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The Day of the Locust, Nathanael West,
and Old Hollywood aficionados . . .

The Truly Monstrous:  A Literary Critique of 

The Day of the Locust

by David Anthony, Ph.D.

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I first read Nathanael West’s The Day of the Locust in college and ever since then my acquaintance with West has been, as  biographer Jay Martin has termed, a “magical possession."  My rakish, cerebral life, has allowed me to bring that possession to fruition.

  

For more than a decade I was a performance artist specializing in bondage, discipline, and sadomasochistic (BDSM) shows in Hollywood, California.  I’ve also dabbled in stage and film as both a writer and actor.


These experiences, combined with 20 years as a sociology professor, have provided me unique opportunities to see firsthand and analyze the destructive psychodynamics of fame-driven Hollywood which West so masterfully penned.  Eighty years after its publication in 1939, this book demonstrates the volatile conditions for the pathos of which West wrote still exist attesting to the veracity of his work. 

There is a Darwinian social evolutionary downward trajectory for the hateful who stare. They begin with magnificent dreams and are confronted with the nightmare of Hollywood.  It is a town of predators of all manner driven by self interest and personal gain. They gorge on the aspiring leaving behind putrid souls.  The gutted glamour pilgrims come to hate a world that can't be trusted.  They hate themselves for their whorey Faustianism.