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This issue's letters to the editor.


I thank Professor Hanby for his essay in the Christmas issue. I doubt it could have been published in its full richness in any other publication. As one of the rootless young people Hanby frets about in his essay, I can say that the problem is worse than even he knows. I did not grow up in a town, but in a “census-designated place” within Fairfax County, Virginia, just south of where Hanby teaches. My parents were not from there, nor were the parents of most of my peers—indeed, it was a novelty at my public high school to have parents who had attended the school as well. 

When it comes time for my generation to decide where we desire our remains to rest, I expect almost all of us to choose an option Professor Hanby does not mention in his essay: cremation. According to the Nation­al Funeral Directors Association, the cremation rate is expected to pass fifty percent in 2035. By the time I reach old age (God willing), I expect it will be far higher than that. Cremation fits the lifestyle of my fellow millennials well. Ashes are highly portable and can be spread over any number of exotic locations, or simply thrown into the wind, free to travel forever. A request to be buried in the Grand Canyon or near the main stage at Coachella, by contrast, is likely to be denied. Indeed, like rejecting contraception and homeschooling your children, I expect traditional burials will be restricted to religious fanatics like myself and perhaps a few crunchy luddites. I might come to rest in a less extravagant manner, but I will be happy to finally be rooted to one spot, where I hope my children will be able to pay their respects and pray that my soul will come to rest in our one, true home.

I have not kept in close contact with many of my classmates, but if LinkedIn is any indication, many of them have left the D.C. area for other cities around the country and the world. I have as well: I now live in Hamden, Connecticut, the very same town where Thornton Wilder himself settled in 1930 after many years of waywardness. Hamden is very much not like Grover’s Corners, but his grave is here in Mount Carmel Cemetery, less than ten minutes from where I live. Perhaps I will stay here long enough to be buried someday in the town’s Catholic cemetery, and my children will have a place to be from.

Teaghan Grayson

Hamden, Connecticut

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I must admit, as a besotted admirer of The Lamp, that this is among a handful of head-scratchers that have made me wonder how and why Roger Lewis’s piece on Anthony Burgess (Christmas 2021) was green-lighted. Perhaps the admirable editor agrees with the author’s low estimation of Burgess. Perhaps the very crudity of the reviewer’s condescension to Burgess (so emphatic as to be delusional) was a plus.

John Wilson

Wheaton, Illinois

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The author replies:

I’m glad to hear you have “besotted admirer”! The interesting thing here is that Anthony Burgess’s real name was John Wilson. Is he contacting us from beyond the grave? Actually, my article was based on a very careful reading of Burgess’s poetry, and I don’t think I showed “crudity” but, on the contrary, actual critical acumen.

Roger Lewis

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