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brighten in his presence and regard him with resigned affection. I have had Dallas businessmen who met him by accident, in the Menger bar, say, or on a plane, speak to me time after time, savoring the recollection, of a moment of magic talk with Dobie. I think this is because he is the easiest man in the world to be with. We once drove to Corpus Christi from Austin and after an hour of good talk relaxed into silence. An hour later, Frank started talking again. “There is a kind of silence that is a sign of friendship,” he commented. But he is not only easy, he does have a magic of presence. He is as good a listerier as a talker. Somehow around Frank, everybody feels intelligent and life seems good. Many famous men leave you feeling diminished \(a few of my own examples: William Faulkner, W. H. Auden, Thomas ampler than you are. The amazing thing is that he has found time to keep alive literally hundreds of friendships. Perhaps this is because he is fundamentally a too generous man. His willingness to help other writers is legendary writing forewords for books of friends, handing over long-accumulated documentations from his own files, reading manuscript for critical correction, helping find a publisher, simply lending moral support. Any annual meeting of the Texas Institute of Letters becomes a sort of Dobie Tribute, with principal speaker and prize winners gratefully acknowledging some sort of debt to Mister Frank. On at least two occasions, afternoon speeches have consisted primarily of some Texas writer’s reading aloud advice sent by Dobie in letters. From looking over files at the Southwest Review and at the News, I can testify that he has been joyfully promoting this sort of intellectual ferment since at least 1922. Unlike most writers, he is neither jealous-hearted nor egocentric. Ari exemplary man is one whom it strengthens you to think upon. I am sure I speak with the voice of nearly every Texas writer alive today when I say that Dobie’s work and his existence have been the most important source of strength that we have found outside ourselves in our time. In moments when it is hard to cope, the mere thought of that granite-like face on which experience has carved its map, that face whose muscles tense at folly or relax into that life-warming grin, is healing and salutary. He belongs to the life-enhancers. WASTED MY GOLDEN YOUTH on lost causes,” Dobie told a reporter in Dallas in 1960, no doubt speaking casually but perhaps going deeper than he had realized. It is true that he has made so many public appearances, is such a congenital defender of “underdogs,” has been such profitable newspaper “copy” for most of his life, has given so much time to editing and helping other writers’ work, he has become a “celebrity” these days more than a “writer” in the public mind. Dobie as a “character” has obscured Dobie the artist. Too many Texans, listening to him, reading reports of his pronouncement on “politics” and “educationists” and “superpatriots” and “typical Texans,” feel they know Dobie without having taken the trouble to read him. Too many who have read him have not read between the lines. He is our Robert Frost; he is an institution. If he lends his presence to an occasion, it takes on extra shine. But that same presence presides in his books; that same presence and his craft are what make them literature. Dobie is a whole man, giving proper proportion to literal fact, to scientific observation, to the transforming power of imagination, to human and individual meaning. What he ultimately stands for is the legitimacy and the value of poetic truth. His mustangs belong to verifiable fact, but they also symbolize a new breed in a new world, doomed to disappear but destined to endure in the ideal of freedom. His home-haunted longhorn Sancho bespeaks man’s yearning for a life Houston The difference between Frank Dobie and most other authors who have written during our century is simply that Dobie is a full-grown man. In our day one of two fates has almost inevitably befallen the artist. He may exile himself and become an intellectual and emotional alien, even though he continues to live among his fellow-tribesmen and fellow-demesmen. And here we have all those -oddball doctrinaires Who are now writing in France, the Americans who write for the Nation with the full confidence of Job’s comforters that wisdom shall die with them, the others who write those airy and graceful confections of nothing in particular for the New Yorker. The heartiness or even the vulgarity of Fielding or of Smollett is gone. Addison, and Steele, and Dr. Johnson were sure that they were conversing with their fellowmen and even instructing them. That confidence exists no longer, unless perhaps Walter Lippmann has a little of it. Or the artist may discover how to please the audience and proceed to do just exactly that. Consider the unctuousness of the Saturday Evening Post or of the Reader’s Digest. Consider the phoniness of the Cosmopolitan. Or, for that matter, consider even so accomplished a story-teller as John O’Hara. Somebody said that even the scullions in Balzac have genius. Well, even the most flamboyant and expensive harlots, even the most ponderous tycoons, that one Hubert Mewhinney is a Houston newspaperman and columnist. He wrote A Manual for Neanderthals \(University of that is not rootless, a loyalty to the sense of place. Without using modern techniques of introspection in his works, he nonetheless knows who he is. He has incorporated into his writing the self-knowledge of a wise man who believes that mere literal chronicle can not exhaust the amplitude of reality. In short, Dobie is a man of creative imagination. Posterity will, I believe, take him much more seriously than he has been taken in his lifetime. It will keep his books alive as long as any written by Texans or about Texas since Cabeza de Vaca’s Relacion of 1542, not alive just as history or folklore but as the work of a unique artist, bearing witness to reality. So long as individual sufficiency is reckoned a virtue in the understanding and the structuring of life, Frank Dobie will be proudly remembered. So long as story patterns convey meanings, as they have since the dawn of literature, in a way unlike that of other forms of expressing truth, Dobie will remain one of the few Texas “immortals.” finds in the pages of O’Hara somehow manage to be deplorably dull. Or take the tally a little farther. Consider Ernest Hemingway, who won a Nobel prize. Two things are chiefly notable. The first is the marvelous narrative technique. The physical event becomes extraordinarily vivid. And yet the skill is no greater than that of Kipling in such stories as “The Drums of the Fore and Aft” or “The Undertakers.” Kipling was the man who had little sense enough to exhort us solemnly to take up the white man’s burden. And similarly we at last discover that Hemingway’s other notable quality is that his outlook is that of an uneasy eighteen-year-old boy, trying to put up a bold front after he has read Darwin, Spencer, and very likely Jack London. Or, when he hunts antelopes in Africa or tries to catch a big fish at sea, he is merely another trophy-seeking city dude, even though an accomplished one. There is even some resemblance to that other fighting man, Cassius Clay. This is not saying much about Dobie, is it? Well, it is saying at least that Mr. Frank is real. That he has loved the out-ofdoors without trying to impress himself upon it, without trying to see how big a moose or how big a bear he could shoot, and has still roped and saddled many a horse in the early morning and smelt the smoke of many a campfire at night. He has never been an exile. He has been as ready to speak his mind about what was going on around him as Emerson or Lowell ever was. And quite a number of people have listened, in Texas and elsewhere, too. July A? 4 , 1964 11 He Has Never Been An Exile Hubert Mewhinney