Reading: Elizabeth Hardwick

I found these stories by Elizabeth Hardwick rather draining overall, but I liked the characterization below:

From “The Classless Society” in The New York Stories of Elizabeth Hardwick

With his impatient, moralizing bent, Clarence was a powerful enemy. Clarence’s enmity was, like the Nesbitts’ insults, purely verbal. He did not wish to effect a deterioration in his antagonist’s circumstances so much as to cause everyone to think of his victim precisely as he did. If he thought someone charmingly foolish or harmlessly inane, he was not satisfied until the whole world acknowledged their foolishness or inanity. It was an agony to him that there might exist an intelligent person who knew his circle of friends and yet saw the various members of it in a light opposed to his own. To insist on his own view was, to his mind, “telling the truth.” Stubbornly he repudiated the tolerant, careless opinion, and with a great show of idealism and objectivity he corrected it.

— p 108


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