September 10: The Old School Tie

Who wants to take the high part? And then we can sing my wicked a capella arrangement of "Clocks" by Coldplay!

These poems by Oliver Wendell Holmes (Sr.), are nice enough, but hardly the stuff that makes you want to shout "fire" in a crowded theater or anything. It made me wonder if they would have gotten into the Harvard Classics if OWH (Sr.) hadn't himself been such an eminent Bostonian; if he had had the exact same career, including his important work in medicine, in Philadelphia, would his occasional poems (this one's about how you can't help laughing at old people) be in this volume alongside Whitman and Browning?

It can't be helped, I guess; that's part of the whole Harvard branding, especially in 1908 -- that whole kind of proper Bostonian vibe. It makes you wonder if Emerson is over-represented too, but Emerson is an Important American Blowhard; and how many Americans were regarded (in 1908) as worthy of induction into the Classics? Especially when you rule out fiction, as the HC does; there goes Twain, Hawthorne, etc. They might have also put in Emily Dickinson, but she's a wo- wo- woman, so no sale.

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