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« In which I return to the symbol of lion honey [by Jennifer Michael Hecht] | Main | "Yes, We Have No Bananas" in Yiddish »

December 02, 2009

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I love the quotations from presidents past. Truman sounds unscripted, whereas Kennedy's speechwriters seem always to strive for oratory of the old school. Not just the allusion to Milton's sonnet on his blindness, but the robust phrasing calls attention to itself: "Many serve, all applaud, and the tide of patriotism runs high." This is writing high, a partner of riding high, as if each paragraph should contain at least one phrase that a novelist or historian might lift to serve as the title of a book. "The Long Slow Struggle." "The Invisible Foe."

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