. . . in the presence of the Englishman, when by chance he turns up or is thought of, there is an invincible impatience and irritation that his point of view should be so fixed, his mind so literal, and the freight he carries so excessive (when you are sailing in ballast yourself), and that he should seem to take so little notice of changes in the wind to which you are nervously sensitive.
George Santayana, in Character and Opinion in the United States

A few weeks before I revisited London in late April, there appeared in The Times Literary Supplement one of those periodic assaults on American cultural life that are written by visiting English dons for the sole purpose, it sometimes seems, of making a sort of atonement for the large lecture fees they are embarrassed to be seen collecting on this side of the Atlantic. Perhaps it is a way of demonstrating that they...


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