The Unz Review: An Alternative Media Selection
A Collection of Interesting, Important, and Controversial Perspectives Largely Excluded from the American Mainstream Media
 TeasersiSteve Blog
The Case for a Self-Governing Scotland
🔊 Listen RSS
Email This Page to Someone

 Remember My Information



=>

Bookmark Toggle AllToCAdd to LibraryRemove from Library • BShow CommentNext New CommentNext New ReplyRead More
ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
AgreeDisagreeLOLTroll
These buttons register your public Agreement, Disagreement, Troll, or LOL with the selected comment. They are ONLY available to recent, frequent commenters who have saved their Name+Email using the 'Remember My Information' checkbox, and may also ONLY be used once per hour.
Ignore Commenter Follow Commenter
Search Text Case Sensitive  Exact Words  Include Comments
List of Bookmarks

Ed West mentioned in The Spectator the remarkable failure of the anti-secession celebrities in Scotland to come up with “mystic chords of memory” arguments for keeping together Britain:

Hugo Rifkind had an interesting piece in the Times yesterday on the Scottish referendum arguing that the No campaign, by focussing on economics and pragmatism (where they obviously have the edge), had totally conceded the realm of emotion and attachment. Yet Rifkind, coming south in his twenties to settle in London, had found that England was his home, too, and ends his article explaining why Britain is indeed one country.

The whole No campaign seems devoid of any idea of British patriotism, indeed barely mentions the B-word in its literature, instead approaching the thing like an unhappy spouse weighing up the costs of sticking with it or leaving to end up poorer. If that’s the reason for union, then it’s not one that’s going to keep the marriage going for very long; and indeed opinion polls show a huge gulf between the over-sixties and the rest of the Scottish population, which suggests that whatever the result this month, independence will come eventually.

And in the south many of those advocating the United Kingdom sound remarkably like they could be making the case for the European Union, using arguments for pooling resources to create a social democracy. JK Rowling’s version of British patriotism may have angered some of the SNP’s weirder supporters, but it would leave many Englishmen cold. Likewise with Eddie Izzard or Tony Robinson: the cheerleaders for union are mainly coming from the soft Left, the very people who least empathise with patriotism or understand the things that hold people together – history, mythology and hormones.

Hogwarts in the Highlands

Consider the failure of J.K. Rowling, the leading popular culture light of the Better Together campaign (she grew up in the veddy English Bristol area of western England, but moved to Scotland to be near her sister after her divorce), to appeal to British patriotism, even though her Harry Potter books are a wonderful capstone of what writers of English and Scottish (e.g., Robert Louis Stevenson and J.M. Barrie) ethnicity have jointly given humanity: the world’s finest children’s literature. Rowling strikes me as one of nature’s conservatives who is intellectually hobbled by today’s sterile liberal Nice White Lady political concepts ill-suited to her rich imagination.

Ross Douthat in the NYT offers what his heroine Rowling should have been able to come up with:

The “yes” campaign has made all sorts of implausible promises, to its discredit, but it has also done something well-and-truly creditable: It has appealed, frankly and without embarrassment, to the human element in politics, the mystic chords of memory, the sense of solidarity and shared history and common purpose that makes nations something more than just arbitrary boundaries drawn for the purposes of enlightened political administration, and nationalism something more than just an inconvenient obstacle to such administration, which is the point of view of many European elites today. Whereas the “no” campaign — well, I’ll let Pascal Emmanuel Gobry tell it:

What does nationhood mean? What does it mean to be a people? Is it merely a self-interested bargain between parties, or does it mean something more?

The Yes campaign in Scotland (for independence) has strong answers to these questions. For the Yes campaign, it means something to be a Scot. Scotland has a history and a patrimony worth cherishing, and this means that the Scots should — finally — have their own say on their future.

Meanwhile, the No campaign has been very clear on these questions: Nope; there’s no such thing as a nation. The only reason the Scots should be part of Great Britain is because it’s a good deal for them. The No campaign has been overwhelmingly an affair of carrots and sticks: It has alternated between offering Scots goodies (more money for schools and hospitals!) and scaremongering about the drastic consequences of a split. The No campaign has articulated absolutely no vision of what it means to be British.

As Gobry notes, this is rather remarkable, since three hundred years of shared, sometimes glorious, never boring history should have supplied a powerful nationalistic argument on behalf of union. (Read this piece, from the Scottish writer Alex Massie, explaining his “no” vote, for hints of how argument might have sounded.) But that’s a language that U.K. elites, like their counterparts on the continent, have trouble speaking nowadays, and so that high ground was ceded to Alex Salmond almost from the start … meaning, in turn that whatever pocketbook appeals were made on the union’s behalf, the emotional appeal of secession was (well, almost, judging by the last polls) strong enough to match.

Now emotion alone is a poor reason to make a leap into the political unknown. But the emotional element in nationalism isn’t just atavistic; it points to something more practically and prosaically desirable, which is the possibility of true self-government.

 
Hide 70 CommentsLeave a Comment
Commenters to Ignore...to FollowEndorsed Only
Trim Comments?
  1. Here’s Walker Connor, a political scientist who swims against the usual “everything is socially constructed” view of nationalism, from twenty years ago:

    “With but very few exceptions, authorities have shied from describing the nation as a kinship group and have usually explicitly denied any kinship basis to it. … But a subconscious belief in the group’s separate origin and evolution is an important ingredient of national psychology. In ignoring or denying the sense of kinship that infuses the nation, scholars have been blind to that which has been thoroughly apparent to nationalist leaders. In sharpest contrast with most academic analysts of nationalism, those who have successfully mobilized nations have understood that at the core of ethnopsychology is the sense of shared blood, and they have not hesitated to appeal to it.” (1994, Ethnonationalism: The quest for understanding)

    On the one hand, there are some pretty ugly precedents for what happens when you appeal to ethnonationalism — and especially a sense of shared blood — to mobilize populations. On the other hand, using Hitler as an argument against nationalism is kind of like using Karen Carpenter as an argument against dieting.

    • Replies: @Marty
    Or the Dead as an argument against music?
  2. I would imagine that the “NO” Campaign did not emphasize “British” Nationality because it is not an ethnicity like Scot is. British is almost synonymous with being English.

    Secondly, in the last 20 years or so the British nationality means nothing as there are all types of people from around the world that are now “Brit” to the point it means nothing.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
    "..in the last 20 years..the British nationality means nothing as there are all types of people around the world that are now "Brit" to the point it means nothing".

    Excellent point. One lost on the political elites. British used to mean English, Welsh and Scot, the indigenous population. By "extending" this to historically, genetically and culturally alien, black, brown and yellow people the term and very meaning of "British" was devalued to the point of bankruptcy. When you make it harder to define your core population, you make it harder to politically define your core state. If being "British" is to mean effectively nothing, then why not be something of value, like Scottish instead?
  3. My nephew works for a very high tech arms manufacturer, a great job. He was going to vote yes. Boss told them this morning. ‘ If it’s a yes win, you will all be out of a job.’

    In referendums of this type, opinion seems to seem to be quite even’ like in Quebec.

    Scottish literatures is Sir Walter Scott and his romantic portrayal of violent but honourable highlanders and similar Dark Heroes. Scott’s heroes were the original gangstas, Henry Harpending had a paper on it.

  4. They can’t have a “national” vision for union because the elites don’t much like the nation, and they’ve been steadily destroying it.

