The Novelist’s Lee

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I can imagine him, instead, standing beside the grave of his junior officer, his neighbor in this small hilly town of Lexington, Virginia. I can imagine him whispering the words of his loss. He was a deeply moving figure for me there, silently and, to the public eye, impassively communing with his younger, other self. He was like a father mourning his son’s death, but he was also an old man with a long and vivid memory mourning the loss of his youth, and in that sense he was all of us, a standing monument to man’s fate. But not made of marble, certainly not. To try to show how unmarblelike I thought he was, I sat down and picked up the pen that Lee would not and wrote The Unwritten Chronicles of Robert E. Lee.