This study has often referred to an ideal reader assumed, suggested, or demanded by these texts, but another ongoing dialogue within them concerns an ideal author-a debate that centers on the feasibility of a figure combining both art and action. In Mr. Vertigo, such a paragon can be found in the revered memory of Sir Walter Raleigh, the namesake of scrappy protagonist Walt Rawley; Aesop, the African American prodigy taken in by Walt’s mysterious master, Yehudi, observes to Walt: “a man with my brains and your guts, and tall and handsome as well. That’s Sir Walter Raleigh, the most perfect man who ever lived.”1 It is obvious why our authors would be drawn to such an imposing figure, for in him isolation and sociability merge; he can bring his influence to bear on society without compromising what passes for artistic integrity. For Peter Aaron, narrating Leviathan, friend Ben Sachs manages to approximate such a figure, as is evident from his hodgepodge physical aspect: “he resembled Ichabod Crane, perhaps, but he was also John Brown.”2 As such, Sachs seems almost a canceled character, set against himself, deconstructed, but Auster insists that this is not the case, that Sachs is strong-his eventual choice for activism, though ultimately disastrous, galvanizes Aaron, and Auster: “I want to stand up from my desk and do something. The days of being a shadow are over.”3 Sachs, though, may be too strong; Aaron, Auster’s surrogate, feels inadequate in the face of his comprehensive nature, affronted even: “You’re the funny little man who’s been blowing up all these statues. A nice line of work if you can get it, but who on earth picked you as the conscience of the world? The last time I saw you, you were writing a novel.”4