The frauds of the banks I can’t, of course, help. Their infamous suspension has put me to ruinous inconvenience. These, however, are not individuals, but corporations, and corporations, it is very well known, have neither posteriors to be kicked, nor souls to be damned.
“Peter Pendulum, The Business Man” (1840)
(From The Unabridged Edgar Allan Poe, Running Press, 1983 Edition)
Actually, “Peter Pendulum” is some sort of double or triple satire, since Poe’s titular narrator is himself a horse’s ass who inadvertently reveals the truth about himself while still being very acute with the truth about the world in general. More and more, my later-in-life reading has led me to the conclusion that, between them, Cooper, Irving and Poe either invented or refined everything American writers have ever been good at. Everything since has just been a refinement of style.