This may well prove to be as essential an item in any good library, private or public, as Bartlett, Roget, Fowler or the...

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THE AMERICAN TREASURY

This may well prove to be as essential an item in any good library, private or public, as Bartlett, Roget, Fowler or the Shorter Oxford English Dictionary. For here in an omnium gatherum from the whole field of American speaking and writing those quotations pertinent to a reflection of the spirit of our country. It is the harvest of twenty five years of reading and keeping records of quotable pieces, long and shorter. It is a personal anthology, in that Clifton Fadimen's enthusiasms dictated selection and elimination (with a bit of prodding no doubt from his teammate). The three main sections divide the wealth of material this way:- Part I includes what Americans and others have written about America and Americans; Part II is a selection of American verse, song, doggerel; Part III brings together what Americans have said about other things than their own country. And as one leafs through the pages, one feels that in each of these sections, inclusions could readily have been shifted from one area to another, and that the sub-heads are merely props to lean on. The range of contributors is tremendous, and often unorthodox, though it is not surprising to find that some are more quoted than others- Mark Twain, Thoreau, Emerson, Henry James, Melville, Santayana. There are long quotations- and short. The familiar is here, end much that deserves to become familiar. And the general preface and the separate introductions for the different parts in themselves constitute eminently quotable material integral to an American treasury. Here are 500 years of Americans talking about themselves, their country and the things that concern them deeply. Inevitably, a portrait of an American- of many Americans- emerges.

Pub Date: Nov. 4, 1955

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Harper

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 1955