that same man a jewelled web that shone in the morning dew; and those two loving brothers who tried to kill each other. It is totally mine, has nothing to do with any other world, really my own Secret and to Hell with editors and publishers and reviewers and critics and booksellers. Fuck them all. I must find a way to live without them and make my stories only for myself.

This letter shows that originally, in Goyen’s mind, Arcadio (1983) and the new wave of stories that started coming to him in the late 1970s belonged to one and the same tide. There was obviously no definite border between the country of Arcadio (“Nature’s Quirk,” “Sideshow”) and the world of the other stories summed up in Goyen’s letter: “In the Icebound Hothouse,” “The Texas Principessa,” and “Precious Door.” Eventually, all that material in which this writer was immersed was to become differentiated and would divide itself, and be divided, into two separate works: the novel Arcadio, which Goyen saw only in proof sheets in the summer of 1983, and the posthumous volume of selected and new stories, Had I a Hundred Mouths, which replaced or usurped his own intended collection of new stories only.

These two books, having grown out of the same original seed and mood, necessarily have a lot in common. The kinship is particularly striking when one puts side by side the story “Precious Door” and the second chapter of Arcadio, “Early Visitors to My Solitude.” They begin in similar ways:

“Somebody’s laying out in the field,” my little brother came to tell us. It was eight o’clock in the morning and already so hot that the weeds were steaming and the locusts calling. For a few days there had been word of a hurricane coming. Since yesterday we had felt signs of it—a stillness of air followed by abrupt billowing of wind; and the sky seemed higher, and it was washed-looking. (“Precious Door”)

One time on a hot July night when we were sitting in the dark hoping to get a breath of breeze, I heard my mother whisper, “There’s somebody standing out in the yard.” In the flare of the heat lightning we saw a figure streaming down its whole body with hair struck full of quivering light, with hair of light streaming down to the ground and eyes as glowing as lanterns. (“Early Visitors to My Solitude”)

In addition to those introductory sentences, the two texts have much in common. A kind of diffuse tenderness pervades them. To quote Goyen himself, they are both “apocalyptic,” and both about reconciliation, within and without. Moreover, they both center on androgynous, Christlike figures: Ben’s younger brother in “Precious Door” and of course Arcadio, the hermaphrodite in the novel. But I will focus on the story, which is rich in itself, and self-sufficient.

Like the famous sacred lotus often blooming in stinking swamps, “Precious Door” is an exquisitely perfumed flower grown on a heap of putrefied matter—the writer’s long and painful strife with his father, amply documented in the first published works. I have already examined this enmity in my study of Goyen’s early years in Houston.1 Suffice it to say here that it ended up in a dangerously unbalanced relationship between the writer and his parents. He came to hate his father for a long time, and as a consequence, obviously loved his mother to excess. All this marred and warped love spelled disaster for Goyen—a very private one that took many years to be overcome. In “At Lady A’s,” a mostly autobiographical piece about Katherine Anne Porter (“Lady A”), with whom Goyen had an affair in the early 1950s, he made Lady A say to her companion: “. . . grow into the man you were meant to be, what did your mother and father do to you when you were young that you haven’t grown into the man you were meant to be?”2 This unsettled substratum underlines Goyen’s whole work, and it is also the foundation on which “Precious Door” was written; but of course this story deals exclusively with the relation to the father. A father and his son are the two main protagonists, and the narrator is the son himself, who much later, and like some old friend, addresses the reader directly—which partly accounts for the extraordinary emotion and intensity that suffuse the text, giving it the quality of a whispered confidence.

Without lingering on the conflict between Goyen and his father as it appears in his first novels, The House of Breath (1950) and In a Farther Country (1955), I must say a few words about some unpublished materials that shed more light on the subject, and thereby on the underground portion of “Precious Door.”

