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[77]

IX

Do we need A literary centre?

in the latter days of the last French Empire some stir was made by a book claiming that Paris was already the capital of the world-Paris capitale du monde. Mr. Lowell has lately made claims rather more moderate for London, suggesting that a time may come when the English-speaking race will practically control the planet, having London for its centre, with all roads leading to it, as they once led to Rome. But it is plain that in making this estimate Mr. Lowell overlooked some very essential factors—for instance, himself. If ancient Rome had borrowed for its most important literary addresses an orator from Paphlagonia, who was not even a Roman citizen, it would plainly have ceased to be the Rome of our reverence; and yet this is what has repeatedly been done in London by the selection of Mr. Lowell. Or if the province of Britain had furnished a periodical publication—an Acta

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