It’s about that time of day

“An Algonkin word which an unliterary translator might render correctly as dawn, actually means ‘hither-whiteness-comes-walking.'” — Mary Austin, The Cambridge History of English and American Literature, Vol. XVIII, Ch. XXXII, Sec. 12

We must cultivate our garden

“He who never has a garden, and knows naught of flowers, and never looks back into the earthly paradise,—he is but a slave and serf of the plough, and is accursed.” — Francis Daniel Pastorius (quoted in The Cambridge History of English and American Literature, Vol. XVIII, Ch. XXXI, Sec. 2)

One would hope

“The peasant and the pedant, though one talks like a man and the other like a book, are alike in that each speaks his language in only one way; the educated man knows and employs his language in three or four ways. He has only an enlightened sense of appropriateness to guide him.” — Harry Morgan Ayres, The Cambridge History of English and American Literature, Vol. XVIII, Ch. XXX. Sec. 10

Franca’s lingua and mother’s tongue

“Variety is of the essence of language. Uniformity and consistency are inventions of philosophical grammarians whose efforts are most successful when they deal with a language no longer used to satisfy elementary social needs. A living language is one of the mores of a social group; it is neither a biological growth unaffected by human intervention nor a work of art given its form for all time by a single act of human creation. Consequently it will vary within the group somewhat according to the variation in other respects to be found in the individuals comprising it, and between groups it will vary still more. Like other mores it will be subject to modification by time. But the necessity for mutual intelligibility within the group will greatly restrict the play of individual whim; between groups this force will operate somehow in proportion to the immediacy of their contacts. In a cultured city like ancient Rome or mediæval Florence a group of people might raise and maintain a literary standard around which literary people of other groups would rally. Or, again, a convenient dialect might be somewhat arbitrarily chosen for a particular literary task, as Luther chose the dialect of the Saxon chancellary for his translation of the Bible, and this dialect, with more or less conscious modification from time to time, might remain the standard literary language. In all these cases the great mass of people, not wholly uninfluenced by the literary language perhaps, would go on speaking their own dialects.” — Harry Morgan Ayres, The Cambridge History of English and American Literature, Vol. XVIII, Ch. XXX. Sec. 2

Yee-haw! Git along, little dogies

“The best way to do good to the poor is not making them easy in poverty, but leading or driving them out of it.” — Benjamin Franklin (quoted in The Cambridge History of English and American Literature, Vol. XVIII, Ch. XXIV, Sec. 3)

What’s the role for unpopular information?

“A popular government, without popular information or the means of acquiring it, is but a prologue to a farce or a tragedy or perhaps both.”  — James Madison (quoted in The Cambridge History of English and American Literature, Vol. XVII, Ch. XXIII, Sec. 18)

Indirectly can be any direction

“The knowledge of what tends neither directly nor indirectly to make better men and better citizens is but a knowledge of trifles. It is not learning but a specious and ingenious sort of idleness.” — The Rev. Dr. William Smith (Provost, University of Pennsylvania, 1755-1779), quoted in The Cambridge History of English and American Literature, Vol. XVII, Ch. XXIII, Sec. 15

Ignorance and silence in the name of God

“Learning has brought disobedience and heresy and sects into the world and printing has divulged them and libels against the best of governments. God keep us from both.” — Sir William Berkeley (Governor of Virginia, 1641-1677), quoted in The Cambridge History of English and American Literature, Vol. XVII, Ch. XXIII, Sec. 3

