Monday, November 20, 2006


I kind of like this: As a literate, civil, rational spokesman for modernity (though in the guise of an ancient sage), Publius cannot move some loyalties. He cannot counter or satisfy some human longings. It would be idle to wonder how a full-blown, spiritually satisfying constitution might have emerged in the 1780s, harmonized by an American Milton. The nature of the American experience was to begin anew, try an experiment, cast off crown and pulpit by calling upon modern newspaper prose to justify a new departure. The poetry of such a changed world would have to emerge, […] through experience, time, and feeling. But the first large step is bare law; devoid of the grace of imagery, softened only by the long deliberation and free discussion, and opening a dangerous discontinuity between old authorities and new. [ix]
It may be that the poetry that we were to wait for was right before our eyes in Publius and that we continue to provide for its emergence as we remain open to the richness of the pseudonym.

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