The Incredible Shrinking. . .

William B. Greene

An observation, based on the collations I’ve been doing of Greene’s borrowings from sources such as William Beck and Edward Kellogg:

The mutual bank writings of 1849 and 1850 are full of Greene’s personal ideas, personal analyses, pet projects, etc. In 1857 he cuts a tremendous amount of stuff out, adding some new material from Beck and a commentary on the colonial land bank. What remains is largely derived, or outright lifted, from a few sources. Greene’s personal stamp is much fainter here. The 1870 edition is a little leaner still. There are some new clarifying footnotes in the 1874 Fragments, Greene’s swan song. Then the 20th century, the 1927 edition amounts to a bit over half of the 1870, again heavy on the material from Beck, Kellogg, and the land bank. The section on Proudhon is replaced with a longer piece from Solution to the Social Problem, but Greene’s commentary disappears. Then the Indian 1946 edition mixes in material not by Greene, without clear attribution. The long quote in the Wikipedia article on Greene is, though certainly clear and useful, something written by the editors in 1946.

Greene was engaged in a kind of general retirement from the time he left Brookfield on, so perhaps there is some parallel here.

About Shawn P. Wilbur 2703 Articles
Independent scholar, translator and archivist.