Before, during, and after the Second World War, Goyen worked on a novel titled “Christopher Icarus,” based on the separate myths of Glaucus and Icarus. (Glaucus, less familiar than Icarus to modern readers, was transformed from a fisherman into a sea monster when he ate an herb that made the eater immortal; he gained his immortality, but only as a creature with fins and a fish’s tail, forced to live in the sea. In the manuscript of The House of Breath, “Glaucus: Boy of the Grass,” although only fragmentary, suggests the full shape Goyen would have given this story.) According to Goyen, the story of “Christopher Icarus” was like a kind of legend; in fact, it was a very autobiographical one in which he wrote at length about his family and his ideals and longings. And eventually he would insert a lot of this material into his first published novel, The House of Breath. From the unpublished novel:

We must give ourselves up to the land and its mysteries. That is the key. Else we are dead. There is a secret thing in all of us which we are either afraid to touch or unaware of. One must seek it and name it and praise it over and over again. That secret has powerful potentialities—it will turn us live or keep us dead. We must be made quick, learn quickness from the earth and give quickness back to the earth. It is all ritual and legend, man’s life. And we cannot find the secret anywhere but in ourselves, by opening ourselves all up, unfolding, then go deeply digging for it; and by living close with the earth, sun and rain and river and field. By not caging and locking up a spontaneous thing in ourselves. And after all, isn’t that the history of us? Yet we flee ourselves down the labyrinthine ways and die or rot. It’s the spirit, the quick part of us, we must find out and nourish.3

This except shows that “Christopher Icarus” was also about the attempt to give oneself wings so as to fly and flee all the burdens of fear and mediocrity that limit and stultify man, crush and suffocate him, and stop him from rising from his ashes. In “Christopher Icarus” the father of the hero, Dederick Ganchion, has done just the reverse, and has kept “caging and locking up the spontaneous thing” in his son. One day the son decides to loose the bull named Christian that his father has never let go free in the pasture out of fear of what the animal might do. The freed black bull comes rushing down toward and upon the father, trampling and killing him on the spot:

I fell upon the ground by my father and wept. Then I covered the dead body of my father with fresh alfalfa sheaves.

Christian the bull stood puffing under the tree as if he were exhausting the steam of passion, spent of fury and purpose.

No one could convince me that I had not killed my father like a murderer. I was sodden with guilt. I knew I had murdered him and I was afraid. I had even willed to murder him. And yet he was the only one I ever really loved. I pitied all the others.

But I think it was because he tried to force me into a misshapen mould. The corral—Christian in the corral. To force me on the pallet. To close the windows. To lock me, like Christian, in the corral.

This passage is particularly interesting because—as far as I know—it is the only time when Goyen unequivocally “murdered” his father, whom he reproached with all the evils that befell his family and, above all, with his mother’s chronic nostalgia and dissatisfaction. Also, in several stories written in the late 1930s when Goyen was still a student at the Rice Institute (now Rice University), the most unwelcome father was simply not allowed to live at all. That is the case in “The Mockingbird’s Song”4 and “The Children,”5 in which the father has died—but remains present as a ghost!

Goyen no doubt often wondered about heritage and family ties. His second collection of stories was titled The Faces of Blood Kindred (1960), and, significantly, the two epigraphs he chose for The House of Breath were Rimbaud’s famous “Je est un autre” (I is someone else) and Malley Ganchion’s question “What kin are we all to each other, anyway?” from the novel itself. Yes indeed, what are the bonds that link us together? Goyen and his father were incredibly different, as if they came from opposite poles or even planets. Whose son was he? Was he really his father’s son? How could he have been born into a family that counted “henchmen”6 of the Ku Klux Klan among its members, he who composed an opera at the age of fourteen, improvised by ear on his sister’s piano, and started writing so early? He once confided to Reginald Gibbons, “And what son can tell you about his father?! I think the son-father relationship is as enigmatic as can be. . . . That’s a wild nightmare, there, though, that was given to me. And I feel I just have to let it alone. There’s no such thing as clarification of it.”7 “A wild nightmare”! It’s little wonder that Goyen was fascinated by the situation of the orphan.

