THE AMERICAN MIND by Henry Steel Coger


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A portrait of the emotional and intellectual temper of America over the past century, this is grounded in an impressive if unobtrusive scholarship, in an interest which extends to all spheres of thought and activity, in an ability to spot traits and trends and to vitalise, with great readability, the mainstream of our culture. Opening with a profile of the 19th century American, in all his incurable optimism and energy, his materialism and his sense of equality, his carelessness and nonconformity, his self- confidence, this shows the change brought in at the close of the century- the new social and economic pressures which were to create confusion- and some doubt. Here are the main patterns of thought; the evolutionary philosophy of Fiske; the pragmatism of William James; the determinism, the cult of irrationality, the primitivism of the new literature- while Willa Cather and llen Glasgow upheld the traditional; the economics of Veblen; politics and social science and a still prospering religion while theology died. And with the disillusion and cynicism of the 20's. the reform and redirection of our politics, our jurisprudence, there is the ""revolt from forms to functions, from concepts to activities....' from individual to social ends"" which is to characterize our national programs.... A cultural cavalcade made up of individuals as well as concepts, this is a very successful synthesis, witty on occasion and consistently enlightening.

Pub Date: March 13th, 1950
Publisher: Yale University Press