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For someone as important and neglected as Michael Rumaker—an essential North American writer who emerged from Black Mountain College at the height of the Cold War, with its central assault on the liberatory aspects of human communication—an introduction is more than necessary. While the virtue of straightforward narrative literary analysis has fallen into disrepute, Leverett T. Smith Jr.’s lucid and informative approach to Rumaker’s varied and complex writing life turns out to be immensely useful. With its appearance—and the recent republication of other key works—one hopes that a new generation of readers will be gained, and more critical attention paid to Michael Rumaker’s unique and expansive artistic achievements.
Leverett T. Smith, Jr. is Emeritus Professor of English at North Carolina Wesleyan College where he still curates the Black Mountain College Collection.