There’s a whole fraternity of … writers convinced of their greatness and obsessed with their status. They seem genuinely important in their own time, but the farther away from them you get, the more special pleading they seem to require. The proof is never on the page. It takes work to see why they mattered, why they provoked so much controversy, why they were read or performed at all. Call them the footnote club, or the asterisk brigade. Or think of them as the white dwarves of literature; those cold, distant stars that seem bright at first but then dim by degrees until they seem always on the edge of being swallowed by the night.