Saturday, December 10, 2011

David McCullough

From historian David McCullough's June 2011 Q & A with Belinda Luscombe at Time magazine:

Your new book, The Greater Journey, is about a bunch of mostly artistic Americans who moved to Paris from 1830 to 1900. Why them?

We know a good deal about the time when Franklin, Adams and Jefferson were in Paris and more than a great deal about Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Gertrude Stein. My feeling was that this period brought to France a group who are among the most interesting and important figures in American life. I also feel very strongly that history ought to be seen as a great deal more than just politics and the military.

Who was your favorite character from the book?

[Sculptor] Augustus Saint-Gaudens is one of my favorite characters in my writing life. Infinitely interesting man, complicated, immensely talented and important and a great American story. An immigrant shoemaker's son, was put to work at age 13, street kid in New York who was determined to excel. Remember, there were no schools of art here, no museums. If you wanted to become an architect, you went to Paris.

How did Samuel Morse go from portrait painter, before he went to Paris, to inventor?

The fact that Morse was a brilliant painter did not mean...[read on]
--Marshal Zeringue