Monday, November 26, 2012

Reputations …

… Ranking the Writers | The American Conservative. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

It's not a bad list at all. And the inclusion of James Truslow Adams is especially interesting. He was the guy who coined the phrase "the American Dream." The term is widely misunderstood, I guess because not many people read Adams anymore. But here is something I wrote about a while back:

… the phrase “American Dream” not only had a precise time and place of origin, it also had a specific originator: historian James Truslow Adams coined it in his 1931 book The American Epic. According to Adams, it is “that dream of a land in which life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone, with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement. It is a difficult dream for the European upper classes to interpret adequately, and too many of us ourselves have grown weary and mistrustful of it. It is not a dream of motor cars and high wages merely, but a dream of social order in which each man and each woman shall be able to attain to the fullest stature of which they are innately capable, and be recognized by others for what they are, regardless of the fortuitous circumstances of birth or position.” Small wonder the dream that the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. so famously had was, as he put it himself, “deeply in rooted in the American dream.”

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