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The American Adam

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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Intellectual history is viewed in this book as a series of "great conversations"—dramatic dialogues in which a culture's spokesmen wrestle with the leading questions of their times. In nineteenth-century America the great argument centered about De Crèvecoeur's "new man," the American, an innocent Adam in a bright new world dissociating himself from the historic past. Mr. Lewis reveals this vital preoccupation as a pervasive, transforming ingredient of the American mind, illuminating history and theology as well as art, shaping the consciousness of lesser thinkers as fully as it shaped the giants of the age. He traces the Adamic theme in the writings of Emerson, Thoreau, Hawthorne, Melville, Henry James, and others, and in an Epilogue he exposes their continuing spirit in the works of F. Scott Fitzgerald, William Faulkner, Ralph Ellison, J. D. Salinger, and Saul Bellow.

About the Author

R. W. B. Lewis is professor emeritus of English and American Studies at Yale University.

Table of Contents

Prologue: The Myth and the Dialogue

I. The Danger of Innocence

1. The Case against the Past

2. The New Adam: Holmes and Whitman

3. The Fortunate Fall: The Elder James and Horace Bushnell

II. The Narrative Image

4. The Fable of the Critics

5. The Hero in Space: Brown, Cooper, Bird

6. The Return into Time: Hawthorne

7. Melville: The Apotheosis of Adam

III. The Past and the Perfect

8. The Function of History: Bancroft and Parkman

9. The Real Presence: Parker and Brownson

Epilogue: The Contemporary Situation

Adam as Hero in the Age of Containment

Index

Product Details

ISBN:
9780226476810
Author:
Lewis, R. W. B.
Author:
Lewis, Richard W.
Author:
Lewis, R. W. B.
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
Subject:
American
Subject:
American - General
Subject:
United States - General
Subject:
Intellectual life
Subject:
American literature
Subject:
Literary Criticism : General
Edition Description:
Paperback
Publication Date:
19590931
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
Professional and scholarly
Language:
English
Pages:
208
Dimensions:
8.01x5.28x.47 in. .50 lbs.

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Related Subjects

History and Social Science » Literary History » United States » 18th and 19th Century
Humanities » Literary Criticism » General

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