By Robert Dawidoff
Asking why many American intellectuals have had such trouble accepting wholeheartedly the cultural dimensions of democracy, Robert Dawidoff examines their alienation and ambivalence, a convention of detachment he identifies as "Tocquevillian." within the paintings of 3 towering American literary figures - Henry Adams, Henry James, and George Santayana -- Dawidoff explores absolutely this distancing and uneasy reaction to democratic culture.
Linked jointly through universal Harvard, Cambridge, and New England connections, and through an upper-class, Brahmin historical past, every one of those 3 writers, Dawidoff argues, used to be straight away self-critical and contemptuous of cultural democracy -- specially its indifference to them and what they represented. yet their claims to indifferent remark of democratic tradition has to be considered skeptically, Dawidoff warns, and borrowed with caution.
An vital contribution of the ebook is its integration of homosexual matters into American highbrow historical past. Viewing James's and Santayana's attitudes towards their homosexuality as affecting their perspectives of yank society, Dawidoff examines this crucial and missed point within the American highbrow and cultural combine. Dawidoff additionally contains strong 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 turns out to have fallen over the observe democracy. "It isn't encountered anymore in humanistic studies," he says, " snubbed in prefer of gender, category, race, region." This development, he says, should be partially as a result of an unease approximately studying the tradition during which we take part as the posture of the cutural critic implies a undeniable detachment. "The Genteel culture and the Sacred Rage returns the query of democracy to centerstage," he concludes, "not as political concept on my own yet as cultural and private experience."
Originally released in 1992.
A UNC Press Enduring variation -- UNC Press Enduring variations use the most recent in electronic know-how to make to be had back books from our distinct backlist that have been formerly out of print. those versions are released unaltered from the unique, and are offered in cheap paperback codecs, bringing readers either old and cultural value.