Skip to main content
* Page 7 — Executing his craft with skill: Granted, some readers may consider some of Nelligan's work a bit overwrought by today's standards.
In line 5 of “Nocturnal Confession” the original for "this lonely Town" is la solitaire Ville. Nelligan capitalized "Town", it being his habit to capitalize a word if to his mind it held symbolic weight as a metaphor for the Self, for example.
Nelligan was not a man of the people. Even if meant ironically, his reference in this poem to the “the plebs” — he actually says la plèbe servile (“the servile plebeians”) — sounds absurdly supercilious coming from the mouth of a would-be suicide (i.e., a failure for all to see).
◊ return to nelligan
* Page 11 — The Great Streetcar Conspiracy: The conspiracy ran from 1933 until the late 1940s. General Motors and a handful of corporate allies including Firestone Tire & Rubber along with Standard Oil of California, bankrolled an obscure bus operating company, National City Lines, to acquire streetcar systems in dozens of cities and to dismantle them in favor of gasoline-powered buses. Tracks were ripped up, power lines were pulled down. The victim cities included Los Angeles, Fresno, Sacramento, Oakland, Portland, Spokane, Salt Lake City, Tulsa, El Paso, Montgomery, Mobile, Baltimore, Tampa, and the list goes on. It is uncertain how far the conspiracy was responsible for the declining health of transit in those places. The investors in any case expected their rewards to flow not from transit but from product sales: the contracts required National City to purchase all buses, tires, and petroleum products from its backers. In 1949 the conspirators were convicted of violating the Sherman Antitrust Act. The companies were fined $5,000 each (about $50,000 each in today's money), while the executives who took the rap for their firms were fined a dollar each (ten bucks).
◊ return to grescoe
* Page 14 — Broadacre City: Legendary U.S. architect Frank Lloyd Wright (1867-1959) contended that one important implication of such distance-crunching technology as the telephone and (most of all) the automobile was that people no longer had to congregate in what he considered crowded and unwholesome cities. People could spread out now. In the early 1930s Wright developed a plan for what he named "Broadacre City" — not a paid commission but instead a personal utopian vision realized on paper and in a 12-square-foot model layout. Broadacre buildings were broadly dispersed across a bucolic setting and were linked by a network of landscaped roads. Car ownership would be essential, for Broadacre City was, in effect, a community of drivers.
◊ return to grescoe