  5. i could understand the Scottish separatists movement if they planned on leaving the European Union.
    but it appears the secessionists are leftists who seek to nationalize the oil fields and join the EU to reap the handouts Germany is giving to the PIGS

    A group of people willing to join the European Union have no desire for self-determination and are willing to allow Brussels to dictate their laws and reduce their freedoms. Very strange to me

    • Replies: @Sean
    The immigration that the SNP has encouraged may make all the difference, if it is very close. In Quebec the vote was for independence, but only among French speakers.
    , @Joe Walker
    An independent Scotland would probably need handouts from the EU to survive in the beginning but hopefully, over time, would become more self-sustaining.
  6. It seems that the intent of the Scottish political class is to substitute rule by Westminster for rule by Brussels. Since the UK is part of the EU, they are essentially trying to take out the middle man – London. Although this will give the appearance of independence, it really isn’t by any means.

    Income support of the welfare state is too valuable for them to risk losing, I suspect, and they want their cake and eat it to.

  7. I see a NO vote coming. Ultimately, blood and soil will lose out to getting a check every month.

    If I’m right, how will this affect the ethnocentric bias on this website? That’s a real question BTW. If I’m wrong, then I’ll just keep pondering.

    • Replies: @anon
    "I see a NO vote coming. Ultimately, blood and soil will lose out to getting a check every month."

    What a silly way to interpret it. Salmond's argument isn't "Remember Culloden!" but "Hey, we got all this oil, and if we secede, we can have a cradle to the grave welfare state using the money it provides." Better Together's argument is essentially contesting the factual veracity of his claim. Blood and soil is close to irrelevant here.
    , @Reg Cæsar

    I see a NO vote coming. Ultimately, blood and soil will lose out to getting a check every month.

    If I’m right, how will this affect the ethnocentric bias on this website?
     
    In time, the welfare state will force you to choose between your benefits and your country. After all, the world is full of peoples more slavish in their devotion to the party than the white man could ever be.

    Why wouldn't the party displace the natives? Look at US blacks' unshakable support of the half-Af, half-cracker Obama, after his repeated backstabbings on immigration policy.
    , @Joe Walker
    From what I understand the vote is expected to be very close regardless of who wins, so even if the NO vote wins the day there will still be a large YES contingent. In other words, ethnocentrism lives!
  8. Shetland has threatened to break away if it is a yes win (it won’t be forgotten). An independent Scotland will provide plenty of work for counterinsurgency specialists, manufacturers of drones. Maybe we should have few holdout nukes (never know when they might come in handy).

  9. anon • Disclaimer says:
    @Formerly CARealist
    I see a NO vote coming. Ultimately, blood and soil will lose out to getting a check every month.

    If I'm right, how will this affect the ethnocentric bias on this website? That's a real question BTW. If I'm wrong, then I'll just keep pondering.

    “I see a NO vote coming. Ultimately, blood and soil will lose out to getting a check every month.”

    What a silly way to interpret it. Salmond’s argument isn’t “Remember Culloden!” but “Hey, we got all this oil, and if we secede, we can have a cradle to the grave welfare state using the money it provides.” Better Together’s argument is essentially contesting the factual veracity of his claim. Blood and soil is close to irrelevant here.

  10. @travis
    i could understand the Scottish separatists movement if they planned on leaving the European Union.
    but it appears the secessionists are leftists who seek to nationalize the oil fields and join the EU to reap the handouts Germany is giving to the PIGS

    A group of people willing to join the European Union have no desire for self-determination and are willing to allow Brussels to dictate their laws and reduce their freedoms. Very strange to me

    The immigration that the SNP has encouraged may make all the difference, if it is very close. In Quebec the vote was for independence, but only among French speakers.

  11. I take exception to the description of Rowling as a wonderful capstone to Scotch/English contributions to children’s literature. She’s a clumsy writer and an intellectual featherweight with a very rich and colorful imagination.

    • Replies: @Priss Factor
    "I take exception to the description of Rowling as a wonderful capstone to Scotch/English contributions to children’s literature. She’s a clumsy writer and an intellectual featherweight with a very rich and colorful imagination."

    Never read her and could only stand 15 min of a potter movie. What kind of person comes up with a character named 'dumbledork'?
  12. Hugo Rifkind had an interesting piece in the Times yesterday on the Scottish…

    Don’t tell me. Hugo is not your typical Scotsman.

    • Replies: @Joe Walker
    I am sure that he is as Scottish as our good friend Whiskey is. ; )



















    0
  13. @Formerly CARealist
    I see a NO vote coming. Ultimately, blood and soil will lose out to getting a check every month.

    If I'm right, how will this affect the ethnocentric bias on this website? That's a real question BTW. If I'm wrong, then I'll just keep pondering.

    I see a NO vote coming. Ultimately, blood and soil will lose out to getting a check every month.

    If I’m right, how will this affect the ethnocentric bias on this website?

    In time, the welfare state will force you to choose between your benefits and your country. After all, the world is full of peoples more slavish in their devotion to the party than the white man could ever be.

    Why wouldn’t the party displace the natives? Look at US blacks’ unshakable support of the half-Af, half-cracker Obama, after his repeated backstabbings on immigration policy.

  14. Look on the bright side. If Scotland goes her own way, England may never elect another Labor government. I would like to see Gordon Brown try to rub the noses of the Scots into the dregs of the former British Empire.

    • Replies: @Joe Walker
    The Tories are really not that much better than the Labour party.
  15. Ed West mentioned…

    I don’t recall ever seeing a British Ed before the last few years, and suddenly they’re all over the place: West, Miliband, Sheeran, Izzard… is “Ed” “cool” now? Is it a fad imported from America, like Carl and Wayne?

    Wayne ultimately comes from Mad Anthony, a general who fought the British. That’s like an American Brock. And I know an American Brock, in my son’s troop. He’s an identical twin.

    • Replies: @Keith Vaz
    West and Sheeran are Irish. Miliband isn't exactly 'British' either.
  16. The desperation of the three main party leaders is apparent in the gibsmedats/Danegeld they’ve been offering to Scotland in the event of a no vote, gibsmedats with absolutely no voter mandate.

    Reminds me of Churchill’s offer of “indissoluble Union” between Britain and France in 1940 as the Panzers rolled towards Paris – again with no voter mandate. But they were desperate times.

    The psychology of this is really more in Roissy territory than political territory. If you were thinking about leaving a spouse, and they told you how much money and control you’d cede for them to stay, would you respect them more for it, or less ?

  17. Priss Factor [AKA "pizza with hot pepper"] says:

    “Ed West mentioned in The Spectator the remarkable failure of the anti-secession celebrities in Scotland to come up with “mystic chords of memory” arguments for keeping together Britain.”

    Yeah, for that to happen, they would have to emphasize past history when Anglos and Scots were united as a white people. Such ‘mystic chords’ would exclude all the new comers, esp the non-whites.

    Today, when both Scotland and rest of Britain are trying to compose future mystic chords with Africa and Pakistan, it would be ‘reactionary’ and ‘racist’ to invoke past ‘mystic chords’ that were all about white Scots and white Anglos.

    If Texas tried to secede, I don’t see Democrats and Republicans trying to halt the process by saying, ‘but remember the alamo?’

    Both a seceded Texas and rest of US would still compete with another in the diversity sweepstakes.

