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Other titles in the Cultural Studies of the United States series:

The Genteel Tradition and the Sacred Rage

The Genteel Tradition and the Sacred Rage Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Asking why many American intellectuals have had such difficulty accepting wholeheartedly the cultural dimensions of democracy, Robert Dawidoff examines their alienation and ambivalence, a tradition of detachment he identifies as "Tocquevillian." In the work of three towering American literary figures - Henry Adams, Henry James, and George Santayana — Dawidoff explores fully this distancing and uneasy response to democratic culture.

Linked together by common Harvard, Cambridge, and New England connections, and by an upper-class, Brahmin background, each of these three writers, Dawidoff argues, was at once self-critical and contemptuous of cultural democracy — especially its indifference to them and what they represented. But their claims to detached observation of democratic culture must be viewed skeptically, Dawidoff warns, and borrowed with caution.

An important contribution of the book is its integration of gay issues into American intellectual history. Viewing James's and Santayana's attitudes toward their homosexuality as affecting their views of American society, Dawidoff examines this significant and overlooked element in the American intellectual and cultural mix. Dawidoff also includes powerful new readings of Adams's Democracy and James's The Ambassadors and discusses Santayana's Americanist essays.

In his foreward, Alan Trachtenberg notes the "taboo" that seems to have fallen over the word democracy. "It is rarely encountered anymore in humanistic studies," he says, " snubbed in favor of gender, class, race, region." This trend, he says, may be in part due to an unease about studying the culture in which we participate because the posture of the cutural critic implies a certain detachment. "The Genteel Tradition and the Sacred Rage returns the question of democracy to centerstage," he concludes, "not as political theory alone but as cultural and personal experience."

A UNC Press Enduring Edition — UNC Press Enduring Editions use the latest in digital technology to make available again books from our distinguished backlist that were previously out of print. These editions are published unaltered from the original, and are presented in affordable paperback formats, bringing readers both historical and cultural value.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780807857298
Publisher:
University of North Carolina Press
Subject:
United States - General
Author:
Dawidoff, Robert
Subject:
Tocquevillian
Subject:
Henry Adams
Subject:
Henry James
Subject:
George Santayana
Subject:
Democracy
Subject:
The Ambassadors
Subject:
Americanist essays
Subject:
Literary Criticism : General
Subject:
Amer
Subject:
icanist essays
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Publication Date:
20100931
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Language:
English
Pages:
248
Dimensions:
9.25 x 6 in

Related Subjects

History and Social Science » US History » General
Humanities » Literary Criticism » General

The Genteel Tradition and the Sacred Rage
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Product details 248 pages University of North Carolina Press - English 9780807857298 Reviews:
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