When history books are written about the years 2016 to 2021 in the United States (assuming that something called “writing” survives, such things as “books” remain, and any human settlements exist to recollect anything in the way of “history”), it may be possible to consider with some degree of equanimity the character of the forty-fifth President of the United States, the reasons for his election in November 2016, and his assault on the democratic process in January 2021, and what any or all of it tell us about the people who voted for him, the country they lived in, and the times we all inhabited.
Will his occupation of the White House be remembered as an aberration, an interregnum, the signifier of the sorry end of a certain manifestation of post–War white masculinity? Or will his administration represent the embodiment of something very old and very new about how empires end, civilizations crumble, and democratic self-governance shades into ethno-chauvinism, autocracy, and eventual collapse? Will terrible events in the future force us to look back on this period in the same way we gasp at the complacency and self-satisfaction of Europe in the first decade of the twentieth century? Or will it all amount to nothing?
Who knows? Until then, we have The Complete Trumpiad. Conceived in the style and spirit of Lord Byron’s masterpiece Don Juan, this monstrous panjandrum—composed in ottava rima for each month of those four long years—is my outraged, appalled, and ridiculous response. Loaded with both humor and despair, and populated by an enormous cast of misfits, con-artists, literati, scandalmongers, and mythic characters, The Trumpiad is part chronicle, part lamentation, and part absurdist drama. Neither individual volumes nor The Complete Trumpiad are available for sale, but you can read each year online at the links below. If you’d like a copy of the printed work (which contains a complete dramatis personae and all authors’ notes), please write to me at my email address: martin [dot] c [dot] k [dot] rowe [at] gmail [dot] com.
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