Henry Adams

Front Cover
Harvard University Press, 1989 - Biography & Autobiography - 504 pages
Henry Adams sought, late in life, to thwart prospective biographers by writing his own biography. Published soon after his death in 1918, The Education of Henry Adams was rightly greeted as a masterpiece. Not until thirty years later, with the appearance of the first volume of Ernest Samuels‚e(tm)s biography, did it become apparent how much the story had been colored by Adams‚e(tm)s singular philosophy of history and how great was the disparity between the protagonist of the Education and Adams as he actually was. Upon its completion in 1964, Samuels‚e(tm)s life of Henry Adams was hailed as ‚eoeone of the great biographical achievements of our time‚e ; its laurels included a Pulitzer Prize.Ernest Samuels has now distilled his ample narrative into a single absorbing volume. We see Adams as a lively undergraduate, in contrast to the jaded young man of the Education; as budding writer, newspaper correspondent, eager participant in political maneuverings in Washington and at the American embassy in London; as teacher at Harvard and editor of the North American Review; settled in Washington, as scholar, biographer, historian, novelist; as insatiable traveler; as friend and adviser to statesmen; as elderly cosmopolite spending half of each year abroad; and always as witty chronicler of the social scene and trenchant commentator on the events of his time. We are drawn into the personal drama of Adams‚e(tm)s middle years: his married life with Clover; the halcyon period in Washington in the early 1880s, catastrophically terminated by Clover‚e(tm)s depression and suicide; his growing passion for Elizabeth Cameron; and his flight to the South Seas. Throughout the book we follow the genesis and progress of his writings, from his muckracking journalism in President Grant‚e(tm)s Washington, through the social and political criticism of his novels, his biographies, and his great History, to the classic Mont Saint Michel and Chartres, the daring theories of the Education, and his last essays.Few biographies have so broad a canvas‚e"sixty years of American political, social, and intellectual life, from the pre‚e"Civil War years to the First World War. And few offer so revealing a portrait of a complex human being and an extraordinary career.
 

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User Review  - JayLivernois - www.librarything.com

A rather plodding biography, a condensation of 3 works which received great praise and prizes in its day, but now eclipsed by micro-histories and better access to research documents in writing books such as this. Read full review

Henry Adams

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

This one-volume abridgment of Samuels's definitive three-volume biography of Adams, completed in 1964 ( LJ 10/15/48, 11/15/58, 12/15/64), will undoubtedly reach a wide and appreciative audience. All ... Read full review

Contents

BRAHMIN PATTERN i
1
THE GRAND TOUR
25
WITNESS TO HISTORY
38
A GOLDEN TIME
55
A YOUNG REFORMER OF THIRTY
76
HARVARD COLLEGE ONCE MORE
92
IN QUEST OF HISTORICAL PRINCIPLES
109
THE RETURN OF THE NATIVE
125
THE SEASON OF NIRVANA
206
HISTORY AND THE POSTHUMOUS LIFE
220
THE PARADOXES OF POLYNESIA
238
BETWEEN WORLDS
257
JOURNEY INTO CHAOS
273
BROTHERS IN PROPHECY
288
BEHIND THE SCENES
309
NEW ENGLAND GOTHIC
333

LITERARY DEBUT
138
EUROPEAN ORBIT
152
THE GOLDEN AGE OF LAFAYETTE SQUARE
166
PORTRAITS PAST AND PRESENT
180
THE FORSAKEN GARDEN
194
THIRTEENTHCENTURY UNITY
355
THE SHIELD OF PROTECTION
369
THE ABANDONING UNIVERSE
442
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About the author (1989)

Ernest Samuels is Franklyn Bliss Snyder Professor of English, Emeritus, Northwestern University.

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