"[T]he concept of failure as something that defines your whole identity is a new thing. In terms of language, it doesn't exist at all before the Civil War: you will not find a sentence like 'I feel like a failure' in American writing before 1860. [...] [F]rom 1820 through the Civil War, or thereabouts, failure was used to describe people who met economic catastrophe, but the construction was, 'I made a failure,' rather than, 'I am a failure.' It was an event that could be discrete, without touching upon one's moral and existential being."
--Scott A. Sandage, Sina Najafi and David Serlin, "The Invention of Failure: An Interview with Scott A. Sandage," Cabinet, no. 7, (Summer 2002)