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Pilot & the Passenger: Essays on Literature, Technology, & Culture in the United States
Synopses & Reviews
Leo Marx is one of the major critics of American culture, technology, and literature, and his widely influential The Machine in the Garden (Oxford, 1964) is a classic of American literary criticism. In The Pilot and the Passenger, he brings together essays written over four decades that explore the interplay among literature, technology, and political ideology in the United States. Grouping the essays into three sections, Marx first examines major American writers, providing brilliant analyses of Melville, Thoreau, Twain, and Frost, which reveal the ways in which these writers defined the conflicts of our culture. The second section considers the larger controversies generated by science, technology, and urban industrialism. Marx concludes with a thought-provoking section on modern criticism, including a moving reminiscence of F.O. Matthiessen and a study of Susan Sontag's account of the Vietnam War, in which Marx analyzes the incompatible mix of pastoral and revolutionary fantasies that characterized the New Left of the 1960s. A provocative and insightful contribution to American studies, this book elucidates some of the chief paradoxes and conflicts that define the special quality of America's literature, politics, and people.
For over forty years, Leo Marx has studied American culture as a dialectical process, a fruitful contest between conflicting ways of seeing the world and expressing its meaning. The Pilot and the Passenger, a collection of essays spanning Marx's career, explores the meaning of this contest as it makes itself felt in America's literature, technology, and cultural politics.
Marx first examines such major writers as Melville, Thoreau, Mark Twain, and Frost, revealing how each responded to the contraries of American culture. He then considers certain larger controversies generated by science, technology, and urban industrialism. He concludes with a section on modern criticism, including a moving reminiscence of F.O. Matthiessen and a study of Susan Sontag's account of the Vietnam War.
About the Author
About the Author:
Leo Marx is William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor of American Cultural History in the Program in Science, Technology, and Society at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
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