Our Literature

On the gloomy days, when the American catastrophes are too much to bear, I turn to my bookcases for solace and even something like friendship, and the shelves throw a welcoming arm over me. The bookcases are organized on the principle of no principle, and nowhere among them is there a section dedicated strictly to the traumas and treasures of life in our unhappy country. Still, scattered here and about are a number of squat volumes in sumptuous black dust jackets, all of the same height, devoted to flights of the American imagination — a sufficient number of those books, such that, if I ever gathered them together, a proper bookcase devoted to them alone would stand before me. These are volumes in the publishing series called the Library of America, which brings out the classics of American literature, Emerson and Mark Twain and little-known names like William Bartram, the

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