The Invention of Failure: An Interview With Scott A. Sandage, by Sina Najafi and David Serlin

Failure, to paraphrase Wordsworth, is too much with us; every day seems to add yet another tale of bankruptcy, romantic loss, or personal tragedy, suggesting that failure, as a concept, is a fundamental part of what used to be called the human experience. But in his forthcoming book Forgotten Men: Failure in American Culture, Scott A. Sandage, a professor of history at Carnegie Mellon University, argues that the notion of failure as something that defines one’s identity is a relatively recent invention with its roots in the entrepreneurial capitalism of 19th-century America.
http://www.cabinetmagazine.org/issues/7/inventionoffailure.php