The American Jeremiad

The American Jeremiad This is a dazzling performance It supplies conceptual links between phenomena where historians have often sensed a connection without being able to describe it adequately Bercovitch has written intell

  • Title: The American Jeremiad
  • Author: Sacvan Bercovitch
  • ISBN: 9780299073541
  • Page: 392
  • Format: Paperback
  • This is a dazzling performance It supplies conceptual links between phenomena where historians have often sensed a connection without being able to describe it adequately Bercovitch has written intellectual history at the highest level Edmund S Morgan, New York Review of Books

    One thought on “The American Jeremiad”

    1. A difficult but highly ambitious and wide-ranging book that outlines a continuity of "rhetoric and ritual" from the Puritans through the writers of the American Renaissance. Centered around the literary form of the Jeremiad, Bercovitch stresses the American innovation to the millennial vision, which fused the figural and the literal in ambiguous synthesis. He ends with an examination of the "Symbol of America" which still seems relevant to our national political discourse today.

    2. Bercovitch's book is an American Studies classic, so it shouldn't surprise anyone that its project is both unworkably broad and overreaching. The rhetorical arc Bercovitch traces is a good and useful find, but his ambitious assertion that the Jeremiad precludes history (re: change) by virtue of BEING America's history is truistic and over the top.

    3. A few weeks after Sacvan Bercovitch died, in December 2014, a New York Times obituary identified him as a scholar of New England Puritanism. That designation always struck me as proof of a profound misunderstanding of Bercovitch's work. He often wrote about the Puritans--and nowhere more effectively than in The American Jeremiad--but he was always after bigger fish. For Bercovitch, Puritan literature was the means to a very particular and radical end. In his life's work, Bercovitch tried to expl [...]

    4. Interesting look at the extended impact of the Puritan rhetorical form of the American Jeremiad. Looking at the American Jeremiad as a ritual, Bercovitch traces the evolution of its rhetoric as a mode of socialization that ultimately shaped middle class American culture.

    5. A most soppy soporific. Maybe it's irresponsible to discount the important/influential role this work has played within the field of American Studies, but I could not get through three pages in a row without falling asleep.

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