September 25, 2012
November 6, 2012
Gilbert Seldes's own introduction to The Stammering Century nicely illustrates the range of interest and verve of expression that make it such a fascinating and enduring work of history. Seldes writes:
This book is not a record of the major events in American history during the nineteenth century. It is concerned with minor movements, with the cults and manias of that period. Its personages are fanatics, and radicals, and mountebanks. Its intention is to connect these secondary movements and figures with the primary forces of the century, and to supply a background in American history for the cults and manias of our own time: The Prohibitionists and the Pentecostalists; the diet-faddists and the dealers in mail-order Personality; the play censors and the Fundamentalists; the free-lovers and eugenists; the cranks and possibly the saints. Sects, cults, manias, movements, fads, religious excitements, and the relation of each of these to the others and to the orderly progress of America are the subject.
Which is a subject, we can safely say, that is as timely today as it was when Seldes wrote in 1928. But Seldes's book is evergreen not just because our own century is still a stammering one. The book lives above all because, whether talking about a great figure like Jonathan Edwards or the celibate sect of Rappites or the messianic murderer Robert Matthews (a.k.a. Matthias), The Stammering Century is a model of exposition and a straight-out delight to read.
[CE1]COMP: set this paragraph as extract
Genre: History, Social Science
Sub-Genre: Social History, United States / 19th Century, Customs + Traditions
- Genre: History, Social Science
- Subgenre: United States / 19th Century, Social History, Customs + Traditions
- Language: English
- Author: Gilbert Seldes
- Online Item #: 14186003
- Store Item Number (DPCI): 248-80-7646
- ISBN: 9781590175804
- Item can be gift wrapped.
- Made in the USA or Imported