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Moral Imagination (Englisch) Gebundene Ausgabe – 29. April 2014

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Pressestimmen

One of "The Times Higher Education Supplement"'s Books of the Year 2014, chosen by Jane Shaw

Longlisted for the 2015 PEN/Diamonstein-Spielvogel Award for the Art of the Essay, Pen American CenterOne of "The Times Higher Education Supplement"'s Books of the Year 2014, chosen by Jane Shaw


Shortlisted for the 2015 PEN/Diamonstein-Spielvogel Award for the Art of the Essay, Pen American Center

One of "The Times Higher Education Supplement"'s Books of the Year 2014, chosen by Jane Shaw


""Moral Imagination" brings together a dozen pieces published over the past twenty years in which [Bromwich] mostly explores the minds of people he admires. There is a particularly fine discussion of Lincoln and the constitutional necessity of the Civil War. There are also spirited attacks on the culture of celebrity and on the chicanery of Dick Cheney, which will have most readers whooping."--Ferdinand Mount, "London Review of Books"

""Moral Imagination" is an important book. . . . [T]he patient reader will be well rewarded by the author's many insights into some of our nation's most pressing concerns."--Walter G. Moss, "History News Network"

Shortlisted for the 2015 PEN/Diamonstein-Spielvogel Award for the Art of the Essay, Pen American Center
One of "The Times Higher Education Supplement"'s Books of the Year 2014, chosen by Jane Shaw

"A historically informed examination of moral imagination and human sympathy, as seen through the lives of such figures as Edmund Burke, Mohandas K. Gandhi and the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr."--Sewell Chan, New York Times

"[T]hey shed much light on the frame of mind in which Bromwich approached the ambiguous figure of Burke in his biography, and even more on how Bromwich is relevant to the politics of our own times. . . . Those who read these essays alongside Bromwich's account of Burke's intellectual and political career will find their eye caught by three topics, all with Burkean overtones, deeply relevant to the present, and handled with Bromwich's characteristic sharpness. . . . Bromwich is particularly sharp on the way government spokesmen wrap the realities of massacre, torture, and gratuitous cruelty in euphemism. . . . The central essays of Bromwich's book are more meditative, and none the worse for it. . . . The final chapter, 'Comments on Perpetual War, ' displays Bromwich's skills as a critic in the tradition of Hazlitt and Orwell."--Alan Ryan, New York Review of Books

"[A] rich and memorable book. . . . Bromwich appears here in his well-established role as a public intellectual, as civilized as he is trenchant, observing with a mixture of dark wit and moral exasperation diverse aspects of the contemporary American scene. He has a good essay, both horrifying and funny, on the destruction of privacy in the modern United States; a remarkable essay on the psychopathology of political ambition; a fine piece questioning 'cultural identity' as a liberal shibboleth."--Seamus Perry, Times Literary Supplement

"Moral Imagination brings together a dozen pieces published over the past twenty years in which [Bromwich] mostly explores the minds of people he admires. There is a particularly fine discussion of Lincoln and the constitutional necessity of the Civil War. There are also spirited attacks on the culture of celebrity and on the chicanery of Dick Cheney, which will have most readers whooping."--Ferdinand Mount, London Review of Books

"Bibliophiles, scholars and concerned citizens--all will find provocation and enlightenment here."--Kirkus Reviews

"Bromwich delivers a probing and incisive collection of essays about culture, politics, imagination, and the war on terror. . . . Moral Imagination is an eloquent, demanding, and fiercely polemical work likely to appeal most to independent-minded readers and scholars alike."--Lee Polevoi, Foreword Reviews

"Bromwich as a stylist belongs to the older, better class. . . . [Moral Imagination] is clearly a product of . . . bracing self-reflection."--Helen Andrews, Books & Culture

"Moral Imagination is an important book. . . . [T]he patient reader will be well rewarded by the author's many insights into some of our nation's most pressing concerns."--Walter G. Moss, History News Network

"Bromwich's book of essays is rich, well-cooked and a most satisfying dish."--Bob Lane, Metapsychology Online Reviews

Shortlisted for the 2015 PEN/Diamonstein-Spielvogel Award for the Art of the Essay, Pen American Center

One of The Times Higher Education Supplement's Books of the Year 2014, chosen by Jane Shaw

"In this collection of essays, Bromwich eschews identity politics and multiculturalism from a 'left' perspective, preferring instead the concept he articulates with the book's title: 'moral imagination.'. . . These essays are demanding but well worth the effort."--Choice

-A historically informed examination of moral imagination and human sympathy, as seen through the lives of such figures as Edmund Burke, Mohandas K. Gandhi and the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.---Sewell Chan, New York Times

