That they pinned their hopes to endeavors that in some cases seem strangely unexalted
or obscure to us today--the origin of fossil shells, the meaning of Aztec temples, the proper manure ratios for planting turnips-- reminds us that the great undertaking of enlightenment in eighteenth-century America that seems so familiar to us today has in many ways slipped from our fingers.
As I sit here on an otherwise unexalted
Thursday afternoon, beneath a sky the color of wet papier-mache and not a hundred yards away from U.
Massachusetts Maritime Academy, Massachusetts College of Art and Design, and Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts will hold onto their unexalted
names but are also being folded into the Massachusetts State University System.
Hegel believed that, since borrowed constitutions are both unselfconscious and unexalted
, they not only are destined to fail, but are also unlikely even to cause meaningful societal change.
Ironically, but perhaps blessedly as well, the narrator is still having to revise and reinvent as he imagines how Blair's body is finally carried by ambulance to Parry's funeral chapel, a humble, unexalted
place well-known to Naipaul from his youth.
Kenneth Widmerpool's odiousness derives from his character, not his background: his unexalted
origins (his father dealt in liquid manure) are structurally necessary to accentuate his rise to power, especially insofar as it serves as a foil to Charles Stringham's rapid social descent.