Minding everyone’s business

“Gradually public opinion concerning the scope and purpose of government in its relation to the general welfare underwent a transformation. The view which had long been dominant was that national prosperity depended upon the prosperity of the manufacturing and commercial classes of the country; when they flourished the labourer would enjoy a ‘full dinner pail,’ the shopkeeper a good trade, the farmers high markets, and the professional classes would collect their fees; consequently it was only right that such important matters as the tariff and monetary standards should be determined according to the ideals of the great business interests of the country. The new view was that the object of legislation should be to aid all citizens with no special privilege or regard to any one class. Its birth was in the Granger movement. It was more widely disseminated by Populism, but its ablest presentation was by William Jennings Bryan, notably in his speech before the Democratic Convention in Chicago in 1896:  ‘You have made the definition of a business man too limited in its application. A man who is employed for wages is as much a business man as his employer. The attorney in a country town is as much a business man as the corporation counsel in a great metropolis. The merchant at the crossroads store is as much a business man as a merchant of New York. The farmer who goes forth in the morning and toils all day—who begins in the spring and toils all summer—and who, by the application of brain and muscle to the natural resources of the country, creates wealth, is as much a business man as the man who goes upon the Board of Trade and bets upon the price of grain. The miners who go down a thousand feet into the earth, or climb two thousand feet upon the cliffs and bring forth from their hiding place the precious metals to be poured into the channels of trade, are as much business men as the few financial magnates, who, in a back room, corner the money of the world. We come to speak for this broader class of business men.’” — The Cambridge History of English and American Literature, Vol. XVII, Ch. XXI, Sec. 36

Perhaps not

“If in war time the theatre has made itself necessary, does it not follow that some day the Government, regarding the theatre as a necessary social institution for the American people, will give it Congressional support in its artistic maintenance, and recognize its importance by having it represented in the Presidential Cabinet by a Secretary of Fine Arts? This might do much to give direction and purpose to future American playwriting.” — Montrose J. Moses, The Cambridge History of English and American Literature, Vol. XVII, Ch. XVIII, Sec. 29

Artists know

“The great and tragic fact of experience is the fact of effort and passionate toil which never finds complete satisfaction. This eternal frustration of our ideals or will is an essential part of spiritual life, and enriches it just as the shadows enrich the picture or certain discords bring about richer harmony.” — Morris R. Cohen, The Cambridge History of English and American Literature, Vol. XVII, Ch. XVI, Sec. 21

When science was king

“Commonly we fix beliefs by reiterating them, by surrounding them with emotional safeguards, and by avoiding anything which casts doubt upon them—by ‘the will to believe.’ This method breaks down when the community ceases to be homogeneous. Social effort, by the method of authority, to eliminate diversity of beliefs also fails in the end to prevent reflective doubts from cropping up. Hence we must finally resort to the method of free inquiry and let science stabilize our ideas by clarifying them. How can this be done?” — Morris R. Cohen, The Cambridge History of English and American Literature, Vol. XVII, Ch. XVI, Sec. 18

The view from without the cave

“Intellectual pioneers are rarely gregarious creatures. In their isolation they lose touch with those who follow the beaten paths, and when they return to the community they speak strangely of strange sights, so that few have the faith to follow them and change their trails into high roads.” — Morris R. Cohen, The Cambridge History of English and American Literature, Vol. XVII, Ch. XVI, Sec. 18

Ideas whose time came

“Out of unrestricted competition arise many wrongs that the State must redress and many abuses which it must check. It may become the duty of the State to reform its taxation, so that its burdens shall rest less heavily upon the lower classes; to repress monopolies of all sorts; to prevent and punish gambling; to regulate or control the railroads and telegraphs; to limit the ownership of land; to modify the laws of inheritance; and possibly to levy a progressive income-tax, so that the enormous fortunes should bear more rather than less than their share of the public burdens.” — Washington Gladden (quoted in The Cambridge History of English and American Literature, Vol. XVII, Ch. XVI, Sec. 12)

Welcome to America

“Dishonest men can be bought and ignorant men can be manipulated. This is the kind of government which private capital, invested in public-service industries, naturally feels that it must have.” — Washington Gladden (quoted in The Cambridge History of English and American Literature, Vol. XVII, Ch. XVI, Sec. 12)

But it’s been so upliftingish

“There can be no doubt that American literature has considerably suffered from the platitudinous didactic note.” — George S. Hellman, The Cambridge History of English and American Literature, Vol. XVII, Book III, Ch. XIII, Sec. 16

High Street 4.6 — Radio Stars and Hemp TV (cont.)

“A little thing may be perfect, but perfection is not a little thing.” — Thomas Bailey Aldrich (from The Cambridge History of English and American Literature, Vol. XVII, Ch. X, Sec. 3)

High Street 4.6 — “Radio Stars and Hemp TV” (cont.) is posted today.

