In 1961, a critic described Richard Yates’ most widely read work, Revolutionary Road, as being ‘about the inadequacy of human beings to their own aspirations’. Another wrote that to ‘read Revolutionary Road is to have forced upon us a fresh sense of our critical modern shortcomings: failures of work, education, community, family, marriage … and plain nerve’. Both articulate what is at the center of Yates’ worldview, and so his writing: a deep, unequivocal belief in the ultimate failure of people to manifest their own dreams, the indifference of contemporary culture to human hope, and hope’s inevitable loss.
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