The Modern Age: Turn-of-the-Century American Culture and the Invention of Adolescence (Hardback)Kent Baxter (author)
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Publisher: The University of Alabama Press
Number of pages: 232
Weight: 454 g
Dimensions: 229 x 152 x 25 mm
"Building on Joseph Kett's idea (articulated in Rites of Passage, CH, Oct'77) that adolescence is more than a physical stage of life--that it was, indeed, a purposeful social and cultural 'invention'--Baxter (English, California State Univ., Fullerton) brings depth and concreteness to the issue. The author focuses on the late-19th and early-20th centuries to examine the concept of an invented adolescence as it was not only theorized by G. Stanley Hall and Margaret Mead but also manifested in the juvenile courts, Indian boarding schools, Woodcraft and scouting organizations, and books by Horatio Alger and Edward Stratemeyer (author of Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew titles). Baxter argues persuasively that these were instruments for control and rehabilitation of a teenage population deemed dangerous if left to its own devices. He disputes the reality behind the charge and claims that adolescence was created to assuage anxieties about urbanization, industrialization, and other aspects of modernization. The protagonists and texts of this drama will be familiar to historians, but Baxter is a skillful reader and his judicious, revealing interpretations will stimulate those interested in the treatment of adolescence as ideology. Summing Up: Recommended. Upper-division undergraduates, graduate students, and faculty."
"This is a rousing and medicinal book, brilliantly conceived and argued with rare sensitivity and an eye toward what we always suspected: that there was something both necessary and deeply wrong about 'the adolescent.' Kent Baxter shows how we created this 'adolescent, ' a strange construction made necessary by a confluence of cultural needs and a general turn-of-the-twentieth-century hysteria. We still all live with this energized monster, the teenager, who so often plays out the script handed to him or her: tempestuous, rebellious, a walking Id. Baxter has enormous gifts as a theorist and a writer."--James R. Kincaid, Aerol Arnold Chair in English and Professor of English at the University of Southern California