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Thomas Bender
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $30.00
Kindle Price: $16.14
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Sold by: Random House LLC

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Book Description

New York Intellect is Thomas Bender's remarkable look at the connections between the life of a city and the life of the mind. New York has never been comfortable or convenient as a milieu for art and intellect, Bender notes. Yet New Yorkers have always struggled to create institutions and styles of thought and writing that reflect the special character of the city, its boundless energies and deep divisions.

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

"There is nothing new in New York: everybody is driving after money as usual," wrote Samuel F.B. Morse to James Fenimore Cooper. Yet Morseinventor, painter and arts organizerexemplified what Bender calls the city's "literary culture," which democratically modeled itself on Paris. The author, a New York University professor, identifies two other distinct subcultures in the pageant of the city's intellectual history. The earliest, which harked back to Edinburgh, brought together men of letters, businessmen and professionals in organizations like the Friendly Club. After the Civil War, an "academic culture" modeled itself on the German research university. Bender's theme is the role of intellect in shaping a pluralistic society, and he carries his story through the postwar era when New York City, as an international capital of culture, went from being a mere importer of modernism to a crucible of change.
Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

This ambitious undertaking attempts to chart the intellectual development of New York City from its modest colonial origins to its 20th-century flowering as a unique world center for arts, ideas, culture, and creativity. Though numerous bits and pieces of New York's journey towards intellectual ascendancy are commonly known, Bender (History, NYU) does far more than merely list and describe the thousands of institutions and individuals involved in that journey. He skillfully analyzes the intersection of social, political, and economic factors as they shaped the intellectual life of the city over time. All except the tiniest public and academic libraries will wish to acquire this important title. Mark R. Yerburgh, Trinity Coll. Lib., Burlington, Vt.
Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Product Details

  • File Size: 1659 KB
  • Print Length: 422 pages
  • Publisher: Knopf; 1st edition (April 24, 2013)
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00C4BA3JQ
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,360,390 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the intellectual style of a city March 30, 2000
In New York Intellect, Thomas Bender provides a guide to the history of intