Selected and Edited with an Introduction by John Erskine
ecome less and less able to communicate that sympathy to his students. The difficulties are so great that it has taken me many years even to partly guess how great they are. That they can be removed at the present day is utterly out of the question. But something may be gained by stating them even imperfectly. At the risk of making blunders and uttering extravagances, I shall make the attempt. I am impelled to do so by a recent conversation with one of the cleverest students that I ever had, who acknowledged his total inability to understand some of the commonest facts in Western life,--all those facts relating, directly or indirectly, to the position of woman in Western literature as reflecting Western life.
Let us clear the ground it once by putting down some facts in the plainest and lowest terms possible. You must try to imagine a country in which the place of the highest virtue is occupied, so to speak, by the devotion of sex to sex. The highest duty of the man is not to his father, but to his wife; a