Alexander Eliot – Alan Harrington

My lanky, sallow, saturnine friend Alan Harrington had the distantly bemused air of a desert dweller. Alan’s mother was an anthropologist, working among  America’s Southwest Indian tribes, so I wondered whether he might be half Indian. If so, he never mentioned it.

Competitive buddies from prep school days, we used to play chess once or twice a week, attended prizefights, and boxed occasionally as we had in school. Subject to the macho tradition of our literary idol Ernest Hemingway, Alan and I especially enjoyed boxing, or thought we did.

At this point, I couldn’t punch out a wet wall of Kleenex. Back then, however I supposed that I possessed punching power. But Alan was a relatively graceful fighter, with a longer reach. My “deviated septum” condition stems from his nice, abrupt left jab.

His best remembered novel, “The Revelations of  Dr Modesto”, became a small cult classic. That owed a great deal to Luba  (“the Tuba”)  Petrova. his imperious mistress and manager.

Alan and I collaborated on a science-fiction spoof for the New Republic, called “We Take you Now to Bikini.”  After that, we made a  serious attempt at radio-drama: “The Trial of Ezra Pound.”  We wrote our radio show in order to give Pound the fair trial which he’d never received.

The broadcast executive to whom we offered our script returned it with a scrawled note:

“Far too controversial for the nation’s airwaves.”

(Excerpt from Alex’s forthcoming memoir, to be published by WriteSpa Press)

2 thoughts on “Alexander Eliot – Alan Harrington”

  1. alan was my uncle…i am poring over alex eliot’s “three hundred years of american painting” which alex gave to my parents for xmas in 1957. alan (and his wife, my aunt luba) died some time ago. alex certainly won’t
    remember me, but please, if you are in touch with him, give him my love anyway. thanks.

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