Cultivation Of Hatred

Overview

With the same sweep, authority, and originality that marked his best-selling Freud: A Life for Our Time, Peter Gay here takes us on a remarkable journey through middle-class Victorian culture.Gay's search through middle-class Victorian culture, illuminated by lively portraits of such daunting figures as Bismarck, Darwin and his acolytes, George Eliot, and the great satirists Daumier and Wilhelm Busch, covers a vast terrain: the relations between men and women, wit, demagoguery, and much more. We discover the ...

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The Cultivation of Hatred: The Bourgeois Experience: Victoria to Freud (The Bourgeois Experience: Victoria to Freud)

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Overview

With the same sweep, authority, and originality that marked his best-selling Freud: A Life for Our Time, Peter Gay here takes us on a remarkable journey through middle-class Victorian culture.Gay's search through middle-class Victorian culture, illuminated by lively portraits of such daunting figures as Bismarck, Darwin and his acolytes, George Eliot, and the great satirists Daumier and Wilhelm Busch, covers a vast terrain: the relations between men and women, wit, demagoguery, and much more. We discover the multiple ways in which the nineteenth century at once restrained aggressive behavior and licensed it.Aggression split the social universe into insiders and outsiders. "By gathering up communities of insiders," Professor Gay writes, the Victorians "discovered—only too often invented—a world of strangers beyond the pale, of individuals and classes, races and nations it was perfectly proper to debate, patronize, ridicule, bully, exploit, or exterminate." The aggressions so channeled or bottled could not be contained forever. Ultimately, they exploded in the First World War.

Renowned historian Peter Gay examines the "inner life" of the middle class, depicting a bourgeoisie far more open and far less hypocritical than its critics have maintained. The figures on these pages include Dickens, Flaubert, Delacroix, Millet, Bocklin, George Eliot, William James and more. Photos.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Gay believes that the Victorian bourgeoisie, and 19th-century Europe's middle classes generally, were much more introspective and prone to self-exploration than is commonly assumed. Using the autobiographies or memoirs of John Stuart Mill, George Sand, Goethe, Edmund Gosse and Thomas Carlyle, he charts a passion for self-scrutiny that made public these writers' inner struggles with belief, faith and emotion. His survey of private letters and diaries subverts the notion that Victorians regarded the male as coolly reasoning and the female as an emotional being. Yale history professor emeritus Gay (The Enlightenment) argues that Dickens, Henry James, Dostoevsky and Tolstoy enlarged the inner domain, while Eugene Sue, French serial novelist, and Karl May, German producer of potboilers, also nourished middle-class fantasies and helped shape identities. Among painters, he spotlights individualists such as Van Gogh, Courbet, James Ensor and Caspar David Friedrich, who gave fresh impetus to self-revelation. This fourth volume in Gay's The Bourgeois Experience: Victoria to Freud is a scholarly yet engrossing, enormously rich exploration of 19th-century self-discovery. (Sept.)
Library Journal
The fourth volume of Gay's "The Bourgeois Experience" (after Education of the Senses, Oxford Univ. Pr., 1984; The Tender Passion, LJ 2/15/86; and The Cultivation of Hatred, LJ 9/1/93) focuses on the 19th-century bourgeois preoccupation with the self. The author examines "the democratization of romantic love, the fashion for autobiography, biography, history, and imaginative fiction, the claims of art and music as aids to introspection," as well as the explosion of diary keeping and letter writing to explore the century's infatuation with "the more or less naked heart." This he puts into various contexts-reactions against 18th-century rationalism, increasing acceptance of romantic attitudes, the history and ambivalent nature of autobiography and diary keeping, and so on. Although much of this is familiar, Gay's discussions of specifics (especially in German literature and art) individualize and enliven his themes. A book to be read more for the measured unfolding of its magisterial perspectives than for groundbreaking or flashy revaluations; recommended for academic and larger public libraries.-Richard Kuczkowski, Dominican Coll., Blauvelt, N.Y.
Kirkus Reviews
With sweep, erudition, and insight, Gay (History/Yale Reading Freud, 1990, etc.), in this third volume of a projected five-book history of middle-class culture in 19th-century Europe and America (The Tender Passion, 1986; Education of the Senses, 1983), explores aggression as both a constructive and destructive force in Victorian life. The Victorians were so ambivalent toward aggression, Gay says, that they found alibis for it—organizing it in sports or duels; channeling it into economic or political activity; institutionalizing it in a cult of manliness (the courtly ideal of proving oneself through conflict, epitomized in Teddy Roosevelt); and projecting it on "the other" (Dreyfus in France, blacks in America), toward whom aggression was acceptable. The "pathologies" of repressed aggression were acted out in ritualized retribution, with punishment ranging from floggings to public executions; in sadomasochistic eroticism; and in suicide. Aggression also played a central role in the emergence of political culture among the middle classes and in the opposition between democrats and demagogues. Women, the "powerful weaker sex," domesticated aggression and the struggle for power, directing their aggressive energies into prolific writing. Positive contemporary expressions of aggression included varieties of laughter from Dickens to Daumier; varieties of militancy—wars against poverty, ignorance, disease, unbelief; and various manifestations in social service, education, sports, industry, even in the use of statistics. Gay extends the meaning of aggression itself in a discussion of the development of professions, of the division of labor, of the rise of a literature of advice, andof versions of neurosis that reflected a growing belief in the civil wars within the self. The First World War itself appears here as a massive expression of the internalized or repressed aggression of the previous century. An appendix covers theories of aggression. His argument is occasionally untidy, perhaps simplistic, but Gay proves here to be fascinating, original, and humane—a genial guide even when so concerned with conflict.
From Barnes & Noble
In this remarkable journey through an age of belief-shaking new ideas, inventions, & discoveries, familiar figures loom large, from Darwin & Daumier to George Sand & Florence Nightingale, from Louis Napoleon & Teddy Roosevelt to Dickens & Zola. B&W illus.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780393312249
  • Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 8/1/1993
  • Series: Bourgeois Experience: Victoria to Freud Series
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 716
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Peter Gay is the author of more than twenty-five books, including the National Book Award winner The Enlightenment, the best-selling Weimar Culture, and the widely translated Freud: A Life for Our Time. He lives in New York City.

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