Plucked from one of Delbanco’s essays.

In 1912, Owen Johnson’s enduringly popular novel (most recently reprinted in 2003) Stover at Yale gave a picture of Ivy life as a gladiatorial contest among alpha males who, by beating out their rivals for a spot on the team or in the club, learned to achieve “victory…on the broken hopes of a comrade,” and went on to rule the nation.

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