Lives of the Mind: The Use and Abuse of Intelligence from Hegel to Wodehouse

Overview

Mr. Kimball, one of the best of our cultural critics, offers a lively and penetrating study of genius?and pseudo-genius?at work, and investigates the use and abuse of intelligence. Drawing on figures as various as Plutarch and Hegel, Kierkegaard and P.G. Wodehouse, Elias Canetti and Anthony Trollope, he provides a sharply observed tour of Western intellectual and artistic aspiration. A master of the genre, as collections of his pieces attest, none more impressively than this ...
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Overview

Mr. Kimball, one of the best of our cultural critics, offers a lively and penetrating study of genius—and pseudo-genius—at work, and investigates the use and abuse of intelligence. Drawing on figures as various as Plutarch and Hegel, Kierkegaard and P.G. Wodehouse, Elias Canetti and Anthony Trollope, he provides a sharply observed tour of Western intellectual and artistic aspiration. A master of the genre, as collections of his pieces attest, none more impressively than this set. —Booklist Starred Review
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Editorial Reviews

Choice
Kimball does a very good job of integrating the lives of his subjects with the development of their ideas.
New York Sun
[Kimball] writes with verve and can unpack complex arguments and make them luminously clear….His work…is criticism at its best.
Review Of Metaphysics
Kimball’s…essays make for bracing and satisfying reading.
— Virgil Nemoianu
Sewanee Review
Rich and accessible essays.... Kimball writes with verve...
The Weekly Standard
Lives of the Mind is a work of generous humanity.
CHOICE
Kimball does a very good job of integrating the lives of his subjects with the development of their ideas.
Weekly Standard
Lives of the Mind is a work of generous humanity.
Wall Street Journal
We rely on the true critic to cultivate our intelligence, refine our tastes, and show us the way to higher pleasures. Roger Kimball is just such a critic.
— Miller, Mark
Virginia Quarterly
Anyone interested in language, thought, and their sociocultural embeddness will find this a both dynamic and practical book.
Review of Metaphysics - Virgil Nemoianu
Kimball’s…essays make for bracing and satisfying reading.
The Wall Street Journal - Mark Miller
We rely on the true critic to cultivate our intelligence, refine our tastes, and show us the way to higher pleasures. Roger Kimball is just such a critic.
New York Sun
[Kimball] writes with verve and can unpack complex arguments and make them luminously clear....His work...is criticism at its best.
Virginia Quarterly Review
Anyone interested in language, thought, and their sociocultural embeddness will find this a both dynamic and practical book.
Reformation and Revival Journal
...An engaging and well-written study....Excellent.
Wall Street Journal
Elegant and informed essays on giants of Western culture.
Weekly Standard
A work of generous humanity.
National Review
Kimball's discussion of philosophers is astonishingly well informed.
Washington Post
A sharp-tongued yet learned essayist.
Booklist Starred Review
One of the best kinds of writing about writing...is the cultural review article….Kimball is a master of the genre.
Choice
[Kimball's] book offers intelligent and witty reflections....quite enjoyable to read....For the intelligent reader and the specialist on holiday.
Washington Times
Mr. Kimball writes with insight and verve on a remarkable wide range of artistic, literary, and philosophical matters.
SEWANEE REVIEW
...Rich and accessible essays....Kimball writes with verve...
Publishers Weekly
Kimball, a respected critic and managing editor of the New Criterion, applies the pornography standard to intelligence in this collection of essays about famous men and their smarts: it's hard to define, but he knows it when he sees it. "[I]ntelligence," Kimball writes, "like fire, is a power that is neither good nor bad in itself but rather takes its virtue, its moral coloring, from its application." Among the figures the author identifies as having constructively applied their intelligence are Plutarch (who taught us about character), Kierkegaard ("the supreme anatomist of the aesthetic mode of life"), Wittgenstein (for whom philosophy was an "existential imperative") and, of course, Descartes. (Apparently, real intelligence requires a Y chromosome). Kimball notes that in these studies the heroes "rather outweigh the villains," but a little more abuse might have helped liven things up. The personal bits-Kimball's sickbed discovery of Wodehouse, or Trollope's account of his schoolyard woes-stand out brightly in essays that are earnest and rigorous, if occasionally a bit dry. (Oct. 25) Copyright 2003 Cahners Business Information.
The Wall Street Journal
We rely on the true critic to cultivate our intelligence, refine our tastes, and show us the way to higher pleasures. Roger Kimball is just such a critic.
— Mark Miller
The Wall Street Journal - Mark Miller
We rely on the true critic to cultivate our intelligence, refine our tastes, and show us the way to higher pleasures. Roger Kimball is just such a critic.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781566634793
  • Publisher: Dee, Ivan R. Publisher
  • Publication date: 10/15/2002
  • Pages: 384
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 8.64 (h) x 1.29 (d)

Meet the Author

Roger Kimball is managing editor of the New Criterion and an art critic for the London Spectator. His other books include Art's Prospect, Experiments Against Reality, The Long March, and Tenured Radicals. He lives in South Norwalk, Connecticut.
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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Raymond Aron and the Power of Ideas 3
Plutarch and the Issue of Character 18
"Strange Seriousness": Discovering Daumier 37
Walter Bagehot: The Greatest Victorian 52
What's Left of Descartes? 81
Schiller's "Education" 101
The Difficulty With Hegel 119
Schopenhauer's Worlds 140
What Did Kierkegaard Want? 156
George Santayana 178
Wittgenstein: The Philosophical Porcupine 201
Bertrand Russell: Apostle of Disillusionment 222
Who Was David Stove? 246
Tocqueville Today 275
Anthony Trollope: A Novelist Who Hunted the Fox 293
G. C. Lichtenberg: A "Spy on Humanity" 316
The Genius of Wodehouse 330
The Mystery of Charles Peguy 353
Index 367
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