language pushes for its own form of transcendence. The word for West is like the empty bottle that he fills with "warm, dirty water." He has taken a cliché-ridden language, drained it, refilled tired symbols with new meaning, and elevated those signs to high art. In the end, Shrike's language may stifle life "with a thick glove of words," but West's overall vibrantly grotesque language "simultaneously confronts the antipoetic and the ugly and presents them . . . as the closest we can come to the sublime" ( Van O'Connor19).
Bakhtin Mikhail. Rabelais and His World. Trans. Helene Iswolsky. Bloomington: Indiana Univ. Press, 1968.
Duncan Jeffrey. "The Problem of Language in Miss Lonelyhearts." Modern Critical Views: Nathanael West. New York: Chelsea House, 1986.
Gentry Marshall Bruce. Flannery O'Connor's Religion of the Grotesque. Jackson: Univ.of Mississippi Press, 1986.
Harpham Geoffrey. On the Grotesque: Strategies of Contradiction in Art and Literature. Princeton: Princeton Univ. Press, 1982.
Mann Thomas. Past Masters. Trans. H. T. Lowe-Porter. Freeport: Books for Libraries Libraries Press, 1968.
Orvell Miles D. "The Messianic Sexuality of Miss Lonelyhearts." Modern Critical Views: Nathanael West. New York: Chelsea House, 1986.
Ruskin John. "Grotesque Renaissance." Stories of Venice. New York: Whitney Library of Design, 1976.
Van William O'Connor. The Grotesque: An American Genre and Other Essays. Carbondale: Southern Illinois Univ. Press, 1962.
West Nathanael. Miss Lonelyhearts. New York: Chelsea House, 1987.
-----. "Some Notes on Miss L." Contempo 3, no 9 ( May 15, 1933): 1-2: reprinted in Twentieth Century Views. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice Hall, 1971.