  18. Priss Factor [AKA "pizza with hot pepper"] says:
    @The Millennial Falcon
    I take exception to the description of Rowling as a wonderful capstone to Scotch/English contributions to children's literature. She's a clumsy writer and an intellectual featherweight with a very rich and colorful imagination.

    “I take exception to the description of Rowling as a wonderful capstone to Scotch/English contributions to children’s literature. She’s a clumsy writer and an intellectual featherweight with a very rich and colorful imagination.”

    Never read her and could only stand 15 min of a potter movie. What kind of person comes up with a character named ‘dumbledork’?

    • Replies: @The Millennial Falcon
    Rowling was going for a Dickensian style, from the goofy names to the woe-is-me child protagonist. Only she's a vastly inferior prose stylist (most are, but still), and she exacerbates the grating effect of Dickens' pity parties by layering on narcissistic delusions of grandeur.
  19. Priss Factor [AKA "pizza with hot pepper"] says:

    Your average idiot Scot thinks a Pakistani or Nigerian is more Scottish than an Anglo is.

    Didn’t Freud say something about something of small differences?

    • Replies: @Joe Walker
    I don't think the average Scot sees Pakistanis and Nigerians as Scottish. Also, many Scots have English ancestry, particularly in the lowlands.
  20. Priss Factor [AKA "pizza with hot pepper"] says:

    In 2012 when Romney said UK is a special nation for the US, he was attacked.

    What’s truly said is even white people in UK are not allowed to feel a special bond with their own land in which their ancestors’ bones have been buried for 10,000s of yrs.

    Tens of thousands of yrs of real pre-history and history sacrificed at the altar of some political fashion that is few decades old.

    Shame.

  21. Keith Vaz [AKA "D\'Marco Mobley"] says:
    @Reg Cæsar

    Ed West mentioned…
     
    I don't recall ever seeing a British Ed before the last few years, and suddenly they're all over the place: West, Miliband, Sheeran, Izzard… is "Ed" "cool" now? Is it a fad imported from America, like Carl and Wayne?

    Wayne ultimately comes from Mad Anthony, a general who fought the British. That's like an American Brock. And I know an American Brock, in my son's troop. He's an identical twin.

    West and Sheeran are Irish. Miliband isn’t exactly ‘British’ either.

    • Replies: @Reg Cæsar

    West and Sheeran are Irish.
     
    Leave out the Micks, and there goes half of "English" pop culture. Take the Irish out of the Beatles, and what have you got? The Dave Clark Five. (And even their hits are claimed to be ghostwritten by a neighbor named Ryan.)

    But you miss my point. Regardless of ancestry, all these guys grew up and live in England, and all chose to go by "Ed" as adults, which was not common before. At least, not among those whose notoriety crossed the Pond.
  22. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:
    @Gaius Baltar
    I would imagine that the "NO" Campaign did not emphasize "British" Nationality because it is not an ethnicity like Scot is. British is almost synonymous with being English.

    Secondly, in the last 20 years or so the British nationality means nothing as there are all types of people from around the world that are now "Brit" to the point it means nothing.

    “..in the last 20 years..the British nationality means nothing as there are all types of people around the world that are now “Brit” to the point it means nothing”.

    Excellent point. One lost on the political elites. British used to mean English, Welsh and Scot, the indigenous population. By “extending” this to historically, genetically and culturally alien, black, brown and yellow people the term and very meaning of “British” was devalued to the point of bankruptcy. When you make it harder to define your core population, you make it harder to politically define your core state. If being “British” is to mean effectively nothing, then why not be something of value, like Scottish instead?

    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    But "Scottish" will cease to be meaningful the moment Scotland becomes independent. From that moment on, it will mean "citizen of Scotland".
  23. @Priss Factor
    "I take exception to the description of Rowling as a wonderful capstone to Scotch/English contributions to children’s literature. She’s a clumsy writer and an intellectual featherweight with a very rich and colorful imagination."

    Never read her and could only stand 15 min of a potter movie. What kind of person comes up with a character named 'dumbledork'?

    Rowling was going for a Dickensian style, from the goofy names to the woe-is-me child protagonist. Only she’s a vastly inferior prose stylist (most are, but still), and she exacerbates the grating effect of Dickens’ pity parties by layering on narcissistic delusions of grandeur.

  24. @Anonymous
    "..in the last 20 years..the British nationality means nothing as there are all types of people around the world that are now "Brit" to the point it means nothing".

    Excellent point. One lost on the political elites. British used to mean English, Welsh and Scot, the indigenous population. By "extending" this to historically, genetically and culturally alien, black, brown and yellow people the term and very meaning of "British" was devalued to the point of bankruptcy. When you make it harder to define your core population, you make it harder to politically define your core state. If being "British" is to mean effectively nothing, then why not be something of value, like Scottish instead?

    But “Scottish” will cease to be meaningful the moment Scotland becomes independent. From that moment on, it will mean “citizen of Scotland”.

  25. All this because of a movie that ripped of Spartacus. …

  26. …keeping together Britain.

    Don’t be afraid of the split infinitive. It’s much easier on the ear. Besides, as long as we’re breaking up the U.K. ….

  27. @a very knowing American
    Here's Walker Connor, a political scientist who swims against the usual "everything is socially constructed" view of nationalism, from twenty years ago:

    "With but very few exceptions, authorities have shied from describing the nation as a kinship group and have usually explicitly denied any kinship basis to it. ... But a subconscious belief in the group’s separate origin and evolution is an important ingredient of national psychology. In ignoring or denying the sense of kinship that infuses the nation, scholars have been blind to that which has been thoroughly apparent to nationalist leaders. In sharpest contrast with most academic analysts of nationalism, those who have successfully mobilized nations have understood that at the core of ethnopsychology is the sense of shared blood, and they have not hesitated to appeal to it." (1994, Ethnonationalism: The quest for understanding)

    On the one hand, there are some pretty ugly precedents for what happens when you appeal to ethnonationalism -- and especially a sense of shared blood -- to mobilize populations. On the other hand, using Hitler as an argument against nationalism is kind of like using Karen Carpenter as an argument against dieting.

    Or the Dead as an argument against music?

  28. Please. Hugo Rifkind is Jewish. He is no more Scottish than English. As far as he is concerned, only one border matters: the one around Israel. Two worlds. On one side: Israel. On the other side: “The Nations”.

    I expect Rifkind would be happy if every border between The Nations was torn down. It would sure make travel easier when he is away from his one true home.

    I can certainly relate. I think it would be great if I could travel anywhere in the world–sans visa, sans borders–and then return to my homeland, returning across its borders whenever I want to feel safe and secure, surrounded by my people.

    As long as I have my own hidey-hole dedicated to my security and my safety, the rest of the world can be one giant mish-mash of humanity as far as I am concerned.

  29. I never gave a thought to the possibility of Scottish independence, until this topic came up in the news, very recently.
    My first thought was that Scotland, probably, wants to protect its land and heritage for the benefit of the ethnic Scots. It’s a nationalist movement, right?
    However, after googling “Scottish independence immigration”, I came upon several articles from which I learned that the pro-independence side plans to increase immigration. It looked like they plan to make immigrating to Scotland easier and more attractive than it is currently.

    Could someone, please, set me straight, if I misunderstood? I don’t get it… How can a nationalist movement be pro foreigner?

