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Experiments Against Reality: The Fate of Culture in the Postmodern Age Paperback – January 15, 2002
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Stylish, richly allusive, and immensely readable...an invaluable collection. (John Gross)
One of the most candid and perceptive critics of American culture. (Gertrude Himmelfarb Times Literary Supplement)
A model of investigative advocacy of argumentation, principles, and responsibility...a superb performance. (Robert McDowell Hudson Review)
A scathing critic but one whose tirades are usually justified...his intellectual rigor is refreshing. (Catherine Saint Louis The New York Times)
His position is conservative but not reactionary, humanistic but not populist, fresh but never trendy. (John Simon)
A book you will relish and applaud. Roger Kimball's essays on recent poets and thinkers...are as wise as they are elegantly written. (Martin Gardner)
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Top Customer Reviews
"Experiments..." is highly similar to "Lives of the Mind" in its ecletic choice of subject matter. Unlike "The Long March," it is not uniformly guided by a single theme but this does not decrease its educational merit.
I should also state that this is not a partisan book. It's for intellectuals of all stripes but is particularly valuable to those who cherish our culture and western civilization. Enjoy, I wish I could read these essays for the first time all over again.
On the whole my reading experience was satisfactory, due more to Kimball's style than content. I've been moved to check out anew some of the author's he speaks about in the reviews, and I'm all for supporting an author who's done so much to bring the reading public's attention to David Stove. I might even suggest that someone jump right to Stove's work, especially the stunning volume edited by Kimball.
Contrasting Stove to Kimball is useful in illustrating why Kimball is not quite as enjoyable to read. Both are cultural warriors, with an obvious axe to grind from the right. While Kimball is easier to digest (he never reaches Stove's scathing pitch), you can't help but suspect that's partly because he has more sacred cows to protect. Stove doesn't leave anything worth skewering off the barbecue, not even religious inanery. Interestingly, Kimball liberally utilizes Stove arguments in his attacks, but ignores those that might land unfavorably on his own shoulders.
But very high shoulders they are, the writing is first rate, and his understanding can sometimes awe you. He's a proper heir to much of modernisms archness. If he isn't a British citizen, perhaps he should be made an honorary one.
The essays on T.E. Hulme Muriel Spark, Josef Pieper, James Fitzjames Stephen, and Robert Musil are outstanding among a uniformly excellent collection. I recommend them strongly for those who have no familiarity with these writers.
The examinations of Foucault and E.M. Cioran are of such quality that their admirers will remember his essays with violent emotions long after they have abandoned their subjects for even more flapdoodlious energumens. Kimball's style in dealing with such freaks is exactly right. He does not strain himself to tease some arcane significance out of their dramatic posturings. He does not treat them as PostMod Titans. He recognizes them as the pus and vomit of a sick culture and applies the antiseptic of wit, clarity, and logic.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The book elucidates post-modern culture for the absurdities it proffers as serious thought. A little reflection is all that's needed realize that he's not making this up!Published on December 6, 2013 by Mike Dodaro
In these essays, Kimball examines the influences that have shaped our 21st century culture, re-evaluating prominent authors and philosophers who have contributed to and commented... Read morePublished on December 24, 2009 by Peter Uys
Reality has a bad habit of sneaking up on its deniers and biting them on the rump. In EXPERIMENTS AGAINST REALITY, Roger Kimball traces a straight line progression of thought in... Read morePublished on October 17, 2008 by Martin Asiner