Modern American literature was born in protest, born in rebellion, born out of the sense of loss and indirection which was imposed upon the new generations out of the realization that the old formal culture-the "New England idea"-could no longer serve.
What need had the businessman to scribble or philosophize when he dominated the imagination of his time and the frantic materialism that was his principle of existence had become the haunting central figure in contemporary life?
Brooklyn Heights itself is a window on the port. Here, where the perspective is fixed by the towers of Manhattan and the hills of New Jersey and Staten Island, the channels running between seem fingers of the world ocean. Here one can easily embrace the suggestion, which Whitman felt so easily, that the whole American world opens out from here, north and west.
Walking I am unbound, and find that precious unity of life and imagination, that silent outgoing self, which is so easy to loose, but which a high moments seems to start up again from the deepest rhythms of my own body. How often have I had this longing for an infinite walk - of going unimpeded, until the movement of my body as I walk fell into the flight of streets under my feet - until I in my body and the world in its skin of earth were blended into a single act of knowing.
I liked reading and working out my ideas in the midst of that endless crowd walking in and out of the (library) looking for something. I, too, was seeking fame and fortune by sitting at the end of a long golden table next to the sets of American authors on the open shelves.