Will there be a Library of America volume devoted to Jacques Barzun? A question for study and discussion.
Meanwhile, here's a re-posting of something put up on Dec. 3, 2006:
Okay, if no one takes my proffered bait*, then I will.
Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. Or has he been done already, either by himself (Judge Posner, no doubt, presiding) or possibly in some legal omnium-gatherum volume along with Learned Hand and Brandeis and Jackson and Roscoe Pound and even a little bit of Scott on Trusts and Wigmore on Evidence and John Chipman Gray on Real Property (Restrains on the Alienation of) and...well, the whole Langdell line.
John Chipman Gray -- no, sorry, here though not above I mean John Jay Chapman. It's the perennial problem of those doubles. You know how it is when you get older. You're always confusing Marie Boroff with Max Beloff, and Alexandre Koyre with Alexandre Kojeve, and even -- but this won't happen for a few years yet -- Jean Seznec with Jean Starobinski. It just happens. Nothing to be done but grin and bear it. Anyway, as I was saying -- John Jay Chapman.
And did they do Nathanael West yet? I can't remember. If not, then now's the time.
Historians: not individual volumes, perhaps, but a 19th century sampler with Fiske and Bancroft and Hay, and then an accompanying 20th-century volume, with Beard and Becker and Parrington and Perry Miller and Morgan and Handlin and Bailyn and.. well, just a bit of each.
Ambrose Bierce -- does he rate a volume? Or should he be included in a volume on 19th century humorists of the sub-Twain (just below the Mississippi steamer's Plimsoll line) variety, along with less known figures, including Bill Nye in the West and James Russell Lowell's dialect (Yawcob Strauss) verse, and others who need to be memorialized. Or has that too been done?
Famous environmentalists if they too don't have separate volumes: John Muir to Aldo Leopold to Rachel Carson right up to the grim present, where everything has come true, and with a vengeance.
Letters by those whose chief claim is their correspondence with the great. Think of all those large houses, from Oyster Bay to Kennebunkport, that contain the two-volumed "Letters of Walter Hines Page" and also those of Colonel House to Woodrow Wilson, or if the libraries were continuously stocked, then the Holmes-Laski Letters (those more likely to be found on Martha's Vineyard than in Maine). Why not collect the best, and put them together in companion volumes of Eighteenth Century, Nineteenth Century, and Twentieth Century Epistolary Prose?
Medicine: a similar collection of major papers up to about 1920, when the literature may become too technical. Start with Benjamin Rush on smallpox and go on to a description of the first use of ether by Morton at what is now called the Ether Dome at the Mass. General, then right up to the quinine-treated malaria at the Panama Canal. Lots of doctors and doctor's wives will buy it, and specialized courses in "Science Writing" are all the rage in "Writing Across the Curriculum Courses" from metallic MIT to the greenswards of Berkeley.
That's enough for now. Time for a walk. It's not going to stay warm much longer, you know. Then again, perhaps it's going to stay much warmer, much much longer. But just for today, please, read New English Review, trust in God, and take short views.
*A bait on purpose laid to make the taker mad.