    • Replies: @anonymous
    Betwixt the devil and the deep blue sea.
    , @Joe Walker
    Salmond may only be saying that he wants to increase immigration so that he doesn't get labeled a Nazi the way most nationalists do. Remember, in the 21st century, all forms of nationalism are evil - except Zionism and African nationalism!
  30. The interesting way to look at this is from the perspective of ethnicity and nationality.

    What does it mean these days to say you are “Scottish” or “British”?

    British means a location meaning a person living in Britain, the same way American means someone living in the USA, multiculturalism robbing it of any ethnic connotation.

    Britain and America are no longer countries, but places to do business. Scotland wants a way out (but will probably be eaten by the EU and suffer diversity as well.)

  31. @Maya
    I never gave a thought to the possibility of Scottish independence, until this topic came up in the news, very recently.
    My first thought was that Scotland, probably, wants to protect its land and heritage for the benefit of the ethnic Scots. It's a nationalist movement, right?
    However, after googling "Scottish independence immigration", I came upon several articles from which I learned that the pro-independence side plans to increase immigration. It looked like they plan to make immigrating to Scotland easier and more attractive than it is currently.

    Could someone, please, set me straight, if I misunderstood? I don't get it... How can a nationalist movement be pro foreigner?

    Betwixt the devil and the deep blue sea.

  32. @Keith Vaz
    West and Sheeran are Irish. Miliband isn't exactly 'British' either.

    West and Sheeran are Irish.

    Leave out the Micks, and there goes half of “English” pop culture. Take the Irish out of the Beatles, and what have you got? The Dave Clark Five. (And even their hits are claimed to be ghostwritten by a neighbor named Ryan.)

    But you miss my point. Regardless of ancestry, all these guys grew up and live in England, and all chose to go by “Ed” as adults, which was not common before. At least, not among those whose notoriety crossed the Pond.

  33. As Steve says, how can the Power Elites appeal to patriotism, when they have none themselves?

    Me, I’m always in favor of everyone controlling their own destinies. Decentralization and small countries is the way to go. If the Scots want to be welfare queens or the opposite, that’s their choice. Or at least, it should be THEIR choice, not the choice of some small elite in London.

    And certainly, England would be better off with a more homogeneous population, without 50 or so Labour Scottish MP’s wanting a handout.

    Its too bad the South lost the war. Imagine how much better the North would’ve been in the 1930’s without a bunch of FDR worshiping Southerners, allying themselves with the worst elements of the North for a handout and keeping a bunch of commies like Harry dexter white and Alger Hiss in power.

  34. Why would any sane Scottish person want to remain part of a Britain where you are constantly told that it is bad to be white?

  35. @Maya
    I never gave a thought to the possibility of Scottish independence, until this topic came up in the news, very recently.
    My first thought was that Scotland, probably, wants to protect its land and heritage for the benefit of the ethnic Scots. It's a nationalist movement, right?
    However, after googling "Scottish independence immigration", I came upon several articles from which I learned that the pro-independence side plans to increase immigration. It looked like they plan to make immigrating to Scotland easier and more attractive than it is currently.

    Could someone, please, set me straight, if I misunderstood? I don't get it... How can a nationalist movement be pro foreigner?

    Salmond may only be saying that he wants to increase immigration so that he doesn’t get labeled a Nazi the way most nationalists do. Remember, in the 21st century, all forms of nationalism are evil – except Zionism and African nationalism!

    • Replies: @Matra
    Nah. Scots Nats just don't like the English. And they are not too keen on Americans either.
  36. @Priss Factor
    Your average idiot Scot thinks a Pakistani or Nigerian is more Scottish than an Anglo is.

    Didn't Freud say something about something of small differences?

    I don’t think the average Scot sees Pakistanis and Nigerians as Scottish. Also, many Scots have English ancestry, particularly in the lowlands.

  37. @free thinker
    Look on the bright side. If Scotland goes her own way, England may never elect another Labor government. I would like to see Gordon Brown try to rub the noses of the Scots into the dregs of the former British Empire.

    The Tories are really not that much better than the Labour party.

  38. @iSteveFan
    Hugo Rifkind had an interesting piece in the Times yesterday on the Scottish...

    Don't tell me. Hugo is not your typical Scotsman.

    I am sure that he is as Scottish as our good friend Whiskey is. ; )

    0

  39. @Joe Walker
    Salmond may only be saying that he wants to increase immigration so that he doesn't get labeled a Nazi the way most nationalists do. Remember, in the 21st century, all forms of nationalism are evil - except Zionism and African nationalism!

    Nah. Scots Nats just don’t like the English. And they are not too keen on Americans either.

    • Replies: @Joe Walker
    "Scots Nats" as you call them are probably not too keen on anyone who isn't a Scottish Nationalist.
  40. @Formerly CARealist
    I see a NO vote coming. Ultimately, blood and soil will lose out to getting a check every month.

    If I'm right, how will this affect the ethnocentric bias on this website? That's a real question BTW. If I'm wrong, then I'll just keep pondering.

    From what I understand the vote is expected to be very close regardless of who wins, so even if the NO vote wins the day there will still be a large YES contingent. In other words, ethnocentrism lives!

  41. @Matra
    Nah. Scots Nats just don't like the English. And they are not too keen on Americans either.

    “Scots Nats” as you call them are probably not too keen on anyone who isn’t a Scottish Nationalist.

  42. @travis
    i could understand the Scottish separatists movement if they planned on leaving the European Union.
    but it appears the secessionists are leftists who seek to nationalize the oil fields and join the EU to reap the handouts Germany is giving to the PIGS

    A group of people willing to join the European Union have no desire for self-determination and are willing to allow Brussels to dictate their laws and reduce their freedoms. Very strange to me

    An independent Scotland would probably need handouts from the EU to survive in the beginning but hopefully, over time, would become more self-sustaining.

  43. Can we ban posters who post over and over and over in a short time frame? People like “Joe Walker”. It seems like an obvious improvement, but few sites do it.

  44. the world’s finest children’s literature

    It’s a stretch to call Harry Potter literature — they’re children’s adventure stories.

  45. Looks bad for the Nats. They won Glasgow 53-47 yet the turnout in Scotland’s largest city was low compared to just about everywhere else where the No vote is winning by a considerable margin.

    “Scots Nats” as you call them are probably not too keen on anyone who isn’t a Scottish Nationalist.

    Not true. They love vibrant Africans and Pakistanis.

  46. Steve,

    Are you going to attempt any breakout of the demographics of the Scottish vote like you do in American elections? It would be interesting to see just who is driving the “no” vote.

  47. From the BBC’s live blog of the referendum results at 5.18AM:

    Comedian and independence campaigner Hardeep Singh Kohli says he felt that the “Yes” campaign had to deal with “the establishment” including the media, Westminster and big business.

    Hardeep Singh Kohli and his ilk are oppressed by the non-Scottish British establishment. Scottish Nationalism = Epic Fail.

  48. “travis says:

    i could understand the Scottish separatists movement if they planned on leaving the European Union.
    but it appears the secessionists are leftists who seek to nationalize the oil fields and join the EU to reap the handouts Germany is giving to the PIGS

    A group of people willing to join the European Union have no desire for self-determination and are willing to allow Brussels to dictate their laws and reduce their freedoms. Very strange to me”

    I thought the same thing. Why trade London for Brussels? Scotland is joining the ranks of the former captive nations of eastern Europe who, once freed of the soviet yoke, made a bee-line for EU membership. In the end, I think that the EU will prove more destructive of national identity than even the Soviet Union was.

