Cover

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pp. 1-1

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. 2-7

Contents

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pp. vii-9

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Foreword

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pp. ix-xi

At an American Studies Association session honoring David Noble some years ago, the most arresting tribute came from the Chicana feminist Dr. Edén Torres, a former student of David’s. Torres allowed that in her early encounters with him she harbored doubts about what...

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Acknowledgments

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pp. xiii-15

My greatest debt is to my wife, Gail. She is a student of American cultures, and we have never-ending conversations about themes in this book. She translates my handwriting into print and in doing so makes important editorial suggestions about particular words, sentences,...

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Chapter 1: Two-World Metaphors, From Plato To Alan Greenspan

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pp. 1-23

Why do modern people believe that there will be perpetual economic growth? The answer I present in this book is that such a utopian belief is the necessary foundation for bourgeois culture. One can imagine the existence of modern middle classes only as long as the...

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Chapter 2: Historians Against History

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pp. 25-53

The American Founding Fathers had defined their revolution in negative terms. They had made an exodus from an old world of artful culture to a new world of artless nature. They had escaped timeful societies to achieve harmony with timeless space. They also...

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Chapter 3: Economists Discover A New New World

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pp. 55-87

Sacvan Bercovitch, in his The American Jeremiad (1978), argued that the first English settlers coming to North America believed they had received a promise from the Divinity. They were promised that they were entering a land of timeless harmony. When they...

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Chapter 4: Literary Critics Become Cultural Critics

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pp. 89-119

When I started my graduate work at Wisconsin I planned to focus on American intellectual history. My adviser, Merle Curti, encouraged me to substitute courses in American literature and in America philosophy for the usual requirement of a cluster of courses...

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Chapter 5: Ecologists On Why History Will Never End

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pp. 121-148

The relationship of science to the current middle-class world is one of monumental irony. From the Renaissance to the Enlightenment, bourgeois men in Europe and in their American colonies appealed to the authority of their new science to demonstrate that...

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Chapter 6: When Prophecy Fails

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pp. 149-177

Irrational Exuberance is the title of a book published in 2000. The author, Robert Shiller, is an economist. He was responding to what he called the “herd behavior” of people in the 1990s. Why, he asked, did so many intelligent people believe they were entering a “New Era”...

Notes

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pp. 179-195

Index

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pp. 197-204

About the authors

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pp. 206-221