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Thinking America
New England Intellectuals and the Varieties of American Identity
Andrew Taylor

Available only as an ebook.

Becoming Modern: New Nineteenth-Century Studies

New Hampshire
2010 • 244 pp. 6 1/8 x 9 1/4"
Literary Criticism / Cultural Studies / American Studies

$28.99 Ebook, 978-1-58465-915-0

Check your ebook retailer or local library for ebook availability.

Taylor’s discussion is complex and draws on recent developments in cultural and transnational theory. But though some will find the abstract terminology murky, most will discover meaningful contexts for notable... [continued in Reviews below]”—Choice

A penetrating literary and philosophical examination of major figures in the development of American intellectual culture, from Emerson to Santayana

In this thoughtful and wide-ranging cultural critique, Taylor explores the condition and role of the intellectual in nineteenth-century New England by examining five writers: Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, Margaret Fuller, William James, and George Santayana. Using key texts from each, he analyzes the status and identity of intellectual figures, and explores the relationship between intellectual work and theories of national identity. The questions the book raises—about the alliance between thought and action, about the best locations for intellectual work, and about the challenges posed to thinking by an increasingly fragmented and diverse public—remain pertinent today. Chronologically and geographically focused, Thinking America has wide resonance for the ongoing debates about the genealogy—and future viability—of the public intellectual.

Click here for TABLE OF CONTENTS

Reviews / Endorsements

“Taylor’s discussion is complex and draws on recent developments in cultural and transnational theory. But though some will find the abstract terminology murky, most will discover meaningful contexts for notable texts: Emerson’s English Traits, Thoreau’s ‘A Plea for Captain John Brown,’ and Fuller’s New York Tribune dispatches. . . . Recommended.”Choice

“[Taylor’s book will be valuable to scholars grappling with contradictions between alienation and inclusion, transcendence and the limits imposed by structure, particularity, and cosmopolitanism.”Journal of American History

“The implication of Taylor’s book is that the retention of idealism as a functional ideal, a useful asymptote in the striving toward which critique is produced, is essential to radical intellectual work. Transcendence thus becomes the intellectual’s ‘necessary fiction,’ a post-metaphysical epistemological and representational practice that is ‘constantly malleable and historically determined.’ Whether this framing of intellectual work provides occasion for intellectuals to recalculate their ideological and historical coordinates is the provocative question Taylor’s richly suggestive book poses to its readers.”New England Quarterly

“By focusing on the complex and quite significant discussion of the ‘public intellectual’ in recent cultural theory, Andrew Taylor has found a revealing new perspective on what we might call the Emersonian tradition in American thought. Thinking America is an original and important study of the New England intellectual tradition.”—David M. Robinson, Oregon State University, author of Emerson and the Conduct of Life

Thinking America approaches writers such as Emerson, Margaret Fuller, and William James from new directions and, in the case of Emerson particularly, offers an at times dazzling set of interpretations and readings of texts. Bringing literature and philosophy into fruitful discussion with one another, Taylor gives us a penetrating review of major figures in American culture.”—Russell Goodman, Regents Professor, Department of Philosophy, University of New Mexico

ANDREW TAYLOR is Senior Lecturer in English Literature, School of Literatures, Languages, and Cultures, University of Edinburgh.

Fri, 6 Jul 2018 13:16:01 -0500