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Exiles of the New York Times
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Author Topic: American History  (Read 29415 times)
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Bob
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« Reply #1530 on: November 20, 2007, 07:49:03 PM »

11/20  was indeed posted as the date to start. I can start it off if its ok. Otherwise, let me know.
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thanatopsy
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« Reply #1531 on: November 20, 2007, 11:06:51 PM »


``The Mystery of the Hereafter and The Peace of God that Passeth Understanding`` or the ''Grief''





HB Adams memorial, initially created to honor his wife Clover.  It was said that he actually hated this memorial, esp its name.


BTW, some people call it  'Black Aggie' because it is said to be haunted.
« Last Edit: November 20, 2007, 11:15:57 PM by thanatopsy » Logged

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« Reply #1532 on: November 21, 2007, 10:32:09 PM »

I have been searching (unsuccessfully, I might add) for an online essay which gives a definitive analysis of HB Adams' motivation behind the creation of this book. So far, no good. True, there are articles that analyze or summarize portions of the writing but this is not what I am looking for.

One brief essay gives a hint as to what his real motivation could have been:

'' Like all people, a democratic people loves, perhaps even needs, great men to look up to. At the same time, a democratic society dislikes those who reflect upon the implications of that reverence and who contemplate the place of great men in a democratic world. But exploring that subject had been the Adams family's special mission since John Adams published his Defence of the American Constitutions in 1786. By criticizing American democracy for its failings and foolishness, Henry Adams was serving his nation after his family's tradition. ''


http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0377/is_2002_Spring/ai_84557331/pg_10


Perhaps this might be his real motivation.  And if it is, then the book will serve as a valid revelation as to the USA socio-political shortcomings during that era.
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bosox18d
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« Reply #1533 on: November 22, 2007, 03:36:59 AM »

Happy turkey day to all and Bob what are doing up at 3:35 east coast time.
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Bob
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« Reply #1534 on: November 22, 2007, 09:08:20 AM »

Bosox: I was making Bagels and Coffee  so I could read YOUNG STALIN. Imagine Joe Stalin at 3:30 AM....

Sorry I missed you. Now I'll take you up on the turkey day thing...After I finish posting here I'm going to throw the poor bird into the oven and get things going. I bought a turkey breast instead of a full bird, remembering that fateful day when,unthinking, I placed a 20 pound turkey in the oven and hours and hours later out it came, and I looked at my table and there sat 20 pounds of turkey--one potato, one small can of peas, one carrot , one small can of cranberry sauce and one sweet potato----and said, "What the hell did I do"? I was left with 19 pounds of dead turkey--and I couldn't give it away--even the soup kitchens refused my generous offer. Every day for two weeks----well, you  can figure out the rest----gobble, gobble!!!
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Bob
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« Reply #1535 on: November 22, 2007, 09:35:01 AM »

thanatopsy:

What an apt way to begin a discussion of EDUCATION. Its one of those books which naturally generates  such the question. Why would Henry Adams write such a book, it's really not an autobiography in the standard sense of the word. The publisher threw that subtitle in on his own after Henry died. It's really not a standard history--that's all to obvious. It reads likes a loser's bitch session on why he failed and who and what was responsible for the various failures. It certainly fit his ascerbic personality. He could be insufferable at times. William James ripped the book apart in his review (quite rightly so in my opinion). It makes for difficult reading at times--but I assume in the style of his day it read very well. Why the hell is this book rated as the greatest piece of twentieth century non-fiction? In the first place, it was quickly co-opted by the English Departments of various colleges and they made the determination--they did so be classifying as literature rather than history or non-fiction.

OK--I'm over my usual EDUCATION tirade.

In general I like the book because of his use of the English language and because of the history found in it---so in spite of the criticisms, I countinue to refer to it at times. His portraits of both men and events of his time are so unique--quoted out of context an experienced historian probably can identify them with little effort.

I first read it in part in high school and found it utterly boring (I didn't have the requisite background to understand what it was all about). In college they explained the book sufficiently so I knew where it was coming from and where it was going---then I read the whole thing. Now it's close to a half century later and I'm reading it again and this time I get more of the irony and the humor and the sarcasm--but I'm also getting more of just plain negativity---I'd like to hit the guy at times---but I know  some of the negativity is there to be self deprericating, rather than to come across as a loser. I've also had the opportunity to peruse MONT ST MICHEL & CHARTRES--a real key to undertsanding the book.

Lesson one, I suppose, is to understand just that----the book does not stand by itself, but as the adjunct to, the second volume of, the follow up to MONT ST MICHEL--it is, rather than an autobiography or a memoir--an exposition of Adams's  theory of history---unity vs multiplicity.

I'll end there as this post is enormous...and pick up later in the day with a contiunuation of why Adams wrote his EDUCATION.
« Last Edit: November 22, 2007, 09:38:46 AM by Bob » Logged
thanatopsy
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« Reply #1536 on: November 22, 2007, 05:33:11 PM »


Happy Turkey Day to all:






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weezo
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« Reply #1537 on: November 22, 2007, 07:50:11 PM »

Hope y'all got stuffed today! I did!