(Tomorrow: High Street 4.7 — “Radio Stars and Hemp TV” (cont.))

Getting it right

“[Henry] James was the most consummate artist American literature has produced. He was fastidious by nature and by early training. He had studied his art in France as men study sculpture in Italy, and he had learned the French mastery of form. Nowhere in his writings may we find slovenly work. His opening and closing paragraphs are always models, his dialogue moves naturally and inevitably,—in all the story despite its length nothing too much,—and everywhere a brilliancy new in American fiction. He is seldom spontaneous; always is he the conscious artist; always is he intellectual; always is he working in the clay of actual life, a realist who never forgets his problem to soar into the uncharted and the unscientific realms of the metaphysical and the romantic.” — Fred Lewis Pattee (from The Cambridge History of English and American Literature, Vol. XVI, Book III, Part VI., Sec. 9)

Unpacking the object

“According to [Henry] James, a short story was the analysis of a situation, the psychological phenomena of a group of men and women at an interesting moment. Given two, three, four different temperaments, bring them into a certain situation, and what would be the action and reaction? The story was a problem to be solved. Little was to be said about the characters: they were to reveal themselves, gradually, slowly as they do in actual life, by long continued dialogue, by little unconscious actions and reactions, by personal peculiarities in dress, manners, movement, revealed by a thousand subtle hints, descriptive touches, insinuations. Under such conditions the movement of the story must be slow: in some of his work there seems to be no story at all, only the analysis of a situation. The method requires space: James has stretched the length of the short story to its extreme….  Twenty-eight of the one hundred and three stories in Henry James’s final list are long enough to appear as volumes. Yet one may not doubt they are short stories: they are each of them the presentation of a single situation and they leave each of them a unity of impression.” — Fred Lewis Pattee (from The Cambridge History of English and American Literature, Vol. XVI, Book III, Part VI., Sec. 9 (emphasis in original))

The soul of contention

“Hawthorne added soul to the short story and made it a form that could be taken seriously even by those who had contended that it was inferior to the longer forms of fiction. He centred his effort about a single situation and gave to the whole tale unity of impression. Instead of elaboration of detail, suggestion; instead of picturings of external effects, subjective analysis and psychologic delineation of character.” — Fred Lewis Pattee (from The Cambridge History of English and American Literature, Vol. XVI, Book III, Part VI, Sec. 4)

The uses of culture

“Culture is a very fine thing, indeed, but it is never of much account either in life or in literature, unless it is used as a cat uses a mouse, as a source of mirth and luxury.” — Joel Chandler Harris (from The Cambridge History of English and American Literature, Vol. XVI, Book III, Part V., Sec. 2)

Scribal motivation

“My subject had taken me up, drawn me on, and absorbed me into itself. It was necessary for me, it seemed, to write the book I had been thinking much of, even if it were destined to fall dead from the press, and I had no inclination or interest to write any other.” — John Lothrop Motley (quoted in The Cambridge History of English and American Literature, Vol. XVI, Book II, Ch. 18)

How it can be done

“A skilful literary artist has constructed a tale. If wise, he has not fashioned his thoughts to accommodate his incidents; but having conceived, with deliberate care, a certain unique or single effect to be wrought out, he then invents such incidents—he then combines such events as may best aid him in establishing this preconceived effect. If his very initial sentence tend not to the outbringing of this effect, then he has failed in his first step. In the whole composition there should be no word written, of which the tendency, direct or indirect, is not to the one pre-established design. And by such means, with such care and skill, a picture is at length painted which leaves in the mind of him who contemplates it with a kindred art, a sense of the fullest satisfaction.” — Edgar Allan Poe (quoted in The Cambridge History of English and American Literature, Vol. XVI, Book II, Ch. 14)

Keeping things balanced

“Patriotism is a curious passion. It does not seem possible to love one’s own country except by hating some other country.” — Archibald MacMechan (from The Cambridge History of English and American Literature, Vol. XVI, Book II, Ch. 10)