Things changed dramatically in 1963 when William Goyen married actress Doris Roberts, who had a son, Michael, from a previous marriage. Goyen took care of the little boy as if he were his own. William, the tormented son, had become a father, and looking after the child helped him somehow to “find” his own father in a different way. In his novel Come, the Restorer (1974), the stepfather (Ace Adair) and the adopted orphan (Addis) obviously stand for Goyen himself and his wife’s son Michael. The novel was originally titled “Another Man’s Son.” In Come, the Restorer, after Ace’s death Addis gets to know who his stepfather really was and can sympathize with him and finally love him—as if writing that story (which was also his own) led Goyen back to his own father, too, and made him see his father in a new light. The son discovers the father anew: “And how strange for him [Addis] to feel that he, fatherless boy, had become a kind of father to Ace! He would take care of Ace, protect him, give him consolation, father him; and again, in this new light, in the light of this new discovery, this insight, he asked himself, what is a father, anyway? Can somebody be both son and father?”

In “While You Were Away,” a talk delivered at the Houston Public Library on April 24, 1978, which Goyen had written as a letter to his late father, we find the same understanding tone despite the altogether candid memories of his father’s failures and inadequacies:

The city got rawer, harsher. When a girl from our Sunday School at Woodland Methodist Church was knocked down by a car on Houston Avenue and lay dying in the Church vestibule, I cursed the city and wept for the peace of my town and vowed I would run away. I must tell you again, dear father, what you knew so well later and grieved over, that my search began for physical escape within the confines of my young city; and already I knew the bitter feeling of being torn between plans for flight and the certainty that I could not abandon you. Already the lifetime torment had begun: I couldn’t leave and I couldn’t stay. I used to talk to you about this. But it was only when I began to write about it that you began to understand, to take my book and sit away with it and begin to understand. And oh my beloved father you saw yourself in me, your plight in mine, when it was too late to change your own—if ever you could have.8

These lines suggest that Goyen might have mellowed over the years, but the original conflict with his father could obviously never be forgotten or erased completely. It must be kept in mind that the writer referred to it as a “wild nightmare” in 1982—that is to say, at the very end of his life.

After all this, a story like “Precious Door” comes as a great surprise. It is really as precious as a jewel glowing in the darkness of this relationship. What strikes the reader immediately is the radiancy of what joins father and son together in the sweetest peace; and that feeling of harmony prevails throughout the story, even over the fury of the unleashed elements and the violent interference of Ben, the young stranger who turns out to have murdered his younger brother. Nothing could taint or spoil this state of bliss established on the firmest ground. The little house may “shudder and creak,” but the storm won’t do it any harm, for the very good reason that the hurricane and family house do not belong to the same world. They do not pertain to the same plane, for everything is to be understood symbolically, even though tropical storms are a deadly reality dreaded by all who live near the Gulf of Mexico. They are always impressive, and sometimes apocalyptic. Goyen also used them in “Zamour, a Tale of Inheritance,” and in “The Rescue” (a chapter of his posthumously published second novel—in order of composition—Half a Look of Cain).

The raging hurricane whips and lashes everything dead or alive. The tortured landscape is the world of wild appetites and hungers where passions are rampant. It is a low country where dams and dikes are carried away by strong currents. Such a low, unprotected land is the realm of pain, suffering, and death—a dark, wild region: “In the toiling hurricane that whipped out at our house, our trees and fields, lightning showed us what the storm had already done to the world outside. ‘This must be the worst ever to hit this country,’ my father said.”

While some terrible force is striking and devastating the world, the interior of the house is steeped in the light and warmth of gentleness and love. Inside, life glows and even exceeds itself. Even old things come to life again: “I saw my father’s face filled with softness in the light of the fire. Now the fire was going and brightness and warmth were coming from it, suddenly bringing to life on the wall the faces of my grandmother and grandfather who had built fires in this fireplace; they looked down from their dusty frames on us.”

