Sunday reading

Henry James by way of The New York Review of Books is always good:

James summarizes the moral that America emerging from the Gilded Age seems to offer: “To make so much money that you won’t, that you don’t ‘mind,’ don’t mind anything—that is absolutely, I think, the main American formula.” It follows that if you don’t make money you will “mind” the public thinness and waste of American life, and be reduced to “the knowledge that America is no place for you.” There is a grim social price paid by American “progress”; finding in the city streets a “new style of poverty” compared with what he had observed in European cities, James notes: “There is such a thing, in the United States, it is hence to be inferred, as freedom to grow up to be blighted, and it may be the only freedom in store for the smaller fry of future generations.”

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