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Title: Blog by Novelist William S. Frankl, MD

Crises

Lately, I suppose most Americans have been focusing on the great financial drama that is playing out across the country. To muddle up the financial crisis, we have a presidential election going on as well, and so politics are even more obvious than usual. However, it would be well to look upon all of this through the prism of history and our literature. I’ve just been re-reading Nathaniel Hawthorne’s great novel The House of the Seven Gables, published and 1851, less than a decade before the beginning of the Civil War. I’d like to quote the following from early in the novel:

“In this republican country (of course, Hawthorne is referring to the United States as a republic, not our present-day Republican Party), amid the fluctuating waves of our social life, somebody is always at the drowning-point. The tragedy is enacted with as continual a repetition as that of a popular drama on a holiday, and, nevertheless, is felt as deeply, as well as when an hereditary noble sinks below his order. More deeply; since, with us, rank is the grosser substance of wealth and a splendid establishment, and has no spiritual existence after the death of these, but dies hopelessly along with them.”

I guess what I’m attempting to say is that there’s always been a crisis around somewhere –––– personal ( as in the Hawthorne quote), local, national, or international. Some of these are worse than others, and perhaps can only be truly assessed after they end. In any event, lets hope this big one we’re now experiencing ends soon.

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