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No Place of Grace : Antimodernism and the Transformation of American Culture, 1880-1920 - T. J. Jackson Lears

No Place of Grace

Antimodernism and the Transformation of American Culture, 1880-1920

Paperback Published: 1st January 1994
ISBN: 9780226469706
Number Of Pages: 400

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T. J. Jackson Lears draws on a wealth of primary sources -- sermons, diaries, letters -- as well as novels, poems, and essays to explore the origins of turn-of-the-century American antimodernism. He examines the retreat to the exotic, the pursuit of intense physical or spiritual experiences, and the search for cultural self-sufficiency through the Arts and Crafts movement. Lears argues that their antimodern impulse, more pervasive than historians have supposed, was not "simple escapism," but reveals some enduring and recurring tensions in American culture.
"It's an understatement to call "No Place of Grace" a brilliant book. . . . It's the first clear sign I've seen that my generation, after marching through the '60s and jogging through the '70s might be pausing to examine what we've learned, and to teach it."--Walter Kendrick, "Village Voice"
"One can justly make the claim that "No Place of Grace" restores and reinterprets a crucial part of American history. Lears's method is impeccable."--Ann Douglas, "The Nation"

Industry Reviews

Auspicious radical history: cogently argued, crisply written, and alive with intellectual passion - even if the facts occasionally buckle beneath Lears' enormous thesis. Lears surveys the life and work of some three-score artists, intellectuals, ministers, reformers, etc., from Brooks and Henry Adams to Edith Wharton, who around the end of the 19th century suffered from the malaise of American modernity and struggled to overcome it, In a sense these people, mostly wealthy, well-educated Northern WASPs, are Lears' fathers and mothers in the faith, since they resisted the ugliness, incoherence, brutality, and soulless rationality of a world run by and for "specialists without spirit, sensualists without heart" (Max Weber). And Lears examines, with splendid scholarly breadth, the many forms this resistance took: the American craft revival, the martial ideal, the cult of the Middle Ages, enthusiasm for Catholic art and theology and a whole assortment of "feminine" values (in protest aginst both personal Oedipal pressures and the destructive hypermasculinity of industrial society). But the ironic issue of most antimodernist activity - and this is more than Lears can completely convince us of - was "the revitalization and transformation of their class's cultural hegemony." Certainly Lears is right to connect fin de siecle aestheticism, the mind-cure movement, and the frustrated mystical impulses of figures like Laura Scudder and William Sturgis Bigelow with the later "triumph of the therapeutic"; and he effectively scores points against the antimodernist seekers of "inner experience" for "reinforcing the . . . banality they had intended to escape." But can Lears show that his band of unhappy souls, some of them quite obscure, were that important an influence? In any event he praises the (few) antimodernists who, like his hero Henry Adams, were not co-opted by the capitalist/consumerist system or fooled by the "flatulent pieties of our progressive creed" or side-tracked into the nirvana of "self-fulfillment." As Adams' writings stress, the issue was at bottom religious: how to resolve, without deceiving or dehumanizing oneself, the dialectic between the Dynamo and the Virgin? Lears will have to strengthen his case, but the young professor from the Univ. of Missouri has made a very impressive debut. (Kirkus Reviews)

Preface to the Paperback Edition
Roots of Antimodernism: The Crisis of Cultural Authority During the Late Nineteenth Century
A Pattern of Evasive Banality: Official Modern Culture in Industrial America
A Social Crisis: The Republican Tradition and the Radical Sphere
Unreal City: Social Science, Secularization, and the Emergence of Weightlessness
A Psychic Crisis: Neurasthenia and the Emergence of a Therapeutic World View
The Figure of the Artisan: Arts and Crafts Ideology
Origins of the American Craft Revival: Persons and Perceptions
Revitalization and Transformation in Arts and Crafts
Ideology: The Simple Life, Aestheticism, Educational Reform Reversing
Antimodernism: The Factory, The Market, and the Process of Rationalization
The Fate of the Craft Ideal
The Destructive Element: Modern Commercial Society and the Martial Ideal
From Domestic Realism to "Real Life" Class, Race, and the Worship of Force
The Psychological Uses of the Martial Ideal: The Cult of Experience and the Quest for Authentic Selfhood
The Psychological Uses of the Martial Ideal: Guiney, Norris, Adams
The Morning of Belief: Medieval Mentalities in a Modern World
The Image of Childhood and the Childhood of the Race Medieval
Sincerity: Genteel and Robust Medieval Vitality: The Erotic Union of Sacred and Profane
The Medieval Unconscious: Therapy and Protest
The Religion of Beauty: Catholic Forms and American Conscious ness
The Rise of Catholic Taste: Cultural Authority and Personal
Regeneration Art, Ritual, and Belief: The Protestant Dilemma American Anglo-Catholicism: Legitimation and Protest
The Poles of Anglicanism: Cram and Scudder
From Patriarchy to Nirvana: Patterns of Ambivalence
The Problem of Victorian Ambivalence: Sources and Solutions
The Lotus and the Father: Bigelow, Lowell
Bigelow Percival Lowell
Lodge Aesthetic Catholicism and "Feminine" Values: Norton, Hall, Brooks
From Filial Loyalty to Religious
Protest: Henry Adams Early Manhood: The Meandering Track of the Family Go-Cart Husband
Historian, Novelist: Adams's Crisis of Generativity
The Antimodern Quest: From Niagara to the Virgin Between Father and Mother, I: The Virgin, The Dynamo, and the Angelic Doctor Between Father and Mother, II: The Antimodern Modernist Epilogue
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780226469706
ISBN-10: 0226469700
Audience: Professional
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 400
Published: 1st January 1994
Publisher: The University of Chicago Press
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 22.86 x 15.24  x 1.91
Weight (kg): 0.54
Edition Type: New edition

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