Cultural Conservatism, Political Liberalism: From Criticism to Cultural Studies

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University of Michigan Press, Jan 1, 1996 - Literary Criticism - 287 pages
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Cultural Conservatism, Political Liberalism is an impassioned response to the debates on culture and the literary canon over the last decade. James Seaton argues that the attempts of E. D. Hirsch and Allan Bloom to unite cultural conservatism with political liberalism have been inadequate. He believes that their fullest integration is found not in a doctrine, but in a tradition, the tradition of cultural critics from Mencken through Ellison.
Chapters on Lionel Trilling, H. L. Mencken and Irving Babbitt, Ralph Ellison, Dwight Macdonald, Diana Trilling, and Edmund Wilson affirm the continuing pertinence of their work to today's concerns. Seaton then turns to the careers of Leslie Fiedler and Susan Sontag to explore the impact of the cultural radicalism of the sixties on literary criticism. Subsequent chapters analyze the successes and failures of contemporary cultural studies through the writings of Richard Rorty, Edward Said, Stanley Fish and Fredric Jameson.
Separately, these chapters provide provocative readings of the individual critics; together they make a case for the tradition exemplified by these critics as an alternative to contemporary cultural studies. The issues the book discusses extend beyond literary criticism and the academic world to the political-religious- cultural conflicts of today's culture wars.
"These lively, closely argued essays explain very clearly what the issues are, how they arose, and why they are important." --Christopher Lasch
"A forceful argument about the relationship between literary studies and politics that will add something important to the vigorous, and often fierce, discussion of the canon, the politics of literature, and educational reform."--William Cain, Wellesley College
James Seaton is Professor of English, Michigan State University. He is co-editor, with William K. Buckley, of Beyond Cheering and Bashing: New Perspectives on the Closing of the American Mind.
  

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Contents

On Edward Said
9
The Achievement
55
The Career of Leslie Fiedler
105
Susan Sontag and the Possibility of Humanism
121
Chapter i4 On Cultural SelfCriticism
A-13
Cultural Conservatism Political
A-31
Works Cited
A-63
Index
A-84
Copyright

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Cultural conservatism, political liberalism: From criticism to ...
REVIEW. Cultural Conservatism, Political. Liberalism: From Criticism to Cul-. tural Studies, by James Seaton. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan ...
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Two Kinds of Criticism
2 James Seaton, Cultural Conservatism, Political Liberalism: From Criticism to Cultural Studies (Ann Arbor: university of Michigan Press, 1996). ...
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James Seaton. The University of Michigan Press publishes books in political science, ESL and applied linguistics, fiction, theater, classics, law, ...
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Journal of American Culture (01911813): Reviews the book `Cultural Conservatism, Political Liberalism: from Criticism to Cultural Studies,' by James Seaton.
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About the author (1996)

James Seaton is a Professor in the Department of English at Michigan State University, where he teaches courses on the history of literary criticism, American literature and culture, and literature and law. His previous books include Cultural Conservatism, Political Liberalism: From Criticism to Cultural Studies (1996) and A Reading of Vergil's Georgics (1983). He is the editor of The Genteel Tradition and Character and Opinion in the United States by George Santayana (2009) and co-editor with William K. Buckley of Beyond Cheering and Bashing: New Perspectives on The Closing of the American Mind (1992). Seaton's articles and reviews have appeared in such publications as The Wall Street Journal, The Weekly Standard, The Claremont Review of Books, The American Scholar, The Hudson Review, The University Bookman, Modern Age, Journal of the History of Ideas, Society, The Review of Metaphysics, Yale Journal of Law and the Humanities, Legal Studies Forum, Cardozo Studies in Law and Literature, and Michigan State Law Review.

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