No sovereign, no court, no personal loyalty, no aristocracy, no church, no clergy, no army, no diplomatic service, no country gentlemen, no palaces, no castles, nor manors, nor old country-houses, nor parsonages, nor thatched cottages nor ivied ruins no cathedrals, nor abbeys, nor little Norman churches no great Universities nor public schools no Oxford, nor Eton, nor Harrow no literature, no novels, no museums, no pictures, no political society, no sporting class no Epsom nor Ascot Some such list as that might be drawn up of the absent things in American life.
The face of nature and civilization in this our country is to a certain point a very sufficient literary field. But it will yield its secrets only to a really grasping imagination. To write well and worthily of American things one need even more than elsewhere to be a master.
One might enumerate the items of high civilization, as it exists in other countries, which are absent from the texture of American life, until it should become a wonder to know what was left.
It's a complex fate, being an American, and one of the responsibilities it entails is fighting against a superstitious valuation of Europe.
If I were to live my life over again, I would be an American. I would steep myself in America, I would know no other land.
More Henry James Quotations (Based on Topics)
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