AND EVEN IF YOU DO by Joseph Wood Krutch


Email this review


Joseph Wood Krutch seems haunted by the fact that he's out of date. But, as he implies throughout these ""essays on man, manners and machines,"" that's the world's loss, not his. Decades ago, he made a name as the author of The Modern Temper, an early account of the nature of twentieth century pessimism in which he more or less defended the decline of traditional values and applauded the experimental character of contemporary philosophy, sensibility, and art--and from which he believed a resurgent humanism would come, rational, sophisticated, and progressive. Instead a ""cynically materialistic"" era emerged where most intellectuals are ""nihilists interested chiefly in destruction and violence, in non-art, non-music and non-painting."" This damning and valedictorian theme sounds at the end of every performance, whether Krutch is talking about technology, the space age, science-fiction, behaviorism, or Genet. Krutch talks learnedly, obstinately, and amusingly, but he's too programmatically anti-fashionable, anti-highbrow to be really telling the truth. Certainly he knows that the existentialist ideas swirling today are more complex, varied, and profound than his summary of them, however spiritedly spoken, and that his picture of an ""increasingly alien"" world is narrow or irrelevant.

Pub Date: Oct. 30th, 1967
Publisher: Morrow