  49. Results in: NO wins, 55-45%.

    You may lower your seat tray, recline your seatback, but in case of turbulence experienced flyers keep their seat belts latched and snug. In a few minutes your flight crew will begin serving haggis. So we hope you will sit back, relax, and enjoy your flight with us, and thank you for choosing to fly…UNITED.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
    Appropriate music here.
  50. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    Hey Steve,
    Just for the record… I was searching for some stuff that you wrote about the Boris Johnson controversy (that iq, stuff… remember ?) and I found one of your Vdare articles being linked to: THE GUARDIAN, and the girl is citing you…

    http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2013/nov/28/is-boris-johnson-right-about-iqs

    “Looks persuasive doesn’t it? But as Steve Sailer points out, there are several issues here. The researchers calculated each country’s IQ average using a variety of different national studies. Each of them had a different number of participants, a different methodology and were conducted in a different year – that’s particularly problematic as IQ appears to increase over time (known as the Flynn effect).”

  51. @Auntie Analogue
    Results in: NO wins, 55-45%.

    You may lower your seat tray, recline your seatback, but in case of turbulence experienced flyers keep their seat belts latched and snug. In a few minutes your flight crew will begin serving haggis. So we hope you will sit back, relax, and enjoy your flight with us, and thank you for choosing to fly...UNITED.

    Appropriate music here.

  52. This is so sad.

    Is there any way, any way at all for something akin to section 8 to be enacted, and Scotland to get it’s fair share of diversity? Move whole swaths of council housing to Scotland?

    Look it appear to the outside observer that immigration is going to destroy England at least within 50 years. The only way that can be stopped is for immigration to be ceased, and even reversed. The only way. Without that you lose 1000, 2000, 3000, heck even ~10,000 years of history (since the ice receded for the last time).

    300 years of history is meaningless in that context. The odds of something relevant happening were a lot better without Scotland in the Parliament that makes decisions for England.

    Seems like a total tragedy.

  53. I always though Republicans could play to black on the basis of shared history. While Dems jump to the next favored minority, Republicans could talk about how it always hasn’t been good, yet blacks and whites together have been a part of forming this country. Why give it away in a flood of immigration?

  54. even though her Harry Potter books are a wonderful capstone of what writers of English and Scottish (e.g., Robert Louis Stevenson and J.M. Barrie) ethnicity have jointly given humanity: the world’s finest children’s literature.

    I don’t know, Steve. Seems to me that America can contest the crown:

    Mark Twain: Tom Sawyer, Huckleberry Finn, Life on the Mississippi, Prince and the Pauper

    Washington Irving: “Rip van Winkle,” “Sleepy Hollow”

    Hawthorne: Tanglewood Tales, The Wonder-Book

    Louisa May Alcott: Little Women, Little Men, Jo’s Boys

    Jack London: The Call of the Wild

    Esther Forbes: Johnny Tremain

    L. Frank Baum: The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

    Madeleine L’Engle: A Wrinkle in Time

    LeGuin: A Wizard of Earthsea

    Winsor McCay: Little Nemo

    Robert Heinlein: Starman Jones, Have Spacesuit-Will Travel, Citizen of the Galaxy, Tunnel in the Sky

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    Good stuff, but does American children's literature really compare, year by year, to "Alice in Wonderland," "Treasure Island," "Peter Pan," "Winnie the Pooh," or "Lord of the Rings?" It strikes me that the Brits had a decade or two lead over the Americans. For example, H.G. Wells had about a 40-50 year lead over Heinlein. (There's a lovely story of a young Heinlein, not yet a writer, going to a book signing by the elderly Wells in Hollywood and the once and future deans of sci-fi immediately striking it off while the line backed up.)
  55. Reuters: 1 out 4 Americans want their state to secede from the union.
    http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/09/19/us-usa-secession-exclusive-idUSKBN0HE19U20140919

  56. @syonredux

    even though her Harry Potter books are a wonderful capstone of what writers of English and Scottish (e.g., Robert Louis Stevenson and J.M. Barrie) ethnicity have jointly given humanity: the world’s finest children’s literature.
     
    I don't know, Steve. Seems to me that America can contest the crown:

    Mark Twain: Tom Sawyer, Huckleberry Finn, Life on the Mississippi, Prince and the Pauper

    Washington Irving: "Rip van Winkle," "Sleepy Hollow"

    Hawthorne: Tanglewood Tales, The Wonder-Book

    Louisa May Alcott: Little Women, Little Men, Jo's Boys

    Jack London: The Call of the Wild

    Esther Forbes: Johnny Tremain

    L. Frank Baum: The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

    Madeleine L'Engle: A Wrinkle in Time

    LeGuin: A Wizard of Earthsea

    Winsor McCay: Little Nemo

    Robert Heinlein: Starman Jones, Have Spacesuit-Will Travel, Citizen of the Galaxy, Tunnel in the Sky

    Good stuff, but does American children’s literature really compare, year by year, to “Alice in Wonderland,” “Treasure Island,” “Peter Pan,” “Winnie the Pooh,” or “Lord of the Rings?” It strikes me that the Brits had a decade or two lead over the Americans. For example, H.G. Wells had about a 40-50 year lead over Heinlein. (There’s a lovely story of a young Heinlein, not yet a writer, going to a book signing by the elderly Wells in Hollywood and the once and future deans of sci-fi immediately striking it off while the line backed up.)

    • Replies: @The most deplorable one
    I wonder if George Albert Wells is related to H G Wells?
    , @syonredux

    Good stuff, but does American children’s literature really compare, year by year, to “Alice in Wonderland,” “Treasure Island,” “Peter Pan,” “Winnie the Pooh,” or “Lord of the Rings?”
     
    Year by year, eh?

    Alice in Wonderland: 1865

    Little Women: 1868-1869 (volumes 1 and 2)

    Treasure Island: 1883*

    Tom Sawyer: 1876

    Peter Pan: 1904 (play)

    Call of the Wild: 1903

    Winnie the Pooh: 1924

    Wonderful Wizard of Oz 1900

    Lord of the Rings: 1954-55

    Heinlein Juveniles: 1947-58

    Looks pretty even to me....


    It strikes me that the Brits had a decade or two lead over the Americans.

    Well, looking over this list, that does not quite seem to be the case. American and British children's lit seem to have developed at about the same time.And for the heck of it, here's an essay by Orwell on American children's books:"Riding Down from Bangor", http://wikilivres.ca/wiki/Riding_Down_from_Bangor


    For example, H.G. Wells had about a 40-50 year lead over Heinlein.

    True, but Twain had about an equal lead on Wells, and Poe came earlier still....

    * Stevenson was strongly influenced by Poe's "The Gold-Bug" when he wrote Treasure Island; in Stevenson's own words, "I broke into the gallery of Mr. Poe..."
  57. The most deplorable one [AKA "Fourth doorman of the apocalypse"] says:
    @Steve Sailer
    Good stuff, but does American children's literature really compare, year by year, to "Alice in Wonderland," "Treasure Island," "Peter Pan," "Winnie the Pooh," or "Lord of the Rings?" It strikes me that the Brits had a decade or two lead over the Americans. For example, H.G. Wells had about a 40-50 year lead over Heinlein. (There's a lovely story of a young Heinlein, not yet a writer, going to a book signing by the elderly Wells in Hollywood and the once and future deans of sci-fi immediately striking it off while the line backed up.)

