NewsNovember 29, 2010 04:34 PM
Hitchens On the Worthless Washington Novel
Washington novels are terrible, as you maybe noticed if you've ever mistakenly picked up a novel about Washington. Christopher Hitchens has some theories:
Can one imagine a Dickens without London or a Zola or Flaubert without Paris? The radix malorum can probably be found in the famous bargain between Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton, made when New York was still the capital of these United States. In exchange for an agreement to build the constitutionally mandated new Federal City on the border of Jefferson’s beloved Virginia, Hamilton could have his coveted national bank. Thus, and allowing for certain Philadelphian interludes, it was decided early on that the cultural capital of America would be separated from its political one. Other countries that have made similar two-headed arrangements include Australia, Brazil, Burma, and Canada: we yet await the Brasilia or Canberra novel.