Esteban del Mal's Reviews > Anti-Intellectualism in American Life

Anti-Intellectualism in American Life by Richard Hofstadter
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Oct 20, 10

bookshelves: treadmill-to-oblivion, americana, non-fiction, when-the-world-was-new
Read from September 20 to October 19, 2010 — I own a copy, read count: 1


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Reading Progress

09/20/2010 page 1
0.0% "I’m not really in a position to juggle two books right now, but Le Grand Meaulnes is Le Grand Boring me. Further, I’m not really into the non-fiction lately, but this particular book appeals to my sense of superiority over my fellow Amerikaners."
09/21/2010 page 41
9.0% "The truth is that the right-winger needs his Communists badly, and is pathetically reluctant to give them up."
09/30/2010 page 95
20.0% "It was commonly believed that the historical development of Christianity was not an accretion of valuable institutional forms and practices but a process of corruption and degeneration in which the purity of primitive Christianity had been lost. The goal of the devout, then, was not to preserve forms but to strike out anew in order to recapture this purity. -- Ch. 4"
10/06/2010 page 180
39.0% "John Quincy Adams who can write/Andrew Jackson who can fight."
10/12/2010 page 249
54.0% "…the American attitude represented a republican and egalitarian protest against monarchy and aristocracy and the callous exploitation of the people…But certainly in its consequences…this attitude was anti-cultural. It developed an intellectual style in which the past was too often regarded simply as a museum of confusion, corruption, and exploitation."
10/13/2010 page 300
65.0% "If the true spirit of the Bolshevik discipline was to be instilled in radical American writers, the Bohemianism that had flowered in the days of the Masses had to be destroyed. Writers must be made to feel that Bohemianism and all its forms of merely personal revolt were unserious, trivial, neurotic. John Reed, once a Bohemian himself, led the way. "This class struggle," he said, "plays hell with your poetry.""
10/16/2010 page 387
83.0% "The notion that the classroom would of necessity produce the conformist mind and that sociable learning would produce the ideally socialized personality is at first appealing, but there is about it a kind of rigid rationality of the sort that life constantly eludes."
10/20/2010 page 432
93.0% "The truly creative mind is hardly ever so much alone as when it is trying to be sociable. The productive intellectual, rather than relying on Bohemianism as a means by which he and others can "face the world together," usually tries to develop resources by which he can face it alone. Facing the world together is a tactic of politics, but facing it alone seems to be the characteristic creative stance."

Comments (showing 1-8 of 8) (8 new)

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Kristen Hey Cuba, I'm debating ordering this book, should I?

Esteban del Mal Hofstader always gets a thumbs-up from me. He's very scholarly; however, I admit to being bored at times with this. He is, after all, preaching to the choir.

Castro lives! (It's true, I read it in the papers.)

Kristen I constantly come across references to this book, reading it seems inevitable.

message 4: by Esteban (last edited Oct 22, 2012 08:44PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Esteban del Mal Yeah. It's probably one of those canon reads, I guess.

Have you read anything of his? His essay on American paranoia is fantastic. He cites how John Birchers went ape shit when mail ordering guns was made illegal. Based on their projections at the time (60s, I think), you and I are living in a socialist utopia.

I think it's the black guy in the White House that put us over the top.

Kristen No, but I see it's available online so I'll have to check it out.

Kristen I just finished this, and despite have over 20 pages of highlighted notes on kindle (isn't kindle awesome for that?) I probably still won't write a review, you know, because I'm really lazy.

Sort of depressing. Time and again he seems to attitude the roots of anti-intellectualism in religion, education, and politics to the democratic impulse. Makes sense, sure, but if that’s the case then what’s the solution? No wonder he doesn’t go into that. I was just glad to be done with this by the end.

message 7: by Esteban (last edited Jan 08, 2013 07:18PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Esteban del Mal I guess the solution is that the educated minority that holds the precious light of Civilization close to its bosom and takes whatever opportunity presents itself to stuff said precious Civilization into the mouth of the dunderheaded majority when it's distracted. Think that scene from Misery when James Caan stuffs his alighted manuscript into the screeching, uncomprehending maw of Kathy Bates.


Esteban del Mal My copy's highlighted and dog-eared with scribbles in the margin and I didn't write a review, either.

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