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I think I might have a title...now I need a book
07-13-2012, 01:13 PM
Post: #1
I think I might have a title...now I need a book
As it's far easier to come up with a title then it is to write a book, I have been avoiding working on the tome by making up a smash of a title. I thought about Carl Sandburg Vampire Hunter, but then I quit drinking and the thought went away.

Seriously, I'm in the process of putting together a book proposal and I have to come up with a better title than the working one I have now, which is The Poet and the Historians: Carl Sandburg's Struggle to Tell Lincoln's Story (boring!!!). Many books about Sandburg use "The Poet" and something, so I've been looking for something which will encapsulate what I'm trying to get across, which is to fairly consider Sandburg's reputation, one must look at his lifetime of studying Lincoln and not just The Prairie Years and The War Years.

Going through Ida Tarbell's papers, I found what I think might fit the bill. In a letter she wrote to Col. Edward M. House, Tarbell quoted a comment attributed to Lincoln after he issued the Emancipation Proclamation and it immediately jumped out at me.

The title for my book will be Long on a Chase: Carl Sandburg's Pursuit of Abraham Lincoln.

It comes from a statement Lincoln supposedly made to New York Governor Edwin D. Morgan. He said "I do not agree with those who say that slavery is dead. We are like whalers who have been long on a chase — we have at last got the harpoon into the monster, but we must now look how we steer, or, with one 'flop' of his tail, he will yet send us all to eternity." Interestingly, it appeared in Lincoln Talks by Emmanuel Hertz and gets a "D" (meaning it probably wasn't said by Lincoln) in Don Fehrenbacher's Recollected Words of Abraham Lincoln.

So what do you all think? Good title?

Best
Rob

Abraham Lincoln in the only man, dead or alive, with whom I could have spent five years without one hour of boredom.
--Ida M. Tarbell

I want the respect of intelligent men, but I will choose for myself the intelligent.
--Carl Sandburg
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07-13-2012, 03:17 PM
Post: #2
RE: I think I might have a title...now I need a book
(07-13-2012 01:13 PM)Rob Wick Wrote:  As it's far easier to come up with a title then it is to write a book, I have been avoiding working on the tome by making up a smash of a title. I thought about Carl Sandburg Vampire Hunter, but then I quit drinking and the thought went away.

Seriously, I'm in the process of putting together a book proposal and I have to come up with a better title than the working one I have now, which is The Poet and the Historians: Carl Sandburg's Struggle to Tell Lincoln's Story (boring!!!). Many books about Sandburg use "The Poet" and something, so I've been looking for something which will encapsulate what I'm trying to get across, which is to fairly consider Sandburg's reputation, one must look at his lifetime of studying Lincoln and not just The Prairie Years and The War Years.

Going through Ida Tarbell's papers, I found what I think might fit the bill. In a letter she wrote to Col. Edward M. House, Tarbell quoted a comment attributed to Lincoln after he issued the Emancipation Proclamation and it immediately jumped out at me.

The title for my book will be Long on a Chase: Carl Sandburg's Pursuit of Abraham Lincoln.

It comes from a statement Lincoln supposedly made to New York Governor Edwin D. Morgan. He said "I do not agree with those who say that slavery is dead. We are like whalers who have been long on a chase — we have at last got the harpoon into the monster, but we must now look how we steer, or, with one 'flop' of his tail, he will yet send us all to eternity." Interestingly, it appeared in Lincoln Talks by Emmanuel Hertz and gets a "D" (meaning it probably wasn't said by Lincoln) in Don Fehrenbacher's Recollected Words of Abraham Lincoln.

So what do you all think? Good title?

Best
Rob

Rob,
This is a tough one. Although many came before Carl Sandburg--Coffin, Holland, Hay & Nicolay, Herndon & Weik, Tarbell, et al, I fell that Sandburg initially put Lincoln into the hands of the people more than any other biographers. Even though his bioragphy contains, perhaps, a little more apocrypha than others, his writing (the poetry of it, e.g.) made Lincoln come alive in the pages of the 6 volumes or even in the one-volume edition.
My only problem with the title you propose is the possibility that Lincoln did not utter those words. But I like the thought embodied in the title because Sandburg's work was a pursuit of Lincoln.
Again, I am very excited about you work!!
Joe
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07-13-2012, 03:42 PM
Post: #3
RE: I think I might have a title...now I need a book
Thanks for your kind words Joe.

