What emerges when we look beyond the often self-assured cosmopolitan circulation of Americans abroad such as Mary Cassatt, John Singer Sargent, and James McNeill Whistler, is a larger identity construction that frequently performed cultural innocence. American artists, writers, and travelers sought to turn the liability of lacking a culture and tradition into the asset of allowing for unencumbered experience and being unaffected by the weight of history. In turn, notions of cultural innocence and belatedness that appear in late nineteenth and early twentieth century Franco-American exchange have resonances into the twentieth century, and even into the contemporary moment.
The January 2013 issue of PMLA has a pretty cool article ("Whitman's Children") by Bowdoin College English Professor Peter Coviello that takes as its starting point a couple of babies born after the U.S. Civil War that were named Walt—a nominal tribute that two veterans paid to Walt Whitman after receiving Whitman's care during the war.
Torturing Writers in the Name of G.W. Bush
George W. Bush called Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili a “Beacon of Democracy” of the new world in 2005. Saakashvili had always supported the Iraq War and all other wars and has even started his own war with Russia. George Bush was trying to help him, and Saakashvili returned a favor. He has named a street after Mr. Bush.