In the American Grain Essay

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By virtue of its insistently recuperative strategy, Williams's book affirms what Donato, by way of Kojève, and White each in their own ways suspect about the necessarily ironic condition of post-Hegelian history: In The American Grain is decidedly a post-historical history, for Williams deems the present which animates it to have its origins in a past which keeps repeating itself into the present. His twentieth-century America, that is, represents a cultural moment whose immediacy is grounded in the forms of a past tradition which is its central source, so that the present is conceived as a kind of dead representation of a deadening history.

But if Williams claims for his book the status of "history" (albeit a history redefined by its own rethinking of the word), we need to ask what kind of history it in fact produces. If it is aimed at protecting contemporary culture...

(read more from the Critical Essay #4 section)

This section contains 1,585 words
(approx. 4 pages at 400 words per page)
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In the American Grain from Nonfiction Classics for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.