Reluctant Modernism American Thought and Culture 1880 1900 Twayne's American Thought and Culture Series



❮KINDLE❯ ❅ Reluctant Modernism American Thought and Culture 1880 1900 Twayne's American Thought and Culture Series Author George Cotkin – E17streets4all.co.uk In the last two decades of the nineteenth century Americans were faced with the challenges and uncertainties of a new era The comfortable Victorian values of continuity progress and order clashed with In the last two decades of the nineteenth American Thought ePUB ☆ century Americans were faced with Reluctant Modernism PDF/EPUB ² the challenges and uncertainties of a new era The comfortable Victorian values of continuity Modernism American Thought PDF/EPUB ¿ progress and order clashed with the unsettling modern notions of constant change relative truth Modernism American Thought and Culture MOBI :ò and chaos Attempting to embrace the intellectual challenges of modernism American thinkers of the day were yet reluctant to welcome the wholesale rejection of the past and destruction of traditional values In Reluctant Modernism American Thought and Culture George Cotkin surveys the intellectual life of this crucial transitional period His story begins with the Darwinian controversies since the mainstream of American culture was just beginning to come to grips with the implications of the Origins of Species published in Cotkin demonstrates the effects of this shift in thinking on philosophy anthropology and the newly developing field of psychology Drawing on his extensive knowledge of these fields he explains clearly and concisely the essential tenets of such major thinkers and writers as William James Franz Boas Charlotte Perkins Gilman Henry Adams and Kate Chopin Throughout this fascinating readable history of the American fin de siecle run the contrasting themes of continuity and change faith and rationalism despair over the meaninglessness of life and ultimately a guarded optimism about the future.Reluctant Modernism American Thought and Culture 1880 1900 Twayne's American Thought and Culture Series

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Reluctant Modernism American Thought and Culture 1880 1900
  • Paperback
  • 204 pages
  • Reluctant Modernism American Thought and Culture 1880 1900 Twayne's American Thought and Culture Series
  • George Cotkin
  • English
  • 19 April 2014
  • 9780805790597

13 thoughts on “Reluctant Modernism American Thought and Culture 1880 1900 Twayne's American Thought and Culture Series

  1. says:

    This volume the fourth in the Twayne Modern American Thought and Culture series edited by Lewis Perry and Howard Brick looks at American intellectual history from 1880 1900 Cotkin covers this ground adeptly and even handedly from the pervasive influence of Darwinism on practically every area of human endeavor of the time to the ambiguous place of the woman in intellectual life The book has its weak points which I will mention at the end The first part of the book is the best and offers some of the clearest insights though Cotkin never really does get to the heart of the matter in attempting to define what modernism actually is for him He uses the metaphor of a “tangled bank” – the same one that Darwin used in another context to describe nature The themes are familiar ones how our subjects are continually buffeted to and fro between moribund Victorianism and the new ambiguous uestioning modernism Cotkin does a superb job of detailing how far reaching are the ideas of progress often espoused in the guise of Darwinism Even the leading liberal religious thinkers of the time – Henry Ward Beecher Newman Smyth Octavius Brooks Frothingham – co opted the idea of progress to create a theology that ministered to the particularly Victorian not modern worldview Former orthodoxy started to become laced with aspects of rationalism but not necessarily for the scientific pretense it provided; in fact often than not this aspect of religious thought devolved into a calming anodyne for the complacent middle class an appeal to their fetishization of progress He covers Pragmatism that fresh American philosophical tradition very well including how its professionalization also led to the development of psychology as its own academic discipline Even in the realm of psychology the freedom versus determinism debate comes up again with William Graham Sumner firmly on the side of passively accepting Nature’s laws while William James suggests there is room for human volitionIn one chapter Cotkin does a fine job in detailing the perhaps not terribly surprising extent to which racism dominated the fields of academic anthropology and ethnology Lewis Henry Morgan’s work with the Irouois and John Wesley Powell’s involvement with the US Geological Survey are also indicative of the search for parallelism order and logic that Cotkin has already illustrated Naïve optimism was not relegated to the middle class however As James C Wellington of Columbian College said “There is a limitless vista opened though not an absolutely unlimited one for the prospective working of better laws purer justice wiser economics richer science and higher morality” By the end of the century as the influence of Franz Boas grew anthropology began to slowly slough off its former assumptions and found that “the contextual understanding of culture was complex and inexact” The second half of the book provides information that is just as interesting but much derivative I was introduced to some new names – Frances Benjamin Johnston and Gertrude Kasebier – but the background story has been told much effectively elsewhere In the closing chapters Cotkin touches on the growth of American consumerism and gives a few uick and insightful sketches of Stephen Crane Louis Sullivan Thorstein Veblen and Edgar Saltus For an undergraduate student who is looking for a uick overview of the reigning ideas of the time this book is perfectly sufficient The first half is worth reading all the way through for the interesting undercurrents of rationalism and progress Cotkin develops but the second half should serve mostly as biographical reference material

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