The fire of love burns all dust and transfigures the living and the dead alike. It allows the narrator (and the writer) to perceive a higher, subtler reality where the father appears—at long last—in a radiant and loving form. Harshness has melted away to reveal the true core within. Despite the death of a stranger in the house, it is a shelter and a haven that protects and even restores to life. It’s as if Mr. De Persia, the wizard repairman of Come, the Restorer, had really come, victoriously this time, to mend and redeem everything, including “the accursed thing” that has always plagued the narrator of that novel, who is Goyen’s double: the suffering in his mind, his heartbreak and perpetual sadness. In “Precious Door” some great magician has finally come to mend “the broken chain of life,”9 and the gap—or rather, the chasm—has been bridged between father and son. Malley Ganchion’s question—“What kin are we all to each other, anyway?”—sounds rather different now.

While those who venture out into this weather are in danger and even doomed, the father and his son are safe because they both stand on a higher plane, both physically and symbolically. The little house is built on a rise of land, and in the middle of the storm the two of them are “marooned.” But their elevation enables them to escape unharmed. Their situation also makes it possible for the reader to concentrate more effectively. Our attention is no longer scattered by the manifold sights of a flat and open landscape, and this favors and increases the intensity of feeling. Goyen reduces the angle of vision and presents the action within his most private theater. When he said that “Precious Door” was obviously “not autobiographical,” this was both true and not true.

“Precious Door” looks like a double story. On the one hand, Goyen tells us about the narrator and his father, and on the other, about Ben and his brother—even though eventually these two stories express two aspects of the same ultimate quest. Ben and the younger brother he has brought up remind us of Christy Ganchion and his gay brother Folner, often called Follie, in The House of Breath. In this novel, Goyen’s first, Christy Ganchion loves and despises his younger brother: “he had raised him like a mother until Folner turned away from him and hated him, and then Christy said he was a sissy and a maphrodite.”10 Like Christy and Folner Ganchion, Ben and his brother not only are members of the same family who can’t stand each other; they also stand for the masculine and feminine drives at war within human beings. This inner conflict is of course Arcadio’s great problem also. It has caused a tumult in his soul, until he surrenders his body to God and becomes chaste and cleansed of desire, until his sexual parts are finally “at splendid rest. Reconciled, that is the word.”11 The obsessed hermaphrodite has been saved by Jesucristo:

God told me to bring my separate parts to peace, reconciliación was the word, Jesucristo said I am a man of reconciliación, un hombre de reconciliación, that’s why he was knocking on the door in the nighttime with the lantern in his hand. Oh many times when I have been afighting with myself and in a terrible fighting I have heard a knocking on my door. And so I begun to live in a truce between my tormented parts close together day and night, understand, closest of neighbors, else I’d have long ago been pulled apart, torn in two, a crazy man, or self-destroyed.12

In the fratricidal struggle of “Precious Door,” the violent brother Ben, who has “a growling voice” and “a look of darkness,” has murdered his gentle, Christlike brother:

The battered friend did not budge, but he was breathing, now quite heavily, almost gasping. The warm water cleaned away some of the blood that was like paste on his lips and cheeks, and then some cool water stroked back his dark hair from his brow; and we saw in that moment when his face and his look came clear to us what would have been called a beautiful girl if it had been a girl; but it was a man. Something shining came through the damaged face, and we knew we had brought a special person into our house out of the weeds of the field.

A few pages later, referring to the same “special person,” Goyen’s narrator says, “He looks like somebody.” In fact, in the first version of this story one could read, “He looks like Jesus Christ.” Goyen once told me that he had altered his original text so as to suggest, rather than state straight out, the inner nature of the beautiful stranger.

The peaceful one is killed by his violent brother. Once again Cain has triumphed over Abel. Ben’s “look of darkness” has probably been worse and heavier than “Half a Look of Cain” to tip the scales onto the side of evil. (Goyen found that title phrase, which haunted him for a very long time, in a play by D. H. Lawrence, David.) Or, to borrow another of Goyen’s favorite images, the Beast has beaten the Beauty. So it is a bit difficult to follow the writer when he says that after Ben has knelt by his dead brother and grieved and sobbed, “the loving enemy brothers” are now reconciled, and “although there was torment between the two brothers, they have been brought together in peace.” After all, that reconciliation did not occur before the death of the stabbed brother. And in fact, when the fiendish figure of Ben is hurled by the storm into the house, the brother whom he did not want to hurt, but whom he nevertheless has knifed, is already becoming only a body.

