prove themselves solid enough to sustain not merely the government of sixty-three million people, but their literature.
Instead of avoiding, with Goethe
, the common, das Gemeinde, American literature must freely seek the common; its fiction must record not queens and Cleopatras alone, but the emotion in the heart of the schoolgirl and the sempstress; its history must record, not great generals alone, but the nameless boys whose graves people with undying memories every soldiers' cemetery from Arlington
the pupil was not unworthy of Irving
from whom the suggestion came.
His ‘Dutch Republic
’ was written in this American spirit.
William the Silent remains in our memory as no more essentially a hero than John Haring
, who held single-handed his submerged dike against an army; and Philip of Burgundy and his knights of the Golden Fleece
are painted as far less important than John Coster
, the Antwerp apothecary, printing his little grammar with movable types.
wrote from England
, in the midst of an intoxicating social success, that he never should wish America