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In case you were wondering

The conquest of the West was a harbinger of modernity, according to the U.S. history teacher whose work I am reading.

In other news: Given that, when I read Henry James at night, I inevitably pass out in the middle of a paragraph like I did last night while reading The Wings of the Dove (my James project is eternal literatus interruptus), I am always tempted to say that his novels plod along, because it seems like they plod, but they don’t really. Really! Instead, they move like the massive Ford assembly lines in Detroit in the middle of the twentieth century: in went iron ore, which was melted and separated and alloyed and punched and stamped and labeled and painted and assembled, and out came an Edsel. To watch the thing unfold is fascinating, but then you suddenly realize: The only thing that has happened is smelting!



On the other hand, re-reading Jane Austen’s novels can be a danger to sleep…Even though you know Fanny Price is going to triumph at the end and secure her lovely-yet-dense cousin, to live happily-ever-after in the little parsonage on the beloved family estate…