Hardback - £88.00

Publication date:

26 May 2011

Length of book:

282 pages


Lexington Books

ISBN-13: 9780739122648

Individualism: The Cultural Logic of Modernity explores ideas of the modern sovereign individual in the western cultural tradition. Divided into two sections, this volume surveys the history of western individualism in both its early and later forms: chiefly from the sixteenth to the eighteenth centuries, and then individualism in the twentieth century.
These essays boldly challenge not only the exclusionary framework and self-assured teleology, but also the metaphysical certainty of that remarkably tenacious narrative on "the rise of the individual." Some essays question the correlation of realist characterization to the eighteenth-century British novel, while others champion the continuing political relevance of selfhood in modernist fiction over and against postmodern nihilism. Yet others move to the foreground underappreciated topics, such as the role of courtly cultures in the development of individualism. Taken together, the essays provocatively revise and enrich our understanding of individualism as the generative premise of modernity itself. Authors especially considered include Locke, Defoe, Freud, and Adorno.
The essays in this volume first began as papers presented at a conference of the American Comparative Literature Association held at Princeton University. Among the contributors are Nancy Armstrong, Deborah Cook, James Cruise, David Jenemann, Lucy McNeece, Vivasvan Soni, Frederick Turner, and Philip Weinstein.
The Cultural Logic of Modernity is a refreshing and timely collection of essays on the issue of individualism, its content and its history. It combines particular case-studies with a rethinking of the terms of the modern debate on the nature of the self. It draws on the central discussion that has followed Nietzsche, and includes Lukacs and the Frankfurt School, on the challenge of finding meaning in secular modernity. It does so intelligently and informedly.