Experiments Against Reality: The Fate of Culture in the Postmodern Age

Experiments Against Reality: The Fate of Culture in the Postmodern Age


By (author) Roger Kimball

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  • Publisher: Ivan R Dee, Inc
  • Format: Paperback | 368 pages
  • Dimensions: 140mm x 211mm x 25mm | 249g
  • Publication date: 1 March 2002
  • Publication City/Country: Chicago
  • ISBN 10: 156663430X
  • ISBN 13: 9781566634304
  • Edition statement: New.
  • Sales rank: 1,247,086

Product description

Confronting the dilemmas of modernist and postmodernist thought, Roger Kimball in this new collection of his work explores the literary and philosophical underpinnings of modernity as well as the state of our culture today. Experiments Against Reality displays the sophistication, breadth of knowledge, and clarity of argument that have made Mr. Kimball one of the most trenchant critics of our contemporary culture. He begins by considering the influential poet and theorist T. E. Hulme, and shows how the work of Eliot, Auden, Wallace Stevens, Robert Musil, Elias Canetti, and others can be seen as efforts to articulate a convincing alternative to the intellectual and spiritual desolations of the age. Turning to the philosophical tradition, Mr. Kimball suggests how figures from Mill and Nietzsche to Bertrand Russell, Wittgenstein, Sartre, Heidegger, Foucault, and Roger Scruton have addressed - or in many cases evaded - the defining moral imperatives of modernity. Finally he steps back to consider more generally the career of contemporary culture - the trivializing nature of the contemporary art world; the academic attack on historical truth and scientific rationality; the fate of the "two cultures" controversy. "Enlightenment," Mr. Kimball writes, "sought to emancipate man by liberating reason and battling against superstition. But reason liberated entirely from tradition has turned out to be rancorous and hubristic - in short, something irrational." Experiments Against Reality offers continuing evidence of Mr. Kimball's stature as one of our most important cultural critics.

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Author information

Roger Kimball is managing editor of the New Criterion and an art critic for the London Spectator. His other books include Lives of the Mind, Experiments Against Reality, The Long March, and Tenured Radicals. He lives in South Norwalk, Connecticut.

Review quote

Will be required reading for those who want a significant perspective on how and why our contemporary culture got to be the way it is. -- Frederick Morgan Stylish, richly allusive, and immensely readable...an invaluable collection. -- John Gross One of the most candid and perceptive critics of American culture. -- Gertrude Himmelfarb Times Literary Supplement A model of investigative advocacy of argumentation, principles, and responsibility...a superb performance. -- Robert McDowell Hudson Review A scathing critic but one whose tirades are usually justified...his intellectual rigor is refreshing. -- Catherine Saint Louis The New York Times His position is conservative but not reactionary, humanistic but not populist, fresh but never trendy. John Simon A book you will relish and applaud. Roger Kimball's essays on recent poets and thinkers...are as wise as they are elegantly written. -- Martin Gardner