Read e-book online American Writers, Volume 1 PDF

By Leonard Unger

ISBN-10: 0684136732

ISBN-13: 9780684136738

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During the years of heavy work on his History, Adams relaxed from one discipline, characteristically, by subjecting himself to another. He wrote and published two novels, Democracy, which appeared anonymously in 1880, and Esther, which he brought out under the pseudonym of Frances Snow Compton in 1884. The identity of the author was for years a carefully guarded secret. These novels have aroused an interest in our time incommensurate with their merit. They are in the class of Winston Churchill's paintings—of primary interest to the biographer.

Even in the world of art there was no certainty. No expert could tell him whether or not the supposed Raphael sketch that he had bought in London was genuine. Adams tells the story of each disillusionment entertainingly enough, but in the illusionless world in which we live, we may find his surprise a bit naive. It does not seem to us in the least astonishing that a statesman should say one thing, intend another, and desire a third. Self-interest is so taken for granted that we require our most eminent citizens to sell 16 / AMERICAN WRITERS their stocks before serving in the president's cabinet, and, as for art, we should simply shrug in amusement if it turned out that the roof of the Sistine Chapel had been painted by Boldini.

Its cathedrals showed neither extravagance nor want of practical sense. He could almost remember the faith that had given his ancestors the energy to build them and the scared bold- ness that had made their towers seem so daring. Within these citadels of faith no doubts existed. There was not a stone in the whole interior of Coutances that did not treat him as if he were its own child. " From 1066 to the Boston of Adams' own childhood, there had been noththing but a long decline in religion, in art, in military taste, until now, in the summer of 1895, the Back Bay descendants of Caen and Coutances had pretty nearly reached bottom.

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American Writers, Volume 1 by Leonard Unger


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