ISBN is

978-0-8203-2956-7 / 0820329568

Henry Adams & the Southern Question (Mercer University Lamar Memorial Lectures)

by O'Brien, Michael

Publisher:University of Georgia Press

Edition:Softcover

Language:English

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About the book:

“Strictly, the Southerner had no mind; he had temperament. He was not a scholar; he had no intellectual training; he could not analyze an idea, and he could not even conceive of admitting two. This judgment, rendered in The Education of Henry Adams, may be the most quoted of Adamss writings on the South. However, it is far from the only one of his beliefs that helped to shape a national outlook on the region from the late antebellum period to the present.

Thinking about the South, says Michael OBrien, was “part of being an Adams. In this book OBrien shows how Adams (grandson of President John Quincy Adams and great-grandson of President John Adams) looked at the region during various phases of his life. OBrien explores the cultural and familial impulses behind those views and locates them in American intellectual history. He begins with the young Henry Adams, who served as his fathers secretary in the House of Representatives during the secession crises of 1860-1861 and in the American embassy in London during and after the Civil War, until 1868.

OBrien then covers a number of topics relevant to Adamss outlook on the South, including his residency in that deceptively “southern city, Washington, D.C.; his journalism on the Reconstruction-era South; his biographical or historical works on the Virginians John Randolph, Thomas Jefferson, and James Madison; and his two novels, especially Democracy. Finally, OBrien ponders the vein of southern self-criticism--exemplified by Wilbur J. Cashs Mind of the South--that embraces the notorious slur so often quoted from The Education of Henry Adams.

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