“What interrupted our mourning was a figure at the window. A figure of flying hair and tearing clothes with wild eyes and a face of terror stared through veils of water.” The raging hurricane expresses the fury of the violent in general, and of Ben’s passion in particular. He is tainted by this world and what he has done in it. His features look distorted by a terrible mixture of guilt and fear. For him, the storm is both within and without. He is to blame for it, for he has begotten it with all his evil thoughts, feelings, and deeds. His act of darkness can be seen all over his wild face. Ben has not come to terms with himself, so how can he find peace in any way? There is no possible reconciliation whatsoever. At the end of the story, Goyen writes:

And for a while it was reported that a floating door bearing the bodies of two men was seen moving on the wide river through several towns. At one town people had said that when it came through there, the raft was whirling in the currents as though a demon had hold of it; but the men stayed put, though it was considered that they were dead. And another time, near the river’s mouth where it flows into the Gulf, they said it rode the crests of dangerous rapids so serenely that it was easy to see the two men, one, alive and fierce, holding the other, dead.

It looks as though a demon has caught hold of the door, so it is difficult to imagine that such a possessed raft can carry two reconciled enemies, two brothers “brought together in peace.” This astounding image is not exactly suggestive of peace of mind and spirit. On the contrary, the story’s final vision is still incredibly violent and even frantic, which is not too surprising, since what comes from violence, and who, necessarily returns to violence. How could it be otherwise? People draw to themselves what they are. In many ways, within and without are one and the same thing. In any case, how can such a door be said to be “precious”? Where does it lead? Where can it take those who use it? What does it open onto and into? I am inclined to think that it can only be a semiprecious door and that, for the reasons mentioned above, the world to which it gives access is far from brilliant. Ben’s violence has dulled the jewel. As a reflecting surface like a mirror, it can no longer open onto reality, beyond appearances.

Had it been the other way around, the demon would have left the door immediately and the churning waters would have calmed. If Ben’s gentle brother had been loved rather than killed, the door would have been a very precious one indeed, a kind of gate to heaven. And of the two brothers, the beautiful stranger, the Christlike victim, is the one who has been able to tame his inner demons and rid himself of them altogether, hence his androgynous and radiant calm, beauty, and dignity even on the brink of death. The only words he utters express his gratitude; he says “thank you” to the narrator’s father, who does his utmost to help him. Such a loving, “reconciled” man would never have harmed even a violent and murderous brother.

The amazing door is, of course, in Goyen’s mind, where it rides “the crests of dangerous rapids,” but not “serenely” at all. A few years later, at the end of the story titled “In the Icebound Hothouse,” Goyen would comment on this door again. In fact, the end of this story, in which the poet-narrator wonders about the front door of his old family house, is a kind of retelling of “Precious Door,” and once more Goyen comes to the same dark and terrible conclusion: “I am done for, the brothers in me have for the last time fought, the dark one won, darkness prevailed.”

On the frosted frontdoor pane was the figure of a mysterious rider with a plumed hat astride a phantom horse the color of a cloud, silver-gray, with plumed cloud-colored mane and plumed silver tail—a Prince? A Knight? But why, I wonder now, was he rearing back as if startled by the knocker at the door, challenging the arriver at the door, “Who are you and why have you come here?” Who put the rider there? Who of my ancestors put the rider there? Why, there were warm stories told at night, loving as often as fearful, as often gay as melancholy. Who among the old dwellers of these rooms was dark? Who put the dark host at the door, rearing suspicious horse and suspicious plumed dark rider shying back from the homeless traveler, from the guest half-welcome? Even for me when sometimes I returned and came, once more to that door, tired and wanting home. Even there. Even then.

