• American Pastoral, written by Philip Roth and a short review by Howard Bigman. "I just read a review of the recently published book "American Pastoral" by Philip Roth. It appears that one of the main characters in the book is a female PWS who grows up to become a 60's radical and who plants bombs which kill several people. She escapes because she is sheltered by her speech therapist. Later on she joins a cult and almost starves to death It seems a shame that even so distinguished a writer as Philip Roth is helping to prepetuate the stereotype of PWS as violent and disturbed people." Howard Bigman (posted to Stutt-L, July 25, 1997)

    L.L.O. writes: "Par Barker's Regeneration trilogy, composed of three novels (Regeneration, The Eye in the Door, and The Ghost Road) are psuedo-historical imaginings of England's WWI poets Sigfreid Sassoon and Wilfred Owen, as well as several other real and fictionalised characters. A central character in all three novels is Dr. W.H.R. Rivers -- who suffers what he terms a 'neurasthenic stammer' (that is, he's stuttered from boyhood for no discernible reason). It's especially interesting because his stammer is seen against the context of several other passing characters with 'shell-shock stammers'. Incidently, the first novel was turned into a wonderful, albeit under-recognised, film starring Jonathan Pryce as the stammering psychiatrist.

    Amazon describes Yukio Mishima's The Temple of the Golden Pavilion: "A hopeless stutterer, taunted by his schoolmates, Mizoguchi feels utterly alone until he becomes an acolyte at a famous temple in Kyoto. But he quickly becomes obsessed with the temple's beauty, and cannot live in peace as long as it exists. "

    Bill Olszewsk adds that the person who stutters is "the principal character in The Temple of the Golden Pavilion. Psychologically, he is a seriousy unbalanced young man who retreats further and further from reality and closer and closer to insanity and/or evil. Consumed with envy of the beauty of the Golden Temple (which stood in Kyoto for over 500 years) his final resort to "honor" its beauty his way is to burn it down. Based on a true story. Mishima makes Mizoguchi's stuttering one element --but an important one--among many in his tragedy.

    The author, Mishima was a multi-talented literary figure in Japan, born a samurai, and wrote many, many short stories, 33 plays, and perhaps 10 or so novels, some of which have been made into movies such as "The Sailor Who Fell From Grace into the Sea" and "Enjo" (based on "The Pavilion of the Golden Temple"). While working on his tetralogy "The Sea of Fertility" Mishima often remarked that he would die when he completed it. On that day, Nov. 25, 1970, he finished the fourth part and committed seppuku --ritual suicide. He was 45.

    The character's name is Alexander Hamilton McCone in the novel Jailbird by Kurt Vonnegut (published by Dell Publishing, 1979). In the book Mr. McCone is the benefactor of the books protagonist and the son of a "brilliant and brutal Scottish engineer and metallurgist." Mr. McCone is scorned by society and his classmates at Harvard not for his stutter but for being the son of very rich and powerful immigrant. Mr. McCone is basically a hermit that runs aides in the operating of his fathers company and by all accounts does very well until an incident at his father"s factory after which he redraws, marries a Rockefeller and becomes the leading art collector in Cleveland, Ohio. This account of a person who stutters shows compassion and a little humor mixed in, but not at the character McCone. (Nick Berkemeier, July 19, 1999)

    last updated July 19, 1999