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[297] Adams — from this theory that there can be no manhood in decent clothes or well-bred manners. He justly complains that this rougher school has really as much dandyism about it as the other-“the dandyism of the roustabout,” he calls it; that it poses and attitudinizes and “is the extreme of sophistication in writing.” “If we must have dandyism in our art,” he adds, “surely the softer sort, which at least leans towards decorum and gentility, is preferable.” Then, going beyond literature to the foundation of government, he quotes the ancient Epictetus against this modern school, and asserts that true manhood has no necessary connection with physical health or strength, and that the true athlete is he who is ruler over himself.

Lanier complains of this new type of democracy --the merely brawny and sinewy-“that it has no provision for sick, or small, or puny, or plain-featured, or hump-backed, or any deformed people,” and that it is really “the worst kind of aristocracy, being an aristocracy of nature's favorites in the matter of muscle.” Then he describes some weak-eyed young man in a counting-room toiling to support his mother, or send his brother to school, and contrasts him with this physical ideal. “His chest is not huge, his legs are inclined to be pipe-stems, and his dress is like that of any other book — keeper. Yet the weak-eyed, pipe-stem-legged young man impresses ”

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Sidney Lanier (1)
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