When reading SauL Bellow's Hidden Within Technology's Kingdom, a Republic of Letters, I find it hard to fully understand the coherence of the following paragragh. Why did Bellow suddenly mention "Sodom"? And says " I seem to have had a persistent democratic desire to find evidences of high culture in the most unlikely places"? I know there is a cultural knowledge behind the words. But even though I have read the story of Sodom in Bible, I still can't understand why Bellow organizes the paragraph in this way. What did he really want to say?
"Later when I was traveling in the Midwest by car, bus and train, I regularly visited small-town libraries and found that readers in Keokuk, Iowa, or Benton Harbor, Mich., were checking out Proust and Joyce and even Svevo and Andrei Biely. D. H. Lawrence was also a favorite. And sometimes I remembered that God was willing to spare Sodom for the sake of 10 of the righteous. Not that Keokuk was anything like wicked Sodom, or that Proust's Charlus would have been tempted to settle in Benton Harbor. I seem to have had a persistent democratic desire to find evidences of high culture in the most unlikely places. "
Relatively few read Joyce, Proust, etc, so finding that people in small town libraries are reading them, when he might expect numbers to be lower than in more more metropolitan areas with greater access to high culture, is a pleasant surprise. It reminds him of God being prepared to spare Sodom, I assume, because it makes him (and possibly his readers) less likely to look down on these places- they may appear to be cultural deserts when compared to some places, but that does not stop people from thirsting for high culture.