    I wonder if George Albert Wells is related to H G Wells?

  58. @Steve Sailer
    Good stuff, but does American children's literature really compare, year by year, to "Alice in Wonderland," "Treasure Island," "Peter Pan," "Winnie the Pooh," or "Lord of the Rings?" It strikes me that the Brits had a decade or two lead over the Americans. For example, H.G. Wells had about a 40-50 year lead over Heinlein. (There's a lovely story of a young Heinlein, not yet a writer, going to a book signing by the elderly Wells in Hollywood and the once and future deans of sci-fi immediately striking it off while the line backed up.)

    Good stuff, but does American children’s literature really compare, year by year, to “Alice in Wonderland,” “Treasure Island,” “Peter Pan,” “Winnie the Pooh,” or “Lord of the Rings?”

    Year by year, eh?

    Alice in Wonderland: 1865

    Little Women: 1868-1869 (volumes 1 and 2)

    Treasure Island: 1883*

    Tom Sawyer: 1876

    Peter Pan: 1904 (play)

    Call of the Wild: 1903

    Winnie the Pooh: 1924

    Wonderful Wizard of Oz 1900

    Lord of the Rings: 1954-55

    Heinlein Juveniles: 1947-58

    Looks pretty even to me….

    It strikes me that the Brits had a decade or two lead over the Americans.

    Well, looking over this list, that does not quite seem to be the case. American and British children’s lit seem to have developed at about the same time.And for the heck of it, here’s an essay by Orwell on American children’s books:”Riding Down from Bangor”, http://wikilivres.ca/wiki/Riding_Down_from_Bangor

    For example, H.G. Wells had about a 40-50 year lead over Heinlein.

    True, but Twain had about an equal lead on Wells, and Poe came earlier still….

    * Stevenson was strongly influenced by Poe’s “The Gold-Bug” when he wrote Treasure Island; in Stevenson’s own words, “I broke into the gallery of Mr. Poe…”

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    The other advantage the Brits had was greater prose style skill. Poe, for example, was a genius (e.g., he more or less invented the detective story, among much else) but that was more obvious to the French reading him in translation.
    , @Steve Sailer
    Genre by genre, I think the British tend to be out ahead of the Americans in children's literature. E.g., Alice in Wonderland is from 1865. Alice was pretty astonishing to the world. What's the American equivalent: The Phantom Tollbooth from a century later?

    The exceptions are likely Poe and Twain, although I doubt Poe saw himself as writing children's literature. Twain's Tom Sawyer was a huge bestseller, then he topped himself with Huckleberry Finn.

    Still, I'd be interested in knowing which great children's literature writers were consciously writing for children. A lot of what we think of as being for children was originally intended for an adult audience.
  59. Leaving intra-Anglo rivalries to one side, it is rather interesting to note how Anglo children’s lit seems to outpoint, at the very highest level (e.g., things like Huckleberry Finn, Alice in Wonderland, etc) children’s lit in French, Spanish, Italian. I seem to recall an English critic explaining it by noting that Latins see the man in the boy, while Anglo-Saxons see the boy in the man.

  60. @syonredux

    Good stuff, but does American children’s literature really compare, year by year, to “Alice in Wonderland,” “Treasure Island,” “Peter Pan,” “Winnie the Pooh,” or “Lord of the Rings?”
     
    Year by year, eh?

    Alice in Wonderland: 1865

    Little Women: 1868-1869 (volumes 1 and 2)

    Treasure Island: 1883*

    Tom Sawyer: 1876

    Peter Pan: 1904 (play)

    Call of the Wild: 1903

    Winnie the Pooh: 1924

    Wonderful Wizard of Oz 1900

    Lord of the Rings: 1954-55

    Heinlein Juveniles: 1947-58

    Looks pretty even to me....


    It strikes me that the Brits had a decade or two lead over the Americans.

    Well, looking over this list, that does not quite seem to be the case. American and British children's lit seem to have developed at about the same time.And for the heck of it, here's an essay by Orwell on American children's books:"Riding Down from Bangor", http://wikilivres.ca/wiki/Riding_Down_from_Bangor


    For example, H.G. Wells had about a 40-50 year lead over Heinlein.

    True, but Twain had about an equal lead on Wells, and Poe came earlier still....

    * Stevenson was strongly influenced by Poe's "The Gold-Bug" when he wrote Treasure Island; in Stevenson's own words, "I broke into the gallery of Mr. Poe..."

    The other advantage the Brits had was greater prose style skill. Poe, for example, was a genius (e.g., he more or less invented the detective story, among much else) but that was more obvious to the French reading him in translation.

    • Replies: @syonredux

    Poe, for example, was a genius (e.g., he more or less invented the detective story, among much else) but that was more obvious to the French reading him in translation.
     
    On the other hand, Poe had a tremendous impact on a number of British writers: Stevenson (cf his already acknowledged pilfering from "The Gold-Bug"), Conan Doyle (goes without saying, really), Oscar Wilde (cf The Picture of Dorian Gray), Kipling (cf Kipling's rather effective horror pieces: "The Recrudescence of Imray," "The Strange Ride of Morrowbie Jukes," etc), Wells (cf Wells' remark “the fundamental principles of construction that underlie such stories as Poe’s ‘Murders in the Rue Morgue’ . . . are precisely those that should guide a scientific writer"; for that matter, Poe's hand is quite evident in the more lurid passages in The Time Machine and

    The Island of DR Moreau
     
    As for the old saw about about Poe reading better in French.....Baudelaire, Poe's most fervent French disciple, read him in English, and his translations of Poe (the ones that cemented Poe's French reputation) were often remarkably faithful, even to the point of eschewing standard French constructions (for example, Baudelaire's rendering of the opening lines of Arthur Gordon Pym, "My name is Arthur Gordon Pym," as "Mon nom est Arthur Gordon Pym," not the more conventional "Je m'appelle Arthur Gordon Pym").
    , @syonredux

    Poe, for example, was a genius (e.g., he more or less invented the detective story, among much else) but that was more obvious to the French reading him in translation.
     
    On the other hand, Poe had a tremendous impact on a number of British writers: Stevenson (cf his already acknowledged pilfering from “The Gold-Bug”), Conan Doyle (goes without saying, really), Oscar Wilde (cf The Picture of Dorian Gray), Kipling (cf Kipling’s rather effective horror pieces: “The Recrudescence of Imray,” “The Strange Ride of Morrowbie Jukes,” etc), Wells (cf Wells’ remark “the fundamental principles of construction that underlie such stories as Poe’s ‘Murders in the Rue Morgue’ . . . are precisely those that should guide a scientific writer”; for that matter, Poe’s hand is quite evident in the more lurid passages in The Time Machine and
    The Island of DR Moreau


    As for the old saw about about Poe reading better in French…..Baudelaire, Poe’s most fervent French disciple, read him in English, and his translations of Poe (the ones that cemented Poe’s French reputation) were often remarkably faithful, even to the point of eschewing standard French constructions (for example, Baudelaire’s rendering of the opening lines of Arthur Gordon Pym, “My name is Arthur Gordon Pym,” as “Mon nom est Arthur Gordon Pym,” not the more conventional “Je m’appelle Arthur Gordon Pym”).
  61. @syonredux

    Good stuff, but does American children’s literature really compare, year by year, to “Alice in Wonderland,” “Treasure Island,” “Peter Pan,” “Winnie the Pooh,” or “Lord of the Rings?”
     
