paradise now the story of american utopianism

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Paradise Now

Author : Chris Jennings
ISBN : 9780812993714
Genre : History
File Size : 35. 64 MB
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For readers of Jill Lepore, Joseph J. Ellis, and Tony Horwitz comes a lively, thought-provoking intellectual history of the golden age of American utopianism—and the bold, revolutionary, and eccentric visions for the future put forward by five of history’s most influential utopian movements. In the wake of the Enlightenment and the onset of industrialism, a generation of dreamers took it upon themselves to confront the messiness and injustice of a rapidly changing world. To our eyes, the utopian communities that took root in America in the nineteenth century may seem ambitious to the point of delusion, but they attracted members willing to dedicate their lives to creating a new social order and to asking the bold question What should the future look like? In Paradise Now, Chris Jennings tells the story of five interrelated utopian movements, revealing their relevance both to their time and to our own. Here is Mother Ann Lee, the prophet of the Shakers, who grew up in newly industrialized Manchester, England—and would come to build a quiet but fierce religious tradition on the opposite side of the Atlantic. Even as the society she founded spread across the United States, the Welsh industrialist Robert Owen came to the Indiana frontier to build an egalitarian, rationalist utopia he called the New Moral World. A decade later, followers of the French visionary Charles Fourier blanketed America with colonies devoted to inaugurating a new millennium of pleasure and fraternity. Meanwhile, the French radical Étienne Cabet sailed to Texas with hopes of establishing a communist paradise dedicated to ideals that would be echoed in the next century. And in New York’s Oneida Community, a brilliant Vermonter named John Humphrey Noyes set about creating a new society in which the human spirit could finally be perfected in the image of God. Over time, these movements fell apart, and the national mood that had inspired them was drowned out by the dream of westward expansion and the waking nightmare of the Civil War. Their most galvanizing ideas, however, lived on, and their audacity has influenced countless political movements since. Their stories remain an inspiration for everyone who seeks to build a better world, for all who ask, What should the future look like? Praise for Paradise Now “Uncommonly smart and beautifully written . . . a triumph of scholarship and narration: five stand-alone community studies and a coherent, often spellbinding history of the United States during its tumultuous first half-century . . . Although never less than evenhanded, and sometimes deliciously wry, Jennings writes with obvious affection for his subjects. To read Paradise Now is to be dazzled, humbled and occasionally flabbergasted by the amount of energy and talent sacrificed at utopia’s altar.”—The New York Times Book Review “Writing an impartial, respectful account of these philanthropies and follies is no small task, but Mr. Jennings largely pulls it off with insight and aplomb. Indulgently sympathetic to the utopian impulse in general, he tells a good story. His explanations of the various reformist credos are patient, thought-provoking and . . . entertaining.”—The Wall Street Journal “As a tour guide, Jennings is thoughtful, engaging and witty in the right doses. . . . He makes the subject his own with fresh eyes and a crisp narrative, rich with detail. . . . In the end, Jennings writes, the communards’ disregard for the world as it exists sealed their fate. But in revisiting their stories, he makes a compelling case that our present-day ‘deficit of imagination’ could be similarly fated.”—San Francisco Chronicle From the Hardcover edition.

American Utopia

Author : Peter Swirski
ISBN : 9780429628139
Genre : Literary Criticism
File Size : 47. 14 MB
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From Black Tuesday to the White House, from Plato to Robert Nozick, from Eugene Debs to Richard Nixon, from Peter Cornelis Plockhoy to the hippie communes of the Sixties, from universal basic income to utopian basic income, from proverbial wisdom to multilevel selection, from Big Data to paleomorality, from Prisoner’s Dilemma to social-engineering Israeli kindergartens, from time travel to gene engineering, from the pretzel logic of meritocracy to deaggressing humanity, American Utopia maps the pitfalls and windfalls of social reform in the name of the human use of human beings. Interrogating the assumptions behind four outré utopias by Thomas M. Disch, Bernard Malamud, Kurt Vonnegut, and Margaret Atwood, the book interrogates the assumptions that have historically been central to the utopian project. Whence the seeds of social discontent? Whence our taste for egoism and altruism? For waging war and waging peace? Can we bioengineer human nature to specifications? Should we? Who makes better guardians: humans or machines? And who will guard the guardians?

