Alms for Oblivion was first published in 1967. Minnesota Archive Editions uses digital technology to make long-unavailable books once again accessible, and are published unaltered from the original University of Minnesota Press editions.
This volume makes available in book form a collection of seventeen essays by Edward Dahlberg, who has been called one of the great unrecognized writers of our time. Some of the selections have never been published before; others have appeared previously only in magazines of limited circulation. There is a foreword by Sir Herbert Read.
The individual essays are on a wide range of subjects: literary, historical, philosophical, personal. The longest is a discussion of Herman Melville's work entitled "Moby-Dick - A Hamitic Dream." The fate of authors at the hands of reviewers is the subject of the essay called "For Sale." In "No Love and No Thanks" the author draws a characterization of our time. He presents a critique of the poet William Carlos Williams in "Word-Sick and Place- Crazy," and a discussion of F. Scott Fitzgerald in "Peopleless Fiction." In "My Friends Stieglitz, Anderson, and Dreiser" he discusses not only Alfred Stieglitz, Sherwood Anderson, and Theodore Dreiser but other personalities as well. He also writes of Sherwood Anderson in "Midwestern Fable." In "Cutpurse Philosopher" the subject is William James. "Florentine Codex" is about the conquistadores. Other essays in the collection are the following: "Randolph Bourne," "Our Vanishing Cooperative Colonies," "Chivers and Poe," "Domestic Manners of Americans," "Robert McAlmon: A Memoir," "The Expatriates: A Memoir," and an essay on Allen Tate.