    Year by year, eh?

    Alice in Wonderland: 1865

    Little Women: 1868-1869 (volumes 1 and 2)

    Treasure Island: 1883*

    Tom Sawyer: 1876

    Peter Pan: 1904 (play)

    Call of the Wild: 1903

    Winnie the Pooh: 1924

    Wonderful Wizard of Oz 1900

    Lord of the Rings: 1954-55

    Heinlein Juveniles: 1947-58

    Looks pretty even to me....


    It strikes me that the Brits had a decade or two lead over the Americans.

    Well, looking over this list, that does not quite seem to be the case. American and British children's lit seem to have developed at about the same time.And for the heck of it, here's an essay by Orwell on American children's books:"Riding Down from Bangor", http://wikilivres.ca/wiki/Riding_Down_from_Bangor


    For example, H.G. Wells had about a 40-50 year lead over Heinlein.

    True, but Twain had about an equal lead on Wells, and Poe came earlier still....

    * Stevenson was strongly influenced by Poe's "The Gold-Bug" when he wrote Treasure Island; in Stevenson's own words, "I broke into the gallery of Mr. Poe..."

    Genre by genre, I think the British tend to be out ahead of the Americans in children’s literature. E.g., Alice in Wonderland is from 1865. Alice was pretty astonishing to the world. What’s the American equivalent: The Phantom Tollbooth from a century later?

    The exceptions are likely Poe and Twain, although I doubt Poe saw himself as writing children’s literature. Twain’s Tom Sawyer was a huge bestseller, then he topped himself with Huckleberry Finn.

    Still, I’d be interested in knowing which great children’s literature writers were consciously writing for children. A lot of what we think of as being for children was originally intended for an adult audience.

    • Replies: @syonredux

    Genre by genre, I think the British tend to be out ahead of the Americans in children’s literature. E.g., Alice in Wonderland is from 1865.
     
    Aren't we changing the game here, Steve?The original focus seemed to be qualitative (the number of great masterpieces, etc), now it's that plus sub-genre?Well, I'll play along.

    Alice: Well, Alice does pretty much inaugurate the children's phantasmagoria genre.Britain gets the nod.

    School Stories: The British get the nod here as well; I certainly can't think of anything consequential before Tom Brown's School Days (1857)

    Girls' stories: Quite a lot of these on both sides of the Atlantic, but here I'm going to go with the Dashiell Hammett principle.Even though John Carroll Daly produced the first "Hard-Boiled" detective stories, no one cares. Hammett did it much better.He was the one who was imitated.So, I'm assigning the laurel to Louisa May Alcott's Little Women (1868-69). One for the Yanks.

    Boys' Adventure: Again, quite a lot of these on both sides of the Atlantic, but Twain trumps them with Tom Sawyer (1876) and Huckleberry Finn (1884). The influence of both books on everything that came later is palpable. Kipling's Kim, for example, is basically just Huck and Jim in India.Another for the USA.


    Alice was pretty astonishing to the world. What’s the American equivalent: The Phantom Tollbooth from a century later?

    I don't think that we had to wait that long, Steve. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz came out in 1900, and Winsor McCay*'s surreal Little Nemo started in 1905.

    The exceptions are likely Poe and Twain, although I doubt Poe saw himself as writing children’s literature. Twain’s Tom Sawyer was a huge bestseller, then he topped himself with Huckleberry Finn.

    One of the remarkable things about Twain is how varied is work is: Tom Sawyer, Huckleberry Finn, Roughing It, Life on the Mississippi, The Prince and the Pauper, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court, The Innocents Abroad, "Extracts from Adam's Diary," etc.

    Still, I’d be interested in knowing which great children’s literature writers were consciously writing for children. A lot of what we think of as being for children was originally intended for an adult audience.

    Absolutely.It can be a tricky business. For example, here is your list of children's lit:

    Good stuff, but does American children’s literature really compare, year by year, to “Alice in Wonderland,” “Treasure Island,” “Peter Pan,” “Winnie the Pooh,” or “Lord of the Rings?”
     
    Lord of the Rings, I would say, was not intended as children's lit. The Hobbit clearly was, but LOTR was something else.

    As for other authors:

    Poe: Clearly did not write for children. Of course, that did not keep things like "The Gold-Bug" and "The Purloined Letter" from being read by children all over the world.



    Wells: Another adult writer who was enthusiastically embraced by children (I think that I was about 9 when I first read The Invisible Man and The Time Machine)


    Twain: He went back and forth between children's books (Tom Sawyer, Huckleberry Finn, Prince and the Pauper) and stuff that was obviously intended for adults (The Gilded Age, "The War Prayer")

    *I truly pity anyone who was not exposed to his work in childhood:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Little_Nemo#mediaviewer/File:Little_Nemo_1907-09-29.jpg


    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Winsor_McCay#mediaviewer/File:Little_Nemo_in_Slumberland_(1908-07-26)_panels_11_to_15.jpg


    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Winsor_McCay#mediaviewer/File:Little_Nemo_in_Slumberland_(1905-10-22)_bottom_half.jpeg
  62. @Steve Sailer
    The other advantage the Brits had was greater prose style skill. Poe, for example, was a genius (e.g., he more or less invented the detective story, among much else) but that was more obvious to the French reading him in translation.

    Poe, for example, was a genius (e.g., he more or less invented the detective story, among much else) but that was more obvious to the French reading him in translation.

    On the other hand, Poe had a tremendous impact on a number of British writers: Stevenson (cf his already acknowledged pilfering from “The Gold-Bug”), Conan Doyle (goes without saying, really), Oscar Wilde (cf The Picture of Dorian Gray), Kipling (cf Kipling’s rather effective horror pieces: “The Recrudescence of Imray,” “The Strange Ride of Morrowbie Jukes,” etc), Wells (cf Wells’ remark “the fundamental principles of construction that underlie such stories as Poe’s ‘Murders in the Rue Morgue’ . . . are precisely those that should guide a scientific writer”; for that matter, Poe’s hand is quite evident in the more lurid passages in The Time Machine and

    The Island of DR Moreau

    As for the old saw about about Poe reading better in French…..Baudelaire, Poe’s most fervent French disciple, read him in English, and his translations of Poe (the ones that cemented Poe’s French reputation) were often remarkably faithful, even to the point of eschewing standard French constructions (for example, Baudelaire’s rendering of the opening lines of Arthur Gordon Pym, “My name is Arthur Gordon Pym,” as “Mon nom est Arthur Gordon Pym,” not the more conventional “Je m’appelle Arthur Gordon Pym”).

  63. @Steve Sailer
    The other advantage the Brits had was greater prose style skill. Poe, for example, was a genius (e.g., he more or less invented the detective story, among much else) but that was more obvious to the French reading him in translation.

    Poe, for example, was a genius (e.g., he more or less invented the detective story, among much else) but that was more obvious to the French reading him in translation.

