Imagining the East from the Colonial Era through the Twentieth Century
Publication Year: 2011
Published by: University of Massachusetts Press
Table of Contents
The only transcendental experience available at the Cooper Union is in the classroom, so thanks are due to the transcendent students in my seminar on the American Orient, especially Janice Chu, Ugla Hauksd
During the days of Lewis and Clark, Americans held out the hope of an easy way west, a path across the continent to the Pacific that would unify the nascent nation and connect its western verge to the wealthy, civilized cities of the Atlantic coast. The quest for the Northwest Passage was also driven by the dream of reaching the Far East, of extending the western reach of America so far that it became east again, a destiny more mingled than manifest, perhaps, but one that would at last achieve what Columbus had set out to accomplish. For centuries...
1. The Eighteenth Century: From Politics to Theology
In early America, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, and John Adams, no less than their European counterparts, all took an interest in the various Orients of the eighteenth century. All three were aware of the political import of Confucius, who entered into American political thought mainly by way of the great European philosophes that the nation’s founders admired and respected: Leibniz, Condorcet, Voltaire, and...
2. The Nineteenth Century: From Theology to Scholarship
John Adams’s discovery of William Jones in 1817 and his distant relative Hannah Adams’s publication of the fourth and final edition of her celebrated dictionary in the same year occur at a critical moment in the history of the American Orient. Both Adamses looked to the authority of mythographic scholarship to support their own presuppositions about the value of traditional Christianity. Their...
3. The Fin de Si
During the last third of the nineteenth century, with the demise of the last shogunate in 1867, Japan broke with its feudal past and began to join the community of modern nations. When the Meiji dynasty was restored the following year, it undertook a systematic program of modernization, encouraging scientists and educators from the West to come to Japan and share their knowledge. Around the...
4. The Twentieth Century I: From Aesthetics to Modernism
The Yankee experience in Japan repeats the presuppositions of the fin de siècle and the aesthetic school but with significant variations: yes, beauty exists for the sake of beauty, and art is mostly an end in itself; at the same time, however, the aesthetic sphere has the potential to affect the world at large—not in an immediate social...
5. The Twentieth Century II: From Modernism to Mass Culture
One of the paradoxes of American literary modernism which orientalism helps to illuminate is the conflicted attitude that modernists have about modernity. Conservative political values, even reactionary political values, can coexist with the most advanced forms of aesthetic innovations. The expression of...
After more than two centuries, the American Orient remains a steady presence in the social and cultural life of the nation. From the earliest conflation of Confucianism with absolutist politics and rationalist morality to the nineteenth-century incorporation of Hinduism into Unitarian theology and transcendentalist philosophy...
Page Count: 304
Publication Year: 2011
OCLC Number: 794700477
MUSE Marc Record: Download for American Orient