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September 15, 2013


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Bob Strassfeld


The Holmes is, of course, Holmes, Sr. I'm not surprised he was included. My understanding is that he was held in high regard in literary circles in the late 19th century.

Alfred Brophy

Further to Bob Strasfeld's comment, I remember when I was in my first semester (must have been first week or two, actuall) of law school having a conversation with one of my classmates about how we didn't know that Oliver Wendell Holmes (whom we knew as a poet) was also a judge. Didn't take long to forget about the pre-law school Holmes. Though down the road I do want to talk a little bit about his 1859 novel, Elsie Venner, which has a subplot of division of property among heirs.

Beau Baez

Yankee From Olympus, a biography of O.W. Holmes,Jr. has good coverage on the father and grandfather--great biography for those interested in the life of the great jurist.

Bill Turnier

It is refreshing that by 1936 the list did not include William Dean Howells. I fully expected him to be there. Good for our grandparents generation that they got over him!

Bob Strassfeld

Bill raises an interesting issue, which I hadn't focused on before. The omissions from the list are quite interesting. Henry James and Edith Wharton are not there, for instance. Some writers who might have made the list before fading in popularity, Hamlin Garland, Jack London, and Theodore Drieser are also missing. Finally, by 1936 one would expect Hemingway, Faulkner, and Fitzgerald to be there, and, perhaps, some representative of proletarian literature (James Farrell, Henry Roth, John Dos Passos, though I'm not sure that Dos Passos quite fits in that group).

Bob Strassfeld

I might add to the roll of the missing various African American writers who had established strong reputations by the mid-1930s including Paul Laurence Dunbar and Charles Chesnutt, along with authors associated with the Harlem Renaissance such as Claude McKay and Langston Hughes (Zora Neale Hurston probably arrived on the literary scene a bit too late for consideration).

Bob Strassfeld

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