    On the other hand, Poe had a tremendous impact on a number of British writers: Stevenson (cf his already acknowledged pilfering from “The Gold-Bug”), Conan Doyle (goes without saying, really), Oscar Wilde (cf The Picture of Dorian Gray), Kipling (cf Kipling’s rather effective horror pieces: “The Recrudescence of Imray,” “The Strange Ride of Morrowbie Jukes,” etc), Wells (cf Wells’ remark “the fundamental principles of construction that underlie such stories as Poe’s ‘Murders in the Rue Morgue’ . . . are precisely those that should guide a scientific writer”; for that matter, Poe’s hand is quite evident in the more lurid passages in The Time Machine and
    The Island of DR Moreau

    As for the old saw about about Poe reading better in French…..Baudelaire, Poe’s most fervent French disciple, read him in English, and his translations of Poe (the ones that cemented Poe’s French reputation) were often remarkably faithful, even to the point of eschewing standard French constructions (for example, Baudelaire’s rendering of the opening lines of Arthur Gordon Pym, “My name is Arthur Gordon Pym,” as “Mon nom est Arthur Gordon Pym,” not the more conventional “Je m’appelle Arthur Gordon Pym”).

  64. @Steve Sailer
    Genre by genre, I think the British tend to be out ahead of the Americans in children's literature. E.g., Alice in Wonderland is from 1865. Alice was pretty astonishing to the world. What's the American equivalent: The Phantom Tollbooth from a century later?

    The exceptions are likely Poe and Twain, although I doubt Poe saw himself as writing children's literature. Twain's Tom Sawyer was a huge bestseller, then he topped himself with Huckleberry Finn.

    Still, I'd be interested in knowing which great children's literature writers were consciously writing for children. A lot of what we think of as being for children was originally intended for an adult audience.

    Genre by genre, I think the British tend to be out ahead of the Americans in children’s literature. E.g., Alice in Wonderland is from 1865.

    Aren’t we changing the game here, Steve?The original focus seemed to be qualitative (the number of great masterpieces, etc), now it’s that plus sub-genre?Well, I’ll play along.

    Alice: Well, Alice does pretty much inaugurate the children’s phantasmagoria genre.Britain gets the nod.

    School Stories: The British get the nod here as well; I certainly can’t think of anything consequential before Tom Brown’s School Days (1857)

    Girls’ stories: Quite a lot of these on both sides of the Atlantic, but here I’m going to go with the Dashiell Hammett principle.Even though John Carroll Daly produced the first “Hard-Boiled” detective stories, no one cares. Hammett did it much better.He was the one who was imitated.So, I’m assigning the laurel to Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women (1868-69). One for the Yanks.

    Boys’ Adventure: Again, quite a lot of these on both sides of the Atlantic, but Twain trumps them with Tom Sawyer (1876) and Huckleberry Finn (1884). The influence of both books on everything that came later is palpable. Kipling’s Kim, for example, is basically just Huck and Jim in India.Another for the USA.

    Alice was pretty astonishing to the world. What’s the American equivalent: The Phantom Tollbooth from a century later?

    I don’t think that we had to wait that long, Steve. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz came out in 1900, and Winsor McCay*’s surreal Little Nemo started in 1905.

    The exceptions are likely Poe and Twain, although I doubt Poe saw himself as writing children’s literature. Twain’s Tom Sawyer was a huge bestseller, then he topped himself with Huckleberry Finn.

    One of the remarkable things about Twain is how varied is work is: Tom Sawyer, Huckleberry Finn, Roughing It, Life on the Mississippi, The Prince and the Pauper, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court, The Innocents Abroad, “Extracts from Adam’s Diary,” etc.

    Still, I’d be interested in knowing which great children’s literature writers were consciously writing for children. A lot of what we think of as being for children was originally intended for an adult audience.

    Absolutely.It can be a tricky business. For example, here is your list of children’s lit:

    Good stuff, but does American children’s literature really compare, year by year, to “Alice in Wonderland,” “Treasure Island,” “Peter Pan,” “Winnie the Pooh,” or “Lord of the Rings?”

    Lord of the Rings, I would say, was not intended as children’s lit. The Hobbit clearly was, but LOTR was something else.

    As for other authors:

    Poe: Clearly did not write for children. Of course, that did not keep things like “The Gold-Bug” and “The Purloined Letter” from being read by children all over the world.

    Wells: Another adult writer who was enthusiastically embraced by children (I think that I was about 9 when I first read The Invisible Man and The Time Machine)

    Twain: He went back and forth between children’s books (Tom Sawyer, Huckleberry Finn, Prince and the Pauper) and stuff that was obviously intended for adults (The Gilded Age, “The War Prayer”)

    *I truly pity anyone who was not exposed to his work in childhood:

  65. And while I’m extolling the virtues of American Children’s lit, some word should be said for the mid-century cartoon serial. Some truly fantastic work was done in this form. Some of the more notable examples:

    Alex Raymond’s Flash Gordon (1934-43). Highly imaginative and beautifully drawn.

    Harold Gray’s Little Orphan Annie (1924-1968): Truly stylish artwork (Crumb was a big fan). Plus, the storylines were often quite fantastic in nature (cf such mystical characters as Mr Am).

    Milton Caniff’s Terry and the Pirates (1934-46): Possibly the finest pure adventure cartoon.

  66. Might be of interest to see where we stand after a ruthless winnowing process.

    Time Frame: There are many ways to define the 19th century, but I’m going with the old 1815 to 1914 way of counting, from Napoleon’s defeat to WWI.

    What Counts: Only stuff that the author thought of as Children’s fiction/poetry. So, Sir Walter Scott, David Copperfield, The Leatherstocking Tales, Sherlock Holmes, Poe’s Dupin stories, Bret Harte, The Light that Failed, Jane Eyre, “The Man Without a Country,” “Rip Van Winkle,” etc, do not count.On the other hand, Kidnapped, Little Nemo, Tom Brown’s School Days , The Water Babies, Little Women, Pyle’s The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, The Railway Children, etc, clearly do count.

    With these constraints in place, I would assign the topmost rank to Alice in Wonderland-Through the Looking Glass ( I think that it is best to treat them as one book) and Huckleberry Finn. Viewed in terms of both aesthetic merit and literary impact (so much stems from them), they seem to stand apart, even when compared to other great children’s novels like Treasure Island and Little Women.

  67. syonredux [AKA "marlowe"] says:

    Interesting to see how quickly the field of Anglo Children’s Literature developed during the middle years of the 19th century:

    1857: TOM BROWN’S SCHOOL DAYS

    1862: THE WATER BABIES

    1865:ALICE’S ADVENTURES IN WONDERLAND

    1868: LITTLE WOMEN, VOLUME I

    1869: LITTLE WOMEN, VOLUME II

    1871: ALICE’S ADVENTURES THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS

    1876: THE ADVENTURES OF TOM SAWYER

    This kind of explosion becomes all the impressive when one bears in mind the meager stuff (LITTLE GOODY TWO SHOES, anyone?) that came before.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    Right, the efflorescence of children's literature in Britain and America in the 19th Century is a marvel.
  68. @syonredux
    Interesting to see how quickly the field of Anglo Children's Literature developed during the middle years of the 19th century:

    1857: TOM BROWN'S SCHOOL DAYS

    1862: THE WATER BABIES

    1865:ALICE'S ADVENTURES IN WONDERLAND

    1868: LITTLE WOMEN, VOLUME I

    1869: LITTLE WOMEN, VOLUME II

    1871: ALICE'S ADVENTURES THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS

    1876: THE ADVENTURES OF TOM SAWYER

    This kind of explosion becomes all the impressive when one bears in mind the meager stuff (LITTLE GOODY TWO SHOES, anyone?) that came before.

    Right, the efflorescence of children’s literature in Britain and America in the 19th Century is a marvel.

Comments are closed.

Subscribe to All Steve Sailer Comments via RSS