Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Statue of Liberty (OMOM Essay 1): Out-takes & Discussion Questions

I’ve just started uploading bibliographical references and out-takes for Outdoor Monuments of Manhattan to the Forgotten Delights website. In hopes that a book club or discussion group might get interested in the book (and buy multiple copies!), I’ve also made up a list of questions that I couldn’t cover in the published book, with suggested readings. Now the question is, which of that material shall I post to the blog?

One of the pleasures of researching 19th-c. sculpture is immersing myself in the 19th-c. sense of life, so let me give you one excerpt from a speech at Liberty’s dedication that didn’t make it into the book, and then a selection of the questions.

From orator Chauncey M. Depew:

[Monuments such as the Colossus of Rhodes] were all dwarfs in size and pigmies in spirit beside this mighty structure and its inspiring thought. Higher than the monument in Trafalgar-square which commemorates the victories of Nelson on the sea; higher than the Column Vendome, which perpetuates the triumphs of Napoleon on the land; higher than the towers of the Brooklyn Bridge, which exhibit the latest and grandest results of science, invention, and industrial progress, this statue of Liberty rises toward the heavens ... It means that with the abolition of privileges to the few and the enfranchisement of the individual, the equality of all men before the law, and universal suffrage, the ballot secure from fraud and the voter from intimidation, the press free and education furnished by the State for all, liberty of worship and free speech, the right to rise and equal opportunity for honor and fortune, the problems of labor and capital, of social regeneration and moral growth, of property and poverty, will work themselves out under the benign influence of enlightened lawmaking and law-abiding liberty, without the aid of Kings and armies, or of Anarchists and bombs."
For more quotes from Liberty’s dedication, click here.

Assorted discussion questions:

1. Given Bartholdi's comments on the requirements of colossal sculpture, could any other sculpture described in Outdoor Monuments be successfully enlarged to 150 feet?
4. Re immigration: Are there any categories of foreigners who should not be allowed to enter the United States for reasons they were born with: race, physical or mental handicaps? What about other conditions they can't help: injury, disease?
5. Re immigration: Are there categories of foreigners who should not be allowed to enter the U.S. for reasons that involve their own choices, convictions, or beliefs, e.g. convicted criminals, advocates anarchy or terrorism, members of various religions, etc.?
8. What's the difference between Patrick Henry's view of immigrants and Emma Lazarus's view in her poem "The New Colossus"? [both quoted on the site]

For more discussion questions, click here.

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