, no one would claim that we approach France
or even England
in the field of criticism, literary history, memoirs, the bookish essay, and biography.
We may have race-memories of a pine-tree which help us to write vigorously and poetically about it, but we write less vitally as soon as we enter the library door.
A Frenchman does not, for he is better trained to perceive the continuity and integrity of race-consciousness, in the whole field of its manifestation.
He does not feel, as many Americans
do, that they are turning their back on life when they turn to books.
Perhaps the truth is that although we are a reading people we are not yet a book-loving people.
The American newspaper and magazine have been successful in making their readers fancy that newspaper and magazine are an equivalent for books.
Popular orators and popular preachers confirm this impression, and colleges and universities have often emphasized a vocational choice of books — in other words, books that are not books at all, but treatises.
It is not, of course, that American journalism, whether of the daily or monthly sort, has consciously set itself to supplant the habit of book-reading.
A thousand social and economic factors enter into such a problem.