Books: State of the Nation

AMERICA Now—Edited by Harold E. Stearns—Scribner ($3).

The year 1922 was a big year for modern literature. In that year appeared T.S. Eliot's The Wasteland, Joyce's Ulysses, Sinclair Lewis' Babbitt, the first (English-translated) volume of Proust's Remembrance of Things Past. The other literary landmark of that year was a startling encyclopedia, edited by Harold Stearns, called Civilization in the United States, the collective work of some 30 outspoken "young intellectuals," including such names as H.L. Mencken, Van Wyck Brooks, Lewis Mumford. The startling thing about the book was the contributors' pessimism. While the press, economists and politicians glorified U.S. prosperity, these intellectuals...

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