There is no flood or storm here, and a few years have gone by, but the two brothers are still fighting. The end of “In the Icebound Hothouse” helps us understand and decipher “Precious Door.” The front door described above is “the whirling raft” but also the door of the little house in which the narrator and his father survive the hurricane: an aperture through which we pass, and at the same time protection against what is on the other side. It is the door of the mind, which can let good or evil visitors in—our “tenants” who sustain us or undo us. It leads to the passageway to our heart of hearts, to what we are deep inside ourselves, and to our greatest heights, too, for if the door successfully protects the house from the storm, then it is really very precious, and the home becomes a refuge and a high retreat, haven and heaven, even in a hurricane, where a wonderful alchemy has turned the “wild nightmare” of the father into “a radiant heaven” for the son.

There, in a secret place within, and much to his surprise, the son realizes that the father is all love and tenderness. Even though the father is said to be afraid of storms, his fear does not prevent him from expressing his bountiful affection:

I could see that my father was glad to have me stay.

My father prayed over the young man, laying his carpenter’s hand on the brow of the suffering man and clasping his hand in love and hope.

My heart was heavy and aching and my face felt flooded, but no tears came for a long time. And when they came, I sobbed aloud. My father held me and rocked me as though I were three, the way he used to do when I was three; and I heard him cry, too.

My father and I were sitting on the cold springs of the daybed whose mattress was the dead man’s pallet, and I could feel the big, strong wrap of my father’s arm around me, pulling my head to his breast. I felt my everlasting love for him, my father.

This flooding love is closely related to the warmth of the fire and the light—“the Light of the World” that is not to be found without but within, as far as possible from what is peripheral, variable and unsettled but close to the unchanging perpetual core that is both our very center, or heart, and our summit.

Actually, this very intimate story takes place in the holy of holies, in the inner sacred temple that is our special ark that never sinks and can brave all storms. And that is exactly what Goyen tells us. It is the inner upper room where the fire is burning and all wounds can be washed, and the door to that room is the “precious door”:

“It’s coming,” my father said. “We can’t stay out here on this screen porch. Latch the screen door and move things away from the open. We’ll move the hurt man into the parlor. What’s your name, friend?” I saw my father put his ear to the young man’s mouth.

My father lifted up the stranger and carried him like a child inside the house to the parlor, where few people went. It was a cool shadowy room used only for special occasions. It looked like my father wanted to give the wounded man the best we had to give.

The parlor receives a most unusual visitor, a really holy host. The wounded man represents Jesus Christ. He is hurt and will die because too many dubious ideas and feelings have passed through that famous door, and Ben, the brother who has entered hale and energetic and has survived this inner conflict, is the dangerous one, the undesirable one who is the product of desiring. In Holman Hunt’s painting The Light of the World (which is at St. Paul’s Cathedral in London, and which plays an important part in Arcadio), Jesus is shown knocking on a door sealed by ivy and vines because it has not been used for ages. That closed door won’t become precious until its owner has opened it and welcomed the luminous and patient being who is always waiting in the night.



[1]. See Patrice Repusseau, William Goyen: De la maison vers le foyer (Paris: Le Castor Astral, 1991), 19–83.

[2]. “Six Women,” in Goyen: Autobiographical Essays, Notebooks, Evocations, Interviews, ed. Reginald Gibbons (Austin: University of Texas Press, 2007), 34.

[3]. What is left of “Christopher Icarus” is to be found at the Fondren Library of Rice University, among the papers related to the genesis of The House of Breath.

[4]. Unpublished in English; published in French translation in Le chant du moqueur, trans. Patrice Repusseau (Paris: Gallimard, 2008), 21–41.

[5]. Published in The Thresher (Rice Institute, Houston), February 11, 1938, 3, and reprinted in Soundings: Writings from the Rice Institute, ed. George Williams (Houston: Anson Jones, 1953), 150–54.

[6]. This was Goyen's word for such people. See Goyen (2007), 122.

[7]. Ibid., 136–37.

[8]. Ibid., 46.

[9]. William Goyen, Come, the Restorer (New York: Doubleday, 1974), 10.

[10]. William Goyen, The House of Breath (Evanston, IL: Northwestern University Press, 1999 [orig. 1950]), 150.

[11]. William Goyen, Arcadio (Evanston, IL: Northwestern University Press, 1994 [1983]), 62.

[12]. Ibid., 60–61.

Saturday, January 1, 2011