Owen Johnson


Born
in New York, N.Y., The United States
August 27, 1878

Died
January 27, 1952

Genre


Average rating: 3.94 · 201 ratings · 30 reviews · 44 distinct works
The Lawrenceville Stories

4.27 avg rating — 45 ratings — published 1967 — 3 editions
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Stover at Yale

3.69 avg rating — 54 ratings — published 1912 — 27 editions
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The Prodigious Hickey: A La...

4.38 avg rating — 13 ratings — published 1909 — 17 editions
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The Tennessee Shad: Chronic...

4.56 avg rating — 9 ratings — published 1911 — 12 editions
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The Varmint;

4.21 avg rating — 14 ratings — published 1910 — 23 editions
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The Salamander

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3.50 avg rating — 8 ratings — published 1914 — 19 editions
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The Humming Bird

it was amazing 5.00 avg rating — 2 ratings — published 1910 — 10 editions
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The Wasted Generation

it was amazing 5.00 avg rating — 1 rating — published 1921 — 11 editions
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Making Money

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3.67 avg rating — 3 ratings — published 1915 — 29 editions
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Skippy Bedelle: His Sentime...

really liked it 4.00 avg rating — 3 ratings — published 1922 — 19 editions
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More books by Owen Johnson…
“Brockhurst, the champion of individualism, was soon launched on his favorite topic.

"The great fault of the American nation, which is the fault of republics, is the reduction of everything to the average. Our universities are simply the expression of the forces that are operating outside. We are business colleges purely and simply, because we as a nation have only one ideal—the business ideal."

"That's a big statement," said Regan.

"It's true. Twenty years ago we had the ideal of the lawyer, of the doctor, of the statesman, of the gentleman, of the man of letters, of the soldier. Now the lawyer is simply a supernumerary enlisting under any banner for pay; the doctor is overshadowed by the specialist with his business development of the possibilities of the rich; we have politicians, and politics are deemed impossible for a gentleman; the gentleman cultured, simple, hospitable, and kind, is of the dying generation; the soldier is simply on parade."

"Wow!" said Ricketts, jingling his chips. "They're off."

"Everything has conformed to business, everything has been made to pay. Art is now a respectable career—to whom? To the business man. Why? Because a profession that is paid $3,000 to $5,000 a portrait is no longer an art, but a blamed good business. The man who cooks up his novel according to the weakness of his public sells a hundred thousand copies. Dime novel? No; published by our most conservative publishers—one of our leading citizens. He has found out that scribbling is a new field of business. He has convinced the business man. He has made it pay.”
Owen Johnson, Stover at Yale

“Dink, my boy, I'll be a millionaire in ten years. You know what I'm figuring out all this time? I'm going at this scientifically. I'm figuring out the number of fools there are on the top of this globe, classifying 'em, looking out what they want to be fooled on. I'm making an exact science of it."

"Go on," said Dink, amused and perplexed, for he was trying to distinguish the serious and the humorous.

"What's the principle of a patent medicine?—advertise first, then concoct your medicine. All the science of Foolology is: first, find something all the fools love and enjoy, tell them it's wrong, hammer it into them, give them a substitute and sit back, chuckle, and shovel away the ducats. Bread's wrong, coffee's wrong, beer's wrong. Why, Dink, in the next twenty years all the fools will be feeding on substitutes for everything they want; no salt—denatured sugar—anti-tea—oiloline—peanut butter—whale's milk—et cetera, et ceteray, and blessing the name of the fool-master who fooled them.”
Owen Johnson, Stover at Yale

“What would be the natural thing? A man goes to college. He works as he wants to work, he plays as he wants to play, he exercises for the fun of the game, he makes friends where he wants to make them, he is held in by no fear of criticism above, for the class ahead of him has nothing to do with his standing in his own class. Everything he does has the one vital quality: it is spontaneous. That is the flame of youth itself. Now, what really exists?"

"...I say our colleges to-day are business colleges—Yale more so, perhaps, because it is more sensitively American. Let's take up any side of our life here. Begin with athletics. What has become of the natural, spontaneous joy of contest? Instead you have one of the most perfectly organized business systems for achieving a required result—success. Football is driving, slavish work; there isn't one man in twenty who gets any real pleasure out of it. Professional baseball is not more rigorously disciplined and driven than our 'amateur' teams. Add the crew and the track. Play, the fun of the thing itself, doesn't exist; and why? Because we have made a business out of it all, and the college is scoured for material, just as drummers are sent out to bring in business.

"Take another case. A man has a knack at the banjo or guitar, or has a good voice. What is the spontaneous thing? To meet with other kindred spirits in informal gatherings in one another's rooms or at the fence, according to the whim of the moment. Instead what happens? You have our university musical clubs, thoroughly professional organizations. If you are material, you must get out and begin to work for them—coach with a professional coach, make the Apollo clubs, and, working on, some day in junior year reach the varsity organization and go out on a professional tour. Again an organization conceived on business lines.

"The same is true with the competition for our papers: the struggle for existence outside in a business world is not one whit more intense than the struggle to win out in the News or Lit competition. We are like a beef trust, with every by-product organized, down to the last possibility. You come to Yale—what is said to you? 'Be natural, be spontaneous, revel in a certain freedom, enjoy a leisure you'll never get again, browse around, give your imagination a chance, see every one, rub wits with every one, get to know yourself.'

"Is that what's said? No. What are you told, instead? 'Here are twenty great machines that need new bolts and wheels. Get out and work. Work harder than the next man, who is going to try to outwork you. And, in order to succeed, work at only one thing. You don't count—everything for the college.' Regan says the colleges don't represent the nation; I say they don't even represent the individual.”
Owen Johnson, Stover at Yale

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Books on the Nigh...: An Academic/Campus Novel 16 168 Jul 05, 2015 12:39PM