In this thoughtful and wide-ranging cultural critique, Taylor explores the condition and role of the intellectual in nineteenth-century New England by examining five writers: Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, Margaret Fuller, William James, and George Santayana. Using key texts from each, he analyzes the status and identity of intellectual figures, and explores the relationship between intellectual work and theories of national identity. The questions the book raises-about the alliance between thought and action, about the best locations for intellectual work, and about the challenges posed to thinking by an increasingly fragmented and diverse public-remain pertinent today. Chronologically and geographically focused, Thinking America has wide resonance for the ongoing debates about the genealogy-and future viability-of the public intellectual.
Publisher: University Press of New England