Sleep Fictions: A Digital Companion

III.5 Hudson

Rowland’s hope that Roderick is a true genius accounts for his patience with Roderick’s failure to internalize the codes of the leisure class and his resultant dubious social countenance during their early days abroad. While Roderick “took to evening parties as a duck to water,” his poor manners lead several socialites to complain “that he ought to wait till he had something to show for his powers before he assumed the air of a spoiled celebrity."

According to Rowland, however, “this judgement was quite beside the mark, and the young man’s undiluted naturalness was its own justification. He was impulsive, spontaneous, sincere . . . it seemed worth while to allow this rare specimen all possible freedom of action." Roderick remains oblivious to leisure-class propriety: “He interrupted, he contradicted, he spoke to people he had never seen, and left his social creditors without the smallest conversational interest on their loans, he lounged, he yawned." Roderick’s behavior tears away at the invisible seams of leisure-class mannerisms: He shuns conventions of discourse and exposes the enervating dormancy of social leisure.

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