But first: I got a spam today telling me that I, I, am "entitled to a Special Christian Mortgage Rate Search." Wishful evangelical thinking on somebody's part? Can they possibly not know that Bronislaw Huberman was the founder of the Israel Philharmonic, and that Leo Huberman was a great Marxist political economist--and, uh, no gentile either--and that my grandfather, zichroyne-livroche, was a follower of the Alexander Rov (and as a matter of fact might well have regarded me as a goy himself)?
Even weirder, maybe, was the name at the bottom of the email: Jaz Pester. I swear. Either very a propos or very fake.
On to the mighty:
Between 1820 and 1880, the following people, just off the top of my head, were alive and more or less active:
H.-C. Andersen, Balzac, Beethoven, Brahms, Carlyle, Cezanne, Chopin, Clerk-Maxwell, Coleridge, Constable, Corot, Courbet, Darwin, Daumier, J.L. David, Delacroix, Dickens, Dostoevsky, A.C. Doyle, F. Douglass, A. Dumas, T. Edison, G. Elliot, R.W. Emerson, Faraday, Flaubert, Freud, Gaugin, Gilbert & Sullivan, Gogol, Goya, Hawthorne, Hegel, Heine, O. Wendell Holmes, Jr. & Sr., V. Hugo, Ibsen, Ingres, T. Jefferson (d. 1826), Laplace, A. Lincoln, Manet, Marx, Melville, Mendel, Mendeleev, Monet, Nietzsche, Planck, Poe, Poincare, Pushkin, Renoir, Rossini, Rimsky-Korsakov, Rodin, Ruskin, G. Sand, Schopenhauer, Schumann, W. Scott, Shubert, L. Sullivan, Tchaikovsky, Thoreau, Tolstoy, Turgenev, Turner, Twain, Van Gogh, Verdi, Volta, Wagner, Whitman, Wordsworth, Zola.
In those days, I’d say, almost any half-educated person, if asked to name a great living painter, poet, novelist, composer, or scientist, could name many or most or all of the above names.
How many average people today could name a great living composer, or artist, or playwright, or poet, or philosopher, or more than maybe one scientist?
And is that more a reflection of the average person today or of our art, literature, music, etc.?
And don’t try telling me that those 19th c. giants only look giant because historical perspective, contrary to visual perspective, makes distant objects look bigger. Cause I’m not buying it.
What part of "I'm not buying it" don't you understand?