-[T]hey shed much light on the frame of mind in which Bromwich approached the ambiguous figure of Burke in his biography, and even more on how Bromwich is relevant to the politics of our own times. . . . Those who read these essays alongside Bromwich's account of Burke's intellectual and political career will find their eye caught by three topics, all with Burkean overtones, deeply relevant to the present, and handled with Bromwich's characteristic sharpness. . . . Bromwich is particularly sharp on the way government spokesmen wrap the realities of massacre, torture, and gratuitous cruelty in euphemism. . . . The central essays of Bromwich's book are more meditative, and none the worse for it. . . . The final chapter, 'Comments on Perpetual War, ' displays Bromwich's skills as a critic in the tradition of Hazlitt and Orwell.---Alan Ryan, New York Review of Books

-[A] rich and memorable book. . . . Bromwich appears here in his well-established role as a public intellectual, as civilized as he is trenchant, observing with a mixture of dark wit and moral exasperation diverse aspects of the contemporary American scene. He has a good essay, both horrifying and funny, on the destruction of privacy in the modern United States; a remarkable essay on the psychopathology of political ambition; a fine piece questioning 'cultural identity' as a liberal shibboleth.---Seamus Perry, Times Literary Supplement

-Moral Imagination brings together a dozen pieces published over the past twenty years in which [Bromwich] mostly explores the minds of people he admires. There is a particularly fine discussion of Lincoln and the constitutional necessity of the Civil War. There are also spirited attacks on the culture of celebrity and on the chicanery of Dick Cheney, which will have most readers whooping.---Ferdinand Mount, London Review of Books

-Bibliophiles, scholars and concerned citizens--all will find provocation and enlightenment here.---Kirkus Reviews

-Bromwich delivers a probing and incisive collection of essays about culture, politics, imagination, and the war on terror. . . . Moral Imagination is an eloquent, demanding, and fiercely polemical work likely to appeal most to independent-minded readers and scholars alike.---Lee Polevoi, Foreword Reviews

-Bromwich as a stylist belongs to the older, better class. . . . [Moral Imagination] is clearly a product of . . . bracing self-reflection.---Helen Andrews, Books & Culture

-Moral Imagination is an important book. . . . [T]he patient reader will be well rewarded by the author's many insights into some of our nation's most pressing concerns.---Walter G. Moss, History News Network

-In this collection of essays, Bromwich eschews identity politics and multiculturalism from a 'left' perspective, preferring instead the concept he articulates with the book's title: 'moral imagination.'. . . These essays are demanding but well worth the effort.---Choice

-Bromwich's book of essays is rich, well-cooked and a most satisfying dish.---Bob Lane, Metapsychology Online Reviews

Buchrückseite

"David Bromwich is the most penetrating cultural critic in contemporary America. No one writes more shrewdly or eloquently about the pathologies of our public discourse. His essays are grounded in a firm grasp of modern intellectual history, but he wears his learning lightly. Moral Imagination reveals Bromwich's extraordinary combination of aesthetic elegance and ethical seriousness, as he dissects the insidious alliance of identity politics, publicity culture, and imperial fantasy--even while he reminds us of the forgotten strengths of our own political tradition. This is a book to treasure for its prose as well as for the power of its insights."--Jackson Lears, author of Rebirth of a Nation

"If multiculturalism were to shed its aspirations to mere correctness, if it were to get an elaboration that kept faith with the liberal vitalities of individual conscience and fulfillment, it would need to give moral imagination a more central role. That is the integration that David Bromwich seeks to attain in these essays as he shrewdly and eloquently gazes upon the past and present of American politics, the speeches and actions of figures ranging from Burke through Lincoln to King and Gandhi, and the prose and poetry of Wordsworth and Dickinson, Woolf and Whitman, and Emerson and Thoreau. Politics is made a loftier subject by such a humane literary scrutiny, even as literature is made more deeply central to our thinking lives."--Akeel Bilgrami, Columbia University

"David Bromwich is one of the most incisive writers in America today. In his rapid, straightforward, and convincing style, he has written an intellectually powerful and morally compelling book, one that is not only urgently needed in the current climate but also has permanent value."--Edward Mendelson, author of The Things That Matter

"For several decades, David Bromwich has stood out among American critics as one of the most daring and knowledgeable challengers of received opinion and orthodoxies. This fresh and timely selection of essays effectively conveys the values which inform Bromwich's provocative cultural and political criticism, and will introduce his bold and cogent moral imagination to a wide readership."--Margery Sabin, Wellesley College

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5.0 von 5 Sternen A magnificent collection 22. Dezember 2016
Von Diana Senechal - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe Verifizierter Kauf
It has taken me some time to put together even a short review of this book--but I have found myself reading and rereading the essays since they landed in my hands. Some of them contend with the American erosion of privacy--and with that, the diminished regard for self and others. They take the reader to Lincoln and Whitman; to various works of literature, philosophy, and film; in short, to exemplars of integrity and perception.

I will say a few words about three favorites: "Moral Imagination," "Lincoln and Whitman as Representative Americans," and "How Publicity Makes People Real."

