When I set my new chapter-per-month schedule, I knew I'd socialize less, sleep less, watch less television—but I also knew I'd be unable to produce quality work without some dumb luck. No researching for months and months before finding the best quotation in the history of everything; I'd need critical evidence self-glomerating into compelling arguments at breakneck speed. You can understand, then, why I'm demoralized by my discovery of the isolation of New York "society" from American society at large.* You can also understand why I'm elated that Edith Wharton underlined the following passage in Haeckel's The History of Creation:
Individuals can transmit, not only those qualities which they themselves have inherited from their ancestors, but also the peculiar, individual qualities which they have acquired in their own life.
Now, underscoring is no more of an endorsement than, say, linking, but it means establishing her familiarity with the neo-Lamarckian strain of evolutionary thought will be a cinch. All I need do now is determine where she stands on these issues, and I'll be set. I'll have this thing done in no time flat. Already half-finished, it will be, sometime soon, I hope.
*The upper reaches barely even considered themselves American. Wharton wrote of her friends, "we are none of us Americans, we don't think or feel as the Americans do, we are the wretched exotics produced in a European glass house." The emphasis on "we" and use of the phrase "the Americans" point to future difficulties in establishing her take on social evolution, but as that milk's yet to be spilled, I'll save my tears for now.