Happy Thanksgiving!
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Dzimas
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« Reply #1538 on: November 24, 2007, 02:38:57 PM »

All I have to say, weezo, is that you are missing out on a great book!  Henry Adams lived through perhaps the most exciting time in American History and paints a very intimate portrait of that time.
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weezo
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« Reply #1539 on: November 24, 2007, 07:51:14 PM »

Dzimas,

Thank you for thinking of me. I am enjoying reading the comments on the book and keep saying how glad I am that I decided to skip it. Its not too far back that I read an biography on Teddy Roosevelt and got into the social "cream" there.

I finished The World History of the Basque, Cod, and am working on Salt. I am also starting to think of an History Hat story about Cabezo de Vaca, and am reading that book slowly, looking for a good spot to tarry.

I am also doing study in paleoanthology, to create some science resources for the website, and as an underpining to include the first lessons in World History.



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« Reply #1540 on: November 25, 2007, 04:53:17 AM »

Just started The Basque History of the World and you can certainly tell that Kurlansky's writing improved as he matured.  The beginning is slow and a bit tedious--flat, almost.  I'm hoping things will improve but even if they don't I'll trudge onward.
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weezo
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« Reply #1541 on: November 25, 2007, 07:24:41 AM »

Donot,

I am enjoying reading Kurlansky's books. I had never really heard of the Basque people before reading his history, and I found it quite interesting, including the end of the book which is about the modern developments in this old culture. "Cod" was a very interesting book, although I was not greatly interested in his recipes, but they go with the flow of the book. It was interesting to learn how the history of the American Colonies was influenced by the fishing for this species.
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Bob
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« Reply #1542 on: November 25, 2007, 10:11:01 AM »

Back to EDUCATION:

As pointed out a few days ago  Adams presented EDUCATION  as a sequel to CHARTRES. According to Wills: "He was charting  a decline from medieval unity to modern multipicity, since he had  come to believe  in historical entropy, the fission of things no longer able to cohere." Wills goes into detail  regarding all of this and seems to disagree with the proposition.  For those of you who have HENRY ADAMS AND THE MAKING OF AMERICA, read pages 130, et seq.

This subject can get very deep if you really get into it (and very controversial) but I thought it necessary to bring it out so we can have a clearer view of why the book was written and also why it veers off every once in while on the subject of complexity, unity, diversity and the Virgin Mary.

Adams viewed Medieval Europe as a world of Unity, uniting under the Virgin Mary vand Christianity. With the advent of change and progress the unity disintegrated and  we now live in a world all apart, a world of multipicity and complexity, etc.  It is this world we live in---it is this world which defeated Adams and made him ignorant  and a failure. Donald Hall, in his introduction  to the Mariner Books edition, says: "His education leads to  the conviction of his ignorance and his ignorance  must educate us . Information multiplies ignorance by ignorance. We read Henry Adams to remind us of our ignorance." (I'm not so quite sure I understand this or even agree with it). (EDUCATION, MARINER EDITION, p V)

At the outset we should  understand that Adams wrote it in the third person to appear  less egotistical--and is therefore  more egotistical. "In the end, even self regard is redeemed by irony--and an oppposite becomes its opposite."  "It is not so much a dialect as an inescapable cycle." (EDUCATION, MARINER EDITION, p X) (What do you think Hall was getting at writing such  a thing)?

(Do the question mark go outside the parenthesis, or inside?)?  Help me
« Last Edit: November 25, 2007, 10:18:55 AM by Bob » Logged
Bob
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« Reply #1543 on: November 25, 2007, 10:15:13 AM »

Let's begin the actual discussion with the "Lodge" Introduction--written actually by Adams himself and endorsed by Lodge. Adams did itthis way knowing Lodge would probably be chosen to write the Introduction anway, but wanted to prevent his being too sappy as it were, too flowery and overbearingly adoring--so he wrote his own intro, affixed Lodge's name and that's the way it has stayed ever since.
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« Reply #1544 on: November 25, 2007, 12:34:20 PM »

Bob, just as a side note or what might Donald Hall have been getting at?

As soon as I read your description,"Adams viewed Medieval Europe as a world of Unity, uniting under the Virgin Mary vand Christianity. With the advent of change and progress the unity disintegrated and  we now live in a world all apart, a world of multipicity and complexity, etc. ",

the first thing that I thought of was how back in our primary school days, Marionology became a very well managed response of the Vatican to the Communist control of large areas of formerly Catholic Europe and potentially Catholic Asia.

In doing some background of an Expressionist (the most simple of lines)poem by Brecht in regard to the connection between Potsdam and Verdun, there of course was the famous photo of the Big Three at the Potsdam Conference, and I thought of you luckily reading, Young Stalin.

Which may have more to do, than you at first think, with Donald Hall's statement in the intro to the Education of Henry Adams.  Apparently, Adams was a believer in the aesthetics representing (or,Signifying) the Power (and inherent Goodness) of a Unifying political system. Verdun and Potsdam   ruined or killed that  ideal.
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