You're probably right that using a disputed quote might not be the best, but in another way I think it embodies perfectly what Sandburg did, i.e., while he may have gotten some of the cold, hard, provable facts wrong, he still came closer than many to giving us a true picture of who Lincoln was, especially in the eyes of the people. Using a quote that is in dispute kind of pays a homage to Sandburg, who, after all, was more interested in painting a living picture of a man so important to our country even 200 years after his death than writing a monograph.

H.L. Mencken once wrote of Abraham Lincoln: The Prairie Years "Are the facts all respected? Is the narrative satisfactory to the professors of Lincolnology? To hell with the professors of Lincolnology."

Best
Rob

Abraham Lincoln in the only man, dead or alive, with whom I could have spent five years without one hour of boredom.
--Ida M. Tarbell

I want the respect of intelligent men, but I will choose for myself the intelligent.
--Carl Sandburg
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07-13-2012, 10:22 PM
Post: #4
RE: I think I might have a title...now I need a book
(07-13-2012 01:13 PM)Rob Wick Wrote:  As it's far easier to come up with a title then it is to write a book, I have been avoiding working on the tome by making up a smash of a title. I thought about Carl Sandburg Vampire Hunter, but then I quit drinking and the thought went away.

Seriously, I'm in the process of putting together a book proposal and I have to come up with a better title than the working one I have now, which is The Poet and the Historians: Carl Sandburg's Struggle to Tell Lincoln's Story (boring!!!). Many books about Sandburg use "The Poet" and something, so I've been looking for something which will encapsulate what I'm trying to get across, which is to fairly consider Sandburg's reputation, one must look at his lifetime of studying Lincoln and not just The Prairie Years and The War Years.

Going through Ida Tarbell's papers, I found what I think might fit the bill. In a letter she wrote to Col. Edward M. House, Tarbell quoted a comment attributed to Lincoln after he issued the Emancipation Proclamation and it immediately jumped out at me.

The title for my book will be Long on a Chase: Carl Sandburg's Pursuit of Abraham Lincoln.

It comes from a statement Lincoln supposedly made to New York Governor Edwin D. Morgan. He said "I do not agree with those who say that slavery is dead. We are like whalers who have been long on a chase — we have at last got the harpoon into the monster, but we must now look how we steer, or, with one 'flop' of his tail, he will yet send us all to eternity." Interestingly, it appeared in Lincoln Talks by Emmanuel Hertz and gets a "D" (meaning it probably wasn't said by Lincoln) in Don Fehrenbacher's Recollected Words of Abraham Lincoln.

So what do you all think? Good title?

Best
Rob

Rob,

That title does have a good ring to it. I look forward to reading it.

Craig
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07-14-2012, 04:46 AM
Post: #5
RE: I think I might have a title...now I need a book
Rob, I noticed your mention of Emmanuel Hertz in a previous post. I am curious how you feel about him with all the reading you do that is Lincoln-related.

For example, Paul Angle called Hertz' work "fraudulent" and "worse than useless."

What is your opinion? Did Angle take it too far, or did he hit the nail on the head? Rob, what do you think?
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07-14-2012, 07:16 AM
Post: #6
RE: I think I might have a title...now I need a book
Roger,

I think Angle pretty well was spot-on. Hertz's work was pretty well useless. When the Mississippi Valley Historical Review wanted someone to review Sandburg's The War Years, they commissioned Hertz to do it. I'm at work now so I don't have access to my papers, but the correspondence between Angle and Randall and Angle and Sandburg is pretty telling. When I get home this evening, i will post their letters.

But as a short answer, I would say Hertz was even worse than Eisenschiml (and you all know how I feel about ol' Otto).

Best
Rob

Abraham Lincoln in the only man, dead or alive, with whom I could have spent five years without one hour of boredom.
--Ida M. Tarbell

I want the respect of intelligent men, but I will choose for myself the intelligent.
--Carl Sandburg
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07-14-2012, 09:14 PM
Post: #7
RE: I think I might have a title...now I need a book
I got too engrossed in Ida Tarbell's papers, and I completely forgot about Hertz. Here is what I wrote about Hertz reviewing The War Years.

