(Exactly ten years ago this week I turned in my last graduate seminar paper, for a class on late 19th and early 20th century American literature taught by the magnificent Nancy Bentley. The paper was about the 1904 World's Fair and Geronimo, a figure I've been thinking about deeply since Sunday night. Because of the… Continue reading “A Very Kind and Peaceful People”: Geronimo and the World’s Fair
Thinking more about fugitives and detainees, and how fine the line is between them, I am wondering if there is some corollary relationship between the detainee and the detainer, between the prisoner and the warden. I am guided here by a curious etymological fact: the words "guest" and "host" share the same root. Both words… Continue reading Are you a guest or a host?
I discovered a gem tonight in Gustave Le Bon's classic 1895 study of crowds, La Psychologie des foules. "Civilisations as yet," Le Bon writes, "have only been created and directed by a small intellectual aristocracy, never by crowds. Crowds are only powerful for destruction." I like the tone of this. All fire and brimstone and… Continue reading The Crowd