Moral imagination--the phrase, first used by Burke, may not strike us as odd at first, but David Bromwich begins with its strangeness. The two concepts do not intuitively go together. Morality has to do with real situations, real action; imagination, with what could be. So what, then, is moral imagination? I will not give away the answer here--it's worth reading in full--but I'll hint at what it is not.

On pp. 16-17, Bromwich writes: "A usual mistake of imagination--especially when heated by ambition--is to think of other people as moral objects while regarding oneself as a moral actor." Moral imagination involves a different understanding, which does not lead to self-satisfaction.

The essay on Lincoln and Whitman seems to build on these ideas. What do these two men have in common, and what sets them apart from others? "Lincoln and Whitman respect the people too much to want to flatter them," writes Bromwich on p. 97. "They agree that democracy--to remedy evils which it has itself brought into being--requires a respect more thoroughgoing than can be found in any other system of manners."

What is this respect? It has to do with integrity and individuality--and, as I understand it, with the recognition of that which is hidden in each of us. On p. 100, there is a quote from Whitman, on his impression of Lincoln (I quote the very end here): "He bow'd and smiled, but far beneath his smile I noticed well the expression I have alluded to. None of the artists or pictures has caught the deep, though subtle and indirect expression of this man's face. There is something else there." This passage highlights not Lincoln's expression as much as Whitman's perception. The ability to perceive "something else there" inheres in moral imagination itself.

But what happens to a people that feels compelled to put itself "out there" for everyone to see? What compromises and deceptions are involved in publicizing yourself? The essay "How Publicity Makes People Real" examines this in an eerie light. Not only do people crave publicity--but publicity, in a perverse sense, allows people to express things they would not express in private. "We have yet to reckon with the novel fact," he writes on p. 223, "that the media have been so naturalized in the lives of many that they are now widely understood to intercede for us." The word "intercede" is essential here. If, by baring yourself (or some approved version of yourself), you achieve intercession, and with that, expiation, what happens to the person who refuses to participate? The private person, the one who "resists the gaze of mass culture," will be "classified as opaque, unreliable, even (in some hard-to-capture sense) potentially hurtful to normal people" (p. 226).

What happens to the one who does submit to the public gaze? The expiation does not do the trick (since it brings new humiliation) so the person submits himself again and again. This comes across disturbingly (and hilariously) in Irving Feldman's poem "Interrupted Prayers," to which I was first introduced in this essay. I won't give it away--it's worth reading in full and in this book.

What is the cause of this great publicity push? From p. 248: "The culture of mediation has been clamoring for a long time to effect once and for all the good it wants: faster beginnings, more efficient paths all the way into our lives." Yes, this is efficiency writ large and tiny; those who comply will get swift rewards and stamps of approval, while those who resist will be excluded, subtly and slowly, from that which poses as real.

This seems gloomy indeed, but the essay points to possible responses. In particular, one can maintain *interest* in one's life, interest that does not depend on others' approval: "But one kind of moral life depends on the possibility that, even in what we do not say, even in what we do not come to be known for, we remain interesting to ourselves" (p. 249). This is not self-absorption; to the contrary, it has to do with intellectual (and emotional) delight, continuance, and questioning, for the sake of something other than the public puffing of self.

There is much more to this book--and to these particular essays--than I have begun to suggest here. They give hope in that they suggest what integrity can be. They offer education at its best.
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3.0 von 5 Sternen between conscience and community 5. August 2014
Von Kenrick Hackett Jr. - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe Verifizierter Kauf
David Bromwich is always interesting to read, but he is so erudite that his style often becomes a barrier to accessibility. In other words, he is not alway easy to read, but what he says is always illuminating. His is not a religious voice, and he makes no bones about this; but he is a profoundly moral writer and he is drawn to topics in which moral issues are invariably involved. He spends a great deal of time as well, gnawing at the bone of tension between an individual's responsibility to his conscience and to his community. This, I think, is why he has been drawn to Edmund Burke.
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5.0 von 5 Sternen Excellent essays. An eliptical writingstyle so I mut some ... 29. April 2015
Von Erwin Hargrove - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe Verifizierter Kauf
Excellent essays. An eliptical writingstyle so I mut some of the nuances. But a proundunderstanding ofpoliticss.
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1.0 von 5 Sternen caveat emptor 30. Dezember 2016
Von Richard - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe Verifizierter Kauf
A "terrible" writer... an academic who should actually think about "how" he's going to say something before saying it. One of those books where you thumb through it desperately seeking out something clear enough to understand AND at least interesting enough to get you through a large coffee. The days of "trying" to be abstruse are over. It's boring and impresses no one - well, except maybe the author.
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5.0 von 5 Sternen A Thoroughly Satisfying Work 22. April 2014
Von Michael H.Friedman - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verifizierter Kauf
I read David Bromwich for the same reason I read Stanley Cavell: both instruct through elegance; both provoke with nuance. With each we are in the hands of masters of prose with minds as sharp as razors.

Michael H. Friedman
Philadelphia
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