The Two Worlds of William March by Roy S. Simmonds

By Roy S. Simmonds

“Described via José Garcia Villa as America’s ‘greatest brief tale writer,’ by means of Alistair Cooke because the ‘the unrecognized genius of our time,’ and through his biographer as ‘one of the main impressive, gifted, and shamefully overlooked writers that the US has seasoned- duced,’ William March (1893–1954) is remembered, if in any respect, for The undesirable Seed, which March sarcastically considered as his worst paintings. The emphasis within the Worlds of William March is at the literary profession, and we get a reasonably complete photograph of a hardworking, oversensitive, compassionate bachelor, who suffered a sad breakdown past due in existence . . . [and] whose top lengthy works, corporation ok and The Looking-Glass, in addition to March himself are nearly forgotten. . . . Simmonds’s entire, scholarly, and sympathetic examine could redress this unwarranted neglect.” —CHOICE

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Lejeune. Writing to his family, William told them that he had not physically changed much, although he had lost some weight, and that he had witnessed sights he knew he would never be able to forget. 7 Taking advantage of the educational program arranged for the troops, William applied for a course oflectures at Oxford University on the subject of common law pleading. He was not, however, successful in his application, and instead, on March 3, left the Forty-third Company for detached duty at Toulouse University, where, for just over four months, he studied journalism.

There can be little doubt that he had been deeply disturbed and affected by some of his war experiences, not all of which were necessarily related to battle. Although the fighting had been over for a matter of nine months or so, he was still obviously in a somewhat confused state of mind. In this, certainly, he was no different from thousands of other returning veterans. As time went on, he tended either to choose silence when the subject of his war exploits was raised or alternatively to regale his listeners with characteristically embroidered stories.

Even the 102 replacements drafted into the company during the month failed to bring it up to its full strength. The company muster at the end of June numbered 206 officers and men. When he left the hospital on June 29, William was posted to a replacement battalion before returning to his own company on July 11. The whole of the Second Division had been moved in early July to a support area at La Ferte-sous-Jouarre, behind the Chateau-Thierry lines, and had spent a week and a half recuperating and making the most of the glorious weather.

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