I’ve been working too hard to post as much as usual lately, but one of my favorite bloggers did a post on Abraham Lincoln earlier today that I thought was worth passing on. Here it is:
Adam Gopnik has a really interesting essay in this week’s New Yorker on Abraham Lincoln (which is, shockingly, available on-line). He begins with the question of whether Edwin Stanton said, at Lincoln’s deathbed, “Now he belongs to the ages”–the version Gopnik remembered–or “Now he belongs to the angels”–the version he came across in James Swanson’s recent book about the manhunt for John Wilkes Booth. He went on to read a bunch of other stuff on Lincoln and reports on what he finds.
The essay is a thoughtful piece of detective work, a wonderful assessment of LIncoln’s character (he considers, for example, the effect of his small-town lawyering on his political instincts, and his interest in Shakespeare), and a thoughtful meditation on history. Read it all, as the bloggers say.
But in the meantime, a couple of tidbits to tide you over. In describing his first reaction to the Swanson version of Stanton’s memorable epitaph, he references one of the high points of modern British comedic filmmaking:
Now he belongs to the angels? Where had that come from? There was a Monty Python element here (