The Many Worlds Of Henry James

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We are Americans born—il faut en prendre son parti. I look upon it as a great blessing; and I think that to be an American is an excellent preparation for culture. We have exquisite qualities as a race, and it seems to me that we are ahead of the European races in the fact that more than either of them we can deal freely with forms of civilization not our own, can pick and choose and assimilate and in short … claim our property wherever we find it.

—Letter to T. S. Perry (1867)