“Is the desolation of the land the result of the fatal embrace of the Deity? Hapless are the favorites of Heaven…”
—Herman Melville, Journal of a Visit to Europe and the Levant
"For I think, verily, that there are degrees of merit in subjects—in spite of the fact that to treat even one of the most ambiguous with due decency we must for the time, for the feverish and prejudiced hour, at least figure its merit and its dignity as possibly absolute."
—Henry James, preface to The Ambassadors