Angle fired off a letter to Sandburg, which prompted Sandburg to quip “The news that little Manny is executing gyrations in a journal of professional historians is not astonishing tho it is slightly surprising. That this journal should pan THE WAR YEARS as it likewise did THE PRAIRIE YEARS is not so peculiar. But that an irresponsible reprobate, so widely known as such, should do the job, is one more laugh in this whimsical and temperamental realm of Lincolniana. That the irony of it should not occur to those responsible for it is a token and symptom of something.”
Randall told Angle he felt exactly the same way. He was shocked by “Cole’s somewhat amazing selection of Hertz to review Sandburg.” In an attempt to rationalize Cole’s decision, Randall wrote “Sandburg himself being no scholar, he does not rate being reviewed by a scholar; ergo Hertz might as well be chosen as anybody. Of course this is hooey. I simply cannot understand Cole’s action.”


Best
Rob

Abraham Lincoln in the only man, dead or alive, with whom I could have spent five years without one hour of boredom.
--Ida M. Tarbell

I want the respect of intelligent men, but I will choose for myself the intelligent.
--Carl Sandburg
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07-17-2012, 12:44 PM
Post: #8
RE: I think I might have a title...now I need a book
I like the proposed title for the book. I'm wondering if the word "Chase" in the title might be problematic as some might think it a reference to Mr: Chase? Just a thought...

Bill Nash
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07-17-2012, 05:48 PM
Post: #9
RE: I think I might have a title...now I need a book
May be, Bill, but I think it's a chance I'm going to take. Of course, the publisher, whomever that may be, will have a say in it as well, I'm sure.

Best
Rob

Abraham Lincoln in the only man, dead or alive, with whom I could have spent five years without one hour of boredom.
--Ida M. Tarbell

I want the respect of intelligent men, but I will choose for myself the intelligent.
--Carl Sandburg
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07-17-2012, 06:25 PM
Post: #10
RE: I think I might have a title...now I need a book
Fido likes "Carl Sandburg - Capturing the Spirit of Lincoln" for your title

So when is this "Old Enough To Know Better" supposed to kick in?
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07-17-2012, 06:35 PM
Post: #11
RE: I think I might have a title...now I need a book
Gene: You've gone to the dogs-and boy he sure is smart!

Bill Nash
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07-17-2012, 08:24 PM
Post: #12
RE: I think I might have a title...now I need a book
(07-17-2012 06:25 PM)Gene C Wrote:  Fido likes "Carl Sandburg - Capturing the Spirit of Lincoln" for your title

Yeah, but scratch him behind the ears and he'll say anything.Big Grin

Best
Rob

Abraham Lincoln in the only man, dead or alive, with whom I could have spent five years without one hour of boredom.
--Ida M. Tarbell

I want the respect of intelligent men, but I will choose for myself the intelligent.
--Carl Sandburg
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07-29-2012, 10:24 AM
Post: #13
RE: I think I might have a title...now I need a book
Rob: any thoughts on what was Sandburg's motivation to write his volume on Mary Lincoln? Do you think it was a "natural" thing to do given his work on Lincoln? How was and is the book considered by scholars? Was Sandburg happy with it? Lots of questions, I know. Don't mean to bug you!

Bill Nash
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07-29-2012, 11:31 AM (This post was last modified: 07-29-2012 11:31 AM by Rob Wick.)
Post: #14
RE: I think I might have a title...now I need a book
Bill,

Not a problem. To be honest, I haven't started looking too deeply into Mary Lincoln: Wife and Widow, although I imagine that Sandburg probably felt a biography was needed. What I find interesting about this is that Paul Angle, who collected the documents that make up the second half of the book, was willing, even eager, to work with Sandburg despite Sandburg's role in the Wilma Minor affair. Sandburg at first believed the Minor letters to be genuine, although Angle proved they were frauds, making Sandburg look (rightfully) silly. Angle remained a lifelong friend of Sandburg.

Most critics, I think, were generally favorable to it, although I have found a review by a man named Benjamin Stolberg who thought Angle's part was fine, but said that Sandburg lacked knowledge of psychiatry, which he said was necessary for anyone to write her life's story. That rankled Sandburg, who mentioned it to Alfred Harcourt in a letter a few years later.

Sandburg's biographer, Penelope Niven, doesn't really go into much detail about the book. By the way, I would strongly urge anyone interested in Sandburg to find a copy of Niven's biography. Mine, as you can see, is well-thumbed.
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Best
Rob

Abraham Lincoln in the only man, dead or alive, with whom I could have spent five years without one hour of boredom.
--Ida M. Tarbell

I want the respect of intelligent men, but I will choose for myself the intelligent.
--Carl Sandburg
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07-29-2012, 02:15 PM
Post: #15
RE: I think I might have a title...now I need a book
Rob: thank you. I plan purchasing the Sandburg biography now!

Bill Nash
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