Get the Lead Out
In their “It’s the New Economy, Stupid” [Dec. 17], John Cavanagh and Robin Broad make excellent points about the grand possibilities that await the actions of intelligent and informed citizens and caring governments. I agree with all of it. But not enough is said regarding the massive inertia—financial, economic, military and political—that can, with the swipe of a casual paw, clear out all that is in the path of its continuance. Until our endangered planet becomes a significant concern, that inertia will continue, if not increase. To wit, fracking, mentioned in the same issue: one would think that such obviously careless and destructive technology would not even be considered in today’s “green awareness” era.
Want Mayo on Those Dollars?
On my wall hangs a poster with a Cree prophecy: “Only after the last tree has been cut down/ Only after the last river has been poisoned/ Only after the last fish has been caught/ Only then will you find that money cannot be eaten.” How long will it take us to realize that life is like a spider web—all interconnected? Destroy enough filaments and the web of life collapses. Yet we keep fracking away [Elizabeth Royte, “Fracking Our Food Supply,” Dec. 17]. Our greed will override all the warnings, until there is nothing left on earth to eat but those worthless dollars.
BARBARA W. HAHN
Sag Harbor, N.Y.
Republicans tell us they don’t want to leave debt to their children and grandchildren; but what if there is no clean water for their descendants to drink or clean air to breathe? What if fracking makes their food supply too dangerous to eat?
National Socialism: The Nation Knew
Thank you for Tara Zahra’s “A Brutal Peace” [Dec. 17], on the expulsion of ethnic Germans after World War II. A very useful map showing the location of ethnic Germans in and outside the Reich was published in your pages on January 2, 1937. Henry C. Wolfe, in “Fascism Charts Its Course,” wrote, “There are German groups scattered over Europe from Metz to the Volga, from the Gulf of Finland to Serbia. National Socialism spares no effort to inspire in these Teutonic minorities a spirit of rebellion against their respective governments.” Well before the Anschluss of Austria, Nazi Germany’s territorial ambitions seemed clear to some prescient people.
Henry James in Oxford
St. Anne’s College, Oxford, England
It struck me while reading Leo Robson’s review “The Master’s Servants,” on Henry James [Nov. 12], that one reason James didn’t like the academy was its masculinist air. Robson’s mini-sociology of James studies today makes it seem continuous with the male-dominated habitat of the 1940s, ’50s and ’60s. Thankfully, it is not.
As the co-organizer of “A Stray Savage in Oxford,” I can attest that we wanted to commemorate not simply James’s connection with the university and its alumni but his personal relations with Oxford the city. In September 1894, James lived in the Beaumont Street lodgings of American novelist Constance Fenimore Woolson after her suicide, where he conceived “The Altar of the Dead.” Our other keynote speaker—the one Robson forgot to mention—was James’s biographer Lyndall Gordon, who spoke about the intricate “acts of divination” between James’s male and female characters, and between the two writers.