[lit-ideas] Re: Confounded Rot

  • From: David Ritchie <profdritchie@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Thu, 17 Jul 2014 11:26:41 -0700

If you type these two words into a search engine you will come upon the book I 
bought yesterday, James C. Malin, "Confounded Rot About Napoleon; Reflections 
Upon Science and Technology, Nationalism, World Depression of the Eighteen 
Nineties, and Afterwards."  Best title I've come across in ages.  Can't say the 
same of the prose, which can be preposition-heavy, "In the United States the 
contemporary recognition of centralization of power and of the maturing of a 
spirit distinctly national and unitary, rather than federal, had been 
conspicuous in some quarters during the first generation after the American 
Civil War.  Of the several attempted explanations of a new flowering of a 
self-conscious nationalism, one is selected here for illustration, that of 
Francis A. Walker."  It was the book's introduction which caused me to buy.  
The title echoes phrasing attributed to a Kansas journalist, Tom (Thomas A.) 
McNeal.  Those of you who know their way around Kansas' past better than I do 
will be able to tell us whether Mr. McNeal was speaking the lingo of his time 
and place.  I associate the phrase, "Confounded rot" with upper class 
Englishmen, Bertie Wooster's chums, Imperial officers, that sort of person.  

David Ritchie,
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