Transcend this dense volume, and read the works by the figures themselves. Granted this book had its moments, but for the most part, it leaves the reaTranscend this dense volume, and read the works by the figures themselves. Granted this book had its moments, but for the most part, it leaves the reader drowning in presumptive prose. This is a history the way that histories of artistic cliques play out, with a lot of gossipy in fighting and ideological feuds.....I guess thats what you pay for though. I found Dr. Gura's treatment of the the Giants namely Emerson and Thoreau rather cursory, and instead he chose to concentrate on decidedly lesser lights...I believe this to be the intention, for better or worse. The sections on the influence of German philosophy on intellectual New England were great and I was very pleased to see that so nicely elucidated... But the publication does indeed leave a lot to be desired and in the end, comes off as a bit of a micro-history. The far reaching effects past the late 19th c. are not even alluded to, let alone the 19th century religious revival known as the 2nd Great Awakening. Its barely mentioned. Furthermore Dr. Gura's writing style on occasion has a compelling briskness to it, but all too often the stream seemed more Mississippi than Merrimac and slipped into a maddeningly dense self-indulgent meandering. Trying to sex up the narrative with some John Brown near the end, does do it some justice, yet very little about the 'secret six' is even mentioned...and very little of the greater theological community of Boston is addressed. While trying to be broad, this work is narrow, and its a shame. However after I finished this book I went down to the book shop and picked up a copy of Emerson's essays ....Nature IS a language...and there's nothing like the real thing. ...more
This is a great little book which makes clear the forces at work in the era previously known as the 'Jacksonian' in American History. I would recommenThis is a great little book which makes clear the forces at work in the era previously known as the 'Jacksonian' in American History. I would recommend it to anyone who would like to read, basically the equivalent of a pamphelet when compared to the behemoth "What God Hath Wrought" -of recent popularity. This professor actually sat on the phd committee of a professor of mine at Temple, so I guess thats one degree of seperation....or two?...I don't know. Its very clear and concise, zero obfuscation here, very class conscious and evincing a burgeoning synthesis in the historical field of the 60s. See there is an example of a sentence you would never find in this book. Often I find it to be the greatest challenge for scholars to write in a clear and concise way. One wouldn't expect that to be the case, but I have found it so. Good Book...more
Bluntly stated this book seriously borders on the incoherent. The distinct entity is dead. Melville more poetically and more succinctly expressed theBluntly stated this book seriously borders on the incoherent. The distinct entity is dead. Melville more poetically and more succinctly expressed the post modern crisis of the 19th century in Moby Dick.
The passages of this work are marked by a style of obscure brevity met with cumbersome density. Symbols are not what we think they are. The book lent very little reward until I did as I thought Zarathustra would do, alas I set it down. ...more
Obfuscation be the bane of liberal arts! I don't understand why a learned person would want to make themselves difficult to understand. Perhaps its thObfuscation be the bane of liberal arts! I don't understand why a learned person would want to make themselves difficult to understand. Perhaps its the new obscurantism....a new may of taping a mystical sphere. Perhaps its as simple as human ego. Professor's want to seem so untouchabley other, that they must constuct such ivory prisons.
In any event I have only read 4 of the essays in this collection. My favorite was about the importance of narrative and Storytelling. I feel Kateb was anticipating the contemporary trend of narrative at large. Today, everyone is obsessed with narrative. One could say that its just popular cognizance of story-telling. People have symbolic associations, but they want to be told something. People are naturally pre-disposed to synthesis. more more more narrative is needed to satisfy or fulfill this disposition. Rejection or Acceptance, interest or disinterest. Very good. Additionally I think Kateb's essay on the role of aesthetics in political life is very prescient. Aesthetics can suspend morality--that is one of its most usefull aspects of the aesthetic. Willfull suspension of morality is abetted by the liniment to achieve this end, which is an aesthetic or symbolic identity.
Obfuscation and what seemed to me as the occaisional penchant for self-indulgent meandering aside, interesting ideas and suggestions are elaborated on...sometimes to better effect than others. I would like to hear this guy discuss these ideas, because they are very important indeed. ...more
This book was a tedious read. Which is unfortunate because Thomas Jefferson's economic philosophy is interesting. Frequent reference is made to the JeThis book was a tedious read. Which is unfortunate because Thomas Jefferson's economic philosophy is interesting. Frequent reference is made to the Jeffersonians but the text is quite short on direct quotes from them or even any explanation of who the Jeffersonians were....obviously they were republican politicians and members of Jefferson's Republican party, but their is very little attention paid to the concerns of those charged with the task of implementing a system of yeomanry on the local level. The true spirit of Jefferson's ideal was in the strength of local governance. Therefore I expected to come away from this book with a better understanding of the varying circumstances in the Jeffersonian/Republican world. Instead there is a lot of information about ensuing industrialization. Which is fine, and an historian should never be afraid of sounding obvious, but I must admit that I learned very little from this adumbration that I am not already familiar with. Jefferson didn't like financial/commerce and cities, centralization or the influence of these aspects of society upon its politics. The Louisiana Purchase was sought as a a guarantee on ensuring the existance of the agrarian yeomanry on into the future. The institution of Slavery undermined these assumptions. Defensive, sectional, seperatist ideals emerged as a result. If you know this, then outside the insipid detail of commercial negotiations, that is the gist of the book.
