Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Roscoe Conkling: OMOM Essay 18

As opposed to Booth (Essay 17), my problem with prominent New York politician Conkling wasn't lack of reaction but indecision. A contemporary said, "He stood for independence, for courage, and above all for absolute integrity." A later biographer denounced him as "one of the harshest, strictest, most narrow-minded of all political bosses. Possibly like Pooh Bah he was born sneering." Eventually I made "About the Sculpture" a discussion of how one's knowledge affects one's interpretation of and reaction to art. Thus it's a sequel and elaboration of the discussion of emotional reactions to sculpture that began in Essay 17 of Outdoor Monuments of Manhattan.

I spent considerable time searching for an objective evaluation of Conkling, but with a deadline impending, finally focused "About the Subject" on the primary sources one would have to research in order pass judgment on Conkling's character and career.

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