From George Steiner’s “Real Presences”

A fascinating insight:

“Two principal impulses energize the American spirit: immanence and egalitarianism. The crux of American time is now. The past matters in direct reference to its usability in and by the present. American sensibility tends to invest remembrance not in historicity but in Utopia. Transcendence itself is made pragmatic; the definition of tomorrow is that of the empirical realization of substantive dreams. No other culture has so dignified the immanent. Concomitantly, the egalitarian ideal seeks to domesticate excellence. The European canon orders vertically, gives differing ranks to the products of intellect and of feeling. Its strategies are those of exclusion. The Parnassus, the Pantheon of official glory, integral to European humanities, are suspect to American sentiment. The American genius would democratize eternity. “

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