If

Author : Christopher Benfey
ISBN : 9780735221444
Genre : Biography & Autobiography
File Size : 81. 25 MB
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A unique exploration of the life and work of Rudyard Kipling in Gilded Age America, from a celebrated scholar of American literature At the turn of the twentieth century, Rudyard Kipling towered over not just English literature, but the entire literary world. At the height of his fame in 1907, he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature, becoming its youngest winner. His influence on figures—including the likes of Freud and William James—was vast and profound. But in recent decades Kipling’s reputation has suffered a strange eclipse. Though his body of work still looms large, and his monumental poem “If—” is quoted and referenced by politicians, athletes, and professors, he himself is treated with profound unease as a man on the wrong side of history. In If, scholar Christopher Benfey brings this fascinating writer to life and, for the first time, gives full attention to his intense engagement with the United States—a rarely discussed but critical piece of evidence in our understanding of this man and his enduring legacy. Benfey traces the writer’s deep involvement with America over one crucial decade, from 1889 to 1899, when he lived for four years in Brattleboro, Vermont, and sought deliberately to turn himself into a specifically American writer. It was his most prodigious and creative period, as well as his happiest, during which he wrote The Jungle Book and Captains Courageous. Had a family dispute not forced his departure, Kipling almost certainly would have stayed. Leaving was the hardest thing he ever had to do, Kipling said. “There are only two places in the world where I want to live,” he lamented, “Bombay and Brattleboro. And I can’t live in either.” In this fresh examination of Kipling, Benfey hangs a provocative “what if” over Kipling’s American years and maps the imprint Kipling left on his adopted country as well as the imprint the country left on him. If proves there is relevance and magnificence to be found in Kipling’s work.

Skepticism And American Faith

Author : Christopher Grasso
ISBN : 9780190494377
Genre : History
File Size : 21. 82 MB
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Between the American Revolution and the Civil War, the dialogue of religious skepticism and faith shaped struggles over the place of religion in politics. It produced different visions of knowledge and education in an "enlightened" society. It fueled social reform in an era of economic transformation, territorial expansion, and social change. Ultimately, as Christopher Grasso argues in this definitive work, it molded the making and eventual unmaking of American nationalism. Religious skepticism has been rendered nearly invisible in American religious history, which often stresses the evangelicalism of the era or the "secularization" said to be happening behind people's backs, or assumes that skepticism was for intellectuals and ordinary people who stayed away from church were merely indifferent. Certainly the efforts of vocal "infidels" or "freethinkers" were dwarfed by the legions conducting religious revivals, creating missions and moral reform societies, distributing Bibles and Christian tracts, and building churches across the land. Even if few Americans publicly challenged Christian truth claims, many more quietly doubted, and religious skepticism touched--and in some cases transformed--many individual lives. Commentators considered religious doubt to be a persistent problem, because they believed that skeptical challenges to the grounds of faith--the Bible, the church, and personal experience--threatened the foundations of American society. Skepticism and American Faith examines the ways that Americans--ministers, merchants, and mystics; physicians, schoolteachers, and feminists; self-help writers, slaveholders, shoemakers, and soldiers--wrestled with faith and doubt as they lived their daily lives and tried to make sense of their world.

Wild Nights

Author : Benjamin Reiss
ISBN : 9780465094851
Genre : History
File Size : 22. 24 MB
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Why the modern world forgot how to sleep Why is sleep frustrating for so many people? Why do we spend so much time and money managing and medicating it, and training ourselves and our children to do it correctly? In Wild Nights, Benjamin Reiss finds answers in sleep's hidden history--one that leads to our present, sleep-obsessed society, its tacitly accepted rules, and their troubling consequences. Today we define a good night's sleep very narrowly: eight hours in one shot, sealed off in private bedrooms, children apart from parents. But for most of human history, practically no one slept this way. Tracing sleep's transformation since the dawn of the industrial age, Reiss weaves together insights from literature, social and medical history, and cutting-edge science to show how and why we have tried and failed to tame sleep. In lyrical prose, he leads readers from bedrooms and laboratories to factories and battlefields to Henry David Thoreau's famous cabin at Walden Pond, telling the stories of troubled sleepers, hibernating peasants, sleepwalking preachers, cave-dwelling sleep researchers, slaves who led nighttime uprisings, rebellious workers, spectacularly frazzled parents, and utopian dreamers. We are hardly the first people, Reiss makes clear, to chafe against our modern rules for sleeping. A stirring testament to sleep's diversity, Wild Nights offers a profound reminder that in the vulnerability of slumber we can find our shared humanity. By peeling back the covers of history, Reiss recaptures sleep's mystery and grandeur and offers hope to weary readers: as sleep was transformed once before, so too can it change today.

The Utopian Moment In Contemporary American Poetry

Author : Norman Finkelstein
ISBN : 0838752470
Genre : Poetry
File Size : 67. 67 MB
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This second edition includes all of the material from the first -- in-depth analyses of the work of such poets as George Oppen, John Ashbery, Robert Duncan, and William Bronk -- as well as a new Preface, and a lengthy chapter on the younger language poets.

American Studies

Author :
ISBN : STANFORD:36105110561706
Genre : United States
File Size : 66. 10 MB
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America History And Life

Author :
ISBN : STANFORD:36105131533684
Genre : Canada
File Size : 76. 46 MB
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Article abstracts and citations of reviews and dissertations covering the United States and Canada.

Paradise Now

Author : Chad Andrew Martin
ISBN : STANFORD:36105023742104
Genre :
File Size : 29. 17 MB
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British And American Utopian Literature 1516 1985

Author : Lyman Tower Sargent
ISBN : STANFORD:36105026026448
Genre : Literary Criticism
File Size : 43. 60 MB
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