CITIES OF LIGHT AND SONS OF THE MORNING: A Cultural Psychology for an Age of Revolution by Martin Green

CITIES OF LIGHT AND SONS OF THE MORNING: A Cultural Psychology for an Age of Revolution

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A group of essays and reprinted articles by a prolific writer on cultural and literary history. They are strung on a framework of ""Faustian-Calvinlst-Erasmian temperament"" crossbeamed with ""radical, liberal, conservative position."" Concluding reluctantly that liberalism is an ideology fit only for peaceful, prosperous times, Professor Green aspires to reconcile ""the Erasmian temperament"" with ""the radical position."" The reconciliation is not achieved, but instead there are sensitive affirmations of the temperate virtues of Erasmus and the beauties of Goethe's ""conservative Weimar,"" an ""apolitical Kulturstadt"" and the closest thing to a ""city of light."" Other cities are reconstructed -- contemporary Maileresque New York, the ""radical London"" of the 1790's, revolutionary Havana at firsthand in 1969, and ""liberal Edinburgh"" in the days of the ""Erasmian"" David Hume and Adam Smith. Green's distinctions between ""temperament"" and ""position"" are ill-sustained and basically ill-defined: if this is ""cultural psychology"" it seems weak and pretentious. But the literary excursions have a great deal to offer with their eager historical grounding and imaginative grasp of writers' lives, work, and climates.

Pub Date: May 1st, 1972
Publisher: Little, Brown