may compare these different methods candidly, generously, and with mutual respect, and thus gradually eliminate what is undesirable, and select the best.
What we desire, or should desire, is to have the American
type the best type that the world has ever seen.
Nothing short of this is an aim worthy the effort.
If this is true of society and manners, it is still truer of literature.
What can be less profitable than all this talk about a literary centre, this foolish struggle between rival cities?
What we want is a literature; given that, and the centre will take care of itself.
It is not even important that there should be a centre; a hundred nodal points, each sending forth its germinating and vital influence, will do just as well, and will be more befitting for a nation that includes the breadth of a continent, and may yet include its length also.
What we need is to produce good books; this once done, it makes no more difference in what part of the country they are produced than in what part of a man's farm — the northeast or south-west corner-he raises those fine apples.
Where there is a good author, there is the beginning of a literary centre; where MacGregor
sits, there is the head of the table.
We are all enriched when Miss Murfree
suddenly reveals to us a new literary centre in Tennessee
, or Miss Edith Thomas
, or Hubert Bancroft
in San Francisco