The Founders

“It is probable that I could pick one crow a week with the American university system ‘for the rest of my natural,’ but two immediate crows are quite obvious, one with the modus of teaching history omitting the most significant documents, and second the mode of teaching literature and/or ‘American literature,’ omitting the most significant documents, and assuming that the life of a nation’s letters is restricted mostly to second-rate fiction.

“From 1760 to 1826 two civilized men lived and to a considerable extent reigned in America. They did not feel themselves isolated phenomena. They were not by any means shrunk into a clique or dependent on mutual admiration, or on clique estimation. They both wrote an excellent prose which has not, so far as I know been surpassed in our father-land, though Henry James had a style of his own (narrative) which was fit for a different purpose.”

–THE JEFFERSON-ADAMS LETTERS AS A SHRINE AND A MONUMENT, 1937

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