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No Place of Grace

Antimodernism and the Transformation of American Culture, 1880–1920

T. J. Jackson Lears draws on a wealth of primary sources — sermons, diaries, letters — as well as novels, poems, and essays to explore the origins of turn-of-the-century American antimodernism. He examines the retreat to the exotic, the pursuit of intense physical or spiritual experiences, and the search for cultural self-sufficiency through the Arts and Crafts movement. Lears argues that their antimodern impulse, more pervasive than historians have supposed, was not "simple escapism," but reveals some enduring and recurring tensions in American culture.

"It’s an understatement to call No Place of Grace a brilliant book. . . . It’s the first clear sign I’ve seen that my generation, after marching through the ’60s and jogging through the ’70s might be pausing to examine what we’ve learned, and to teach it."—Walter Kendrick, Village Voice

"One can justly make the claim that No Place of Grace restores and reinterprets a crucial part of American history. Lears’s method is impeccable."—Ann Douglas, The Nation

400 pages | 6 x 9 | © 1981, 1994

History: American History, History of Ideas

Table of Contents

Preface to the Paperback Edition
1. Roots of Antimodernism: The Crisis of Cultural Authority During the Late Nineteenth Century
A Pattern of Evasive Banality: Official Modern Culture in Industrial America
A Social Crisis: The Republican Tradition and the Radical Sphere
Unreal City: Social Science, Secularization, and the Emergence of Weightlessness
A Psychic Crisis: Neurasthenia and the Emergence of a Therapeutic World View
2. The Figure of the Artisan: Arts and Crafts Ideology
Origins of the American Craft Revival: Persons and Perceptions
Revitalization and Transformation in Arts and Crafts Ideology: The Simple Life, Aestheticism, Educational Reform
Reversing Antimodernism: The Factory, The Market, and the Process of Rationalization
The Fate of the Craft Ideal
3. The Destructive Element: Modern Commercial Society and the Martial Ideal
From Domestic Realism to "Real Life"
Class, Race, and the Worship of Force
The Psychological Uses of the Martial Ideal: The Cult of Experience and the Quest for Authentic Selfhood
The Psychological Uses of the Martial Ideal: Guiney, Norris, Adams
4. The Morning of Belief: Medieval Mentalities in a Modern World
The Image of Childhood and the Childhood of the Race
Medieval Sincerity: Genteel and Robust
Medieval Vitality: The Erotic Union of Sacred and Profane
The Medieval Unconscious: Therapy and Protest
5. The Religion of Beauty: Catholic Forms and American Consciousness
The Rise of Catholic Taste: Cultural Authority and Personal Regeneration
Art, Ritual, and Belief: The Protestant Dilemma
American Anglo-Catholicism: Legitimation and Protest
The Poles of Anglicanism: Cram and Scudder
6. From Patriarchy to Nirvana: Patterns of Ambivalence
The Problem of Victorian Ambivalence: Sources and Solutions
The Lotus and the Father: Bigelow, Lowell, Lodge
William Sturgis Bigelow
Percival Lowell
George Cabot Lodge
Aesthetic Catholicism and "Feminine" Values: Norton, Hall, Brooks
Charles Eliot Norton
G. Stanley Hall
Van Wyck Brooks
7. From Filial Loyalty to Religious Protest: Henry Adams
Early Manhood: The Meandering Track of the Family Go-Cart
Husband, Historian, Novelist: Adams’s Crisis of Generativity
The Antimodern Quest: From Niagara to the Virgin
Between Father and Mother, I: The Virgin, The Dynamo, and the Angelic Doctor
Between Father and Mother, II: The Antimodern Modernist
Biographical Appendix

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