American Jeremiad / Edition 1

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'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, in the New York Review of Books
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Sacvan Bercovitch is a giant in American Studies. This book was his first classic work—and others followed. He stands alongside Perry Miller and F. O. Matthiessen as indispensable figures in our understanding of American civilization.”—Cornel West, Princeton University

“A deeply learned, revolutionary break with the dominant consensus models from Perry Miller through F. O. Matthiessen, The American Jeremiad rediscovered the prophetic core of American literature and culture, and it demonstrated how fully our national identity has been forged from conflicted narratives of self-examination and redemption. The author’s brilliant and searching new preface brings this classic work boldly into the twenty-first century.”—Eric J. Sundquist, Johns Hopkins University

“For more than three decades, Sacvan Bercovitch's work has both charted the most promising path and posed the most profound challenge to the academic project of radical political critique of U.S. literature and culture. So long as ‘change we can believe in’ amounts, by definition, to ‘forms of renewal that confirm the basic tenets of the system,’ as Bercovitch deftly puts it in his new preface to this classic study, The American Jeremiad will remain new and necessary.”—Evan Carton, University of Texas at Austin  

“With Perry Miller—perhaps his only company—Sacvan Bercovitch stands above everyone else as America’s cultural and intellectual historian, and this new edition of The American Jeremiad, with its powerfully updated preface, is a striking reminder of that enduring fact.”—Frank Lentricchia, Duke University

“A truly seminal book. . . . the most illuminating study of the root paradigm of American culture yet written.”—Victor Turner, University of Virginia

The American Jeremiad is by far the finest work in American studies of a generation. The scale and ambition of its agenda—its daring attempt to see the ideology of America whole—is one we have since shied away from, but this new edition, with Bercovitch’s incisive, brilliant, and eloquent new preface, will certainly provoke and may well inspire still another generation.”—Christopher Looby, University of California at Los Angeles

“This welcome new edition of The American Jeremiad makes available a major classic of American literary and cultural criticism. In his hard-hitting new preface, Bercovitch usefully reformulates and updates the book’s cogent critique of how opposition in America has a way of becoming a celebration of America.”—Gerald Graff, former president of the Modern Language Association

 “A dazzling performance. It supplies conceptual links between phenomena where historians have often sensed a connection without being able to describe it adequately, between the Great Awakening and the Revolution, between Edwards and Emerson, between the Puritan vision of a city on a hill and the ‘manifest destiny’ of American expansion . . . [Bercovitch] has written intellectual history at the highest level.”—Edmund S. Morgan, New York Review of Books

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780299073541
  • Publisher: University of Wisconsin Press
  • Publication date: 9/28/1980
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 256
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Sacvan Bercovitch is the Powell M. Cabot Research Professor of American Literature at Harvard University. A fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, he is a former president of the American Studies Association and the general editor of the eight-volume Cambridge History of American Literature.

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Table of Contents


1 Introduction: The Puritan Errand Reassessed

2 The Blessings of Time and Eternity

3 The Genetics of Salvation

4 The Typology of America's Mission

5 Ritual of Consensus

6 Epilogue: The Symbol of America



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