by Ron Phelps
The American Civil War was not like other wars. In A History of the English Speaking Peoples, Winston Churchill said the war “must upon the whole be considered the noblest and least avoidable of all the great mass conflicts of which till then there was record.” Furthermore, the war created a wound, or schism, in the psyche of the American people, a pain rendered even more painful the more one studies the ambiguities of the conflict and the nobility of those who participated in it.
This pain cannot be exorcised logically. The Enactment attempts to heal the wound in the entire country by the use of fiction, which has unique properties of the written word and can be a sort of magic spell or enchantment of the impossible — to effect a reconciliation that cannot be achieved by any other means. Thus, a humble novel might work wonders on the sad and shattered conditions that still prevail in an America that now, more than ever, stands in need of reconciliation and unity. At its bottom, The Enactment is a mystical book for all its scrupulous attention to realistic detail.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Ron Phelps lives in the town in which he was raised: Seminole, Oklahoma. He has written At the School for Angels, a massive collection of short stories, essays, memoirs, prose poems, travel writing, and several other forms of writing. He has also written a one hundred-page analysis of the film Performance, and a political, moralistic novel set in Africa called King Death.
Other achievements include a detailed film script of the first six chapters of Finnegans Wake, a highly formalized book of poetry, an exegesis of the spiritual development of John Lennon, a series of stories about a sixteenth-century Zen master, a surrealist romance of which every sentence is true, a long prose poem called “The Fight Between Carnival and Lent,” approximately five hundred haikus describing the changing seasons on his family’s farm, and fifty love sonnets. He is presently working on a book on film and a gigantic collection of aphorisms, dreams, prose poems, and innumerable other forms included in a piece called From the Hotel in Antarctica Part II With The Search For D Major as a Cigarette.
(2007, paperback, 72 pages)
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