The joys of being middle class.
Dane was reading Gertrude Stein’s ‘America’ and was struck by this excerpt✵ from the intro by Gilbert A. Harrison. “My sentiments, exactly.” Is what he said.
✵Gertrude Stein came of a well-to-do, middle-class family, and for her the middle class always remained “the very best the world can ever know. In ‘Things As They Are,’ Helen asks her friend to explain what she means by calling herself middle class. “From the little I have seen of you I think that you are quite right when you say that you are reasonable and just but surely to understand others and even to understand oneself is the last thing a middle class person cares to do.” Adele (Miss Stein) replies: “I never claimed to be middle class in my intellect and in truth, I probably have the experience of all apostles, I am rejected by the class whose cause I preach but that has nothing to do with the case. I simply contend that the middle class ideal which demands that people be affectionate, respectable, honest and content, that they avoid excitements and cultivate serenity is the ideal that appeals to me, it is in short the ideal of affectionate family life, of honorable business methods.”
Serenity. What’s that?