Boats Against the Current

Boats Against the Current : American Culture Between Revolution and Modernity, 1820-60

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Lewis Perry is a leading American intellectual historian who was editor of the Journal of American History before going to Vanderbilt University as a full professor. He has been especially interested in the mid-19th Century and examining how American culture evolved from the rather sheltered, elitist world of the early 19th century into the more modern, uncertain, intellectual world that the Civil War helped to create. Among the `modern' tendencies that were in place by the Civil War, and that Perry focuses on in this book, were criticism of current forms of discourse and attempts to create new experimental ones, views of intellectuals and artists as solitary fugitives and prophets, recognition of inevitable change in society and religious doubts, fascination with `inner' psychological states, and intellectual friendships as the central focus of living. One part of the book, `Memory', links the cultural history of the period to earlier periods of American history, the second part, `Travellers', deals with people like Alexis de Tocqueville and Frederika Bremer and then with Americans travelling within the country, and ends with Thoreau's `travels' and his rejection of the progressive optimistic views of his age; the third part, `Life as a Masquerade', deals with people, travellers met on the road including pedlars and showmen, preachers and gamblers, and closes with Emerson the lecturer and major influence on the age; the fourth part, `Modernism', deals with people swimming against the intellectual `current' of the times, the place of women in American culture of the age, and in general a discussion of individuals who did not accept the values and standards of mid-19th century America.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 344 pages
  • 165.1 x 242.82 x 33.02mm | 693.99g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 0195060911
  • 9780195060911

About Lewis Perry

About the Author: Lewis Perry is Andrew Jackson Professor of History and Director of American Studies at Vanderbilt University. A former editor of The Journal of American History, he has written such books as Intellectual in America, Childhood, Marriage, and Reform, and Radical Abolitionism.show more

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