O'Hara Gets Referenced

New Literary Credit

By James MacDonald
Martin Kich, of Wright State University, has written an entry for John O'Hara in an on-line reference book called The Literary Encyclopedia. In it, he says that the post-modernist novelists William Gaddis and Joseph McElroy owe something to O'Hara for their treatment of American business conduct. O'Hara, no doubt, would disdain post-modernism as he disdained much academic work. But this late tribute, if pursued, could finally elevate From the Terrace to the esteem O'Hara always wanted for it (and I assume he had this novel in mind when he thought he was a Nobel Prize candidate).

It's possible to say at least that O'Hara focuses as much on business as Gaddis and McElroy do, and that Gaddis's use of dialog relies on techniques pioneered by O'Hara in From the Terrace (page after page where the speaker is barely identified).

It would probably take a formal study to make this case completely. But anything that returns readers to this late favourite of O'Hara's ought to be very welcome.

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