Table of contents

The Philadelphia story 4

A gorgeous thirst A few notes on the possibilities of decadence

C.K. went to South America when his marriage collapsed, which is where Tracy’s brother is supposed to be. It’s a lawless place, where men & eroticism are untamed. The dancer who has stolen her father also has a Latin name. C.K. says he […]

The Philadelphia story 3

The Quaker spirit A note on the last days of virtue

The old order is mostly gone. A woman at the library built by C.K.’s grandfather still uses the thee & thou talk. C.K. talks about the Quaker spirit – pacifism effectively means enduring suffering. Who else shows kindness to Tracy’s mother, who seems […]

The Philadelphia story 2

The married maidens A note on the peculiar effect of democratic progress on women

Tracy has the unfortunate chance to hear severa people’s opinions of her. They are not altogether flattering. She learns her reputation is not really under her control; her aristocratic insistence on privacy is betrayed by her rather less aristocratic insistence […]

The Philadelphia story (1940)

The coming revolution Some notes on the arrival of democracy

Society types Tracy Lord & C.K. Dexter Haven were once the splendid couple everyone wanted to see. They very privately married, quarreled, & divorced. Now, she is making a rather more historical marriage, to man of the people George Kittridge. He wants the people […]

Holiday 3

A look at man of the future finished, the coming homelessness This most charming vision of the future seems to depend on being an orphan or vagabond

Linda was brought up by a mother who tried to fit in the oligarch class, but without compromising the democratic good-nature of her children. For this purpose, […]

Holiday 2

A look at the man of the future continued, his need for progress & a new woman On the use of heroism to create a banal world

Johnny Case has his heart-to-heart with Linda. They decide, they could go together. She is a modern woman, a defender of democrats against her father’s interests. She […]

Holiday (1938)

A look at the man of the future It goes without saying, this is a modern holiday–a godless celebration of man’s pleasant possibilities

Katharine Hepburn overacts–I am unpleasantly surprised to see director George Cukor, a man of sense & taste, allow it. I find the denouement implausible, which is not to say that it […]

Black hawk down

A new look at the white man’s burden A look at the few men facing the coming chaos

If you remember the Clinton years, you might rethink that peace–maybe Mr. Clinton was too much of a coward to ever do anything about the evil rising in the East. That’s when terrorism & barbarism & […]


A few notes on the coming nihilism

What you learn when you learn what our protagonist has been doing is tied up with the way you learn it. The story is told backwards, because it would be unbearably ugly told forward. This is the difference between poetry & history. You make up poems, so […]