F.O. Matthiessen concludes his introduction to American Renaissance with a quotation from Louis Sullivan that sets forth Matthiessen's own view of the function and significance of the American scholar. "True scholarship," declared Sullivan, "is of the highest usefulness because it implies the possession and application of the highest type of thought, imagination, and sympathy." For Matthiessen as for Sullivan that last quality, sympathy, was a decisive ingredient, because it leads the "true" scholar to fulfill himself in service to his fellow men.
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