I was just expecting a more qualitative approach. Thomas Cooper and Joseph Priestly were the only fresh voices... intellectuals or philosophical agents that the reader is introduced to. Very little attention is given to other Jeffersonian Politicians. We get a little Webster, good deal of old Hamilton and quite a lot of Madison and Jefferson. I was disappointed primarily because I was expecting to be drawn into the world of the early republic. I wanted to hear about the personalities and events that defined that era in greater detail and with more care than was provided. In short I wanted to hear about the issues that consumed the Jeffersonians on the local level. How did they act to remedy their challenges--where did they succeed, where did they fall short, and why.....these questions, for me, remain unanswered. ...more
This is a very complex work of fiction. I decided to read it after I heard a lecture from UC Berkeley History Professor Margaret Lavinia Anderson. SheThis is a very complex work of fiction. I decided to read it after I heard a lecture from UC Berkeley History Professor Margaret Lavinia Anderson. She said that it was the epitome of European Romanticism-in that it called into question the assertion that the Enlightenment could never create a problem that it could not solve.
I was surprised at how emotional it was and how much it has to do with family. Monsters and family...hmmmm.
There is a lot of allegory about secrecy and the pushing of frontiers, family strife....even the role of the west in the world. While being fantastically complex its also buried in its own language, which apparently is the signature of Percy Shelley-the editor. Feminist theorists make a lot of the fact that a woman wrote such a horrifying work of black fantasy--and make much of the 'Abortion' references and the substitution of the Victor Frankenstein's lab for a womb. The concept of parentage is also curious. Creation, obviously another terrifying theme, as well as destruction are examined quite intimately. Liberation and restriction as well. Its an awesome tale. I enjoy the Norton Critical Editions especially because they provide you with all kinds of information including various works of Literary Criticism ... aka. writings that I would never come across otherwise. Literary Criticism is interesting in its own rite, and one can harvest the occasional numinous nugget from such examinations, but for the most part those essays can be monsterously in-accessable and in turn include central arguments, the structure of which rely upon the most recondite and improvable elements of narrative and/or perceived cultural streams of thought. Perhaps thats the historian in me....oh well, Its good to know that they are their though. ...more
This is an outstanding survey of the forces at work during the revolutionary era. What Wood demonstrated most effectively was how quickly 19th centuryThis is an outstanding survey of the forces at work during the revolutionary era. What Wood demonstrated most effectively was how quickly 19th century Democracy devoured the 18th century republican dreams of the founders....I often thought the defeat of John Qunicy Adams at the hands of Andrew Jackson epitomized this phenomenon. ...more
Thoroughly depressing as one would expect. It is mostly about the psychotic nature of the Einsatzgruppen. The most morbidly interesting parts were aboThoroughly depressing as one would expect. It is mostly about the psychotic nature of the Einsatzgruppen. The most morbidly interesting parts were about how members of the Einsatzgruppen lost their minds because of all the killing they were doing. This ofcourse necessitated the more industrial methods of the Final Solution. Sickening....more
Interesting exploration into Historical psycho-analysis. Lincoln was gloomy-this we know. I learned things about his personal life that I didn't knowInteresting exploration into Historical psycho-analysis. Lincoln was gloomy-this we know. I learned things about his personal life that I didn't know before, such as his penchant for Shakespearean tragedy,(Hamlet, Macbeth and King Lear were among his favorites) and that there is record of a cocaine purchase from a drug store attributed to him(it was a known remedy to the melancholic disposition). But all told, there really could have a lot more about his life during the war, since that is in fact what popularly defined his 'greatness.' ...more
This was an interesting series of essays about the transformation of American Freedom in the popular imagination as it translated to political activisThis was an interesting series of essays about the transformation of American Freedom in the popular imagination as it translated to political activism throughout American History. I was glad to have read it, and I was glad when it was done. Foner's style can be very tough and terse. I know that sooner or later in life I will have to read his History of Reconstruction but I keep puting it off....more
This Book is a mighty tour de force....once descibed as a Haunting Bag of Ghosts--you will know what is meant by that after you have subjected yourselThis Book is a mighty tour de force....once descibed as a Haunting Bag of Ghosts--you will know what is meant by that after you have subjected yourself to this final work of Dostoyevsky. For a taste, pick it up and read the chapter entitled "The Grand Inquisitor" it is an existential masterwork.
But be forewarned ....this book had an intense emotional impact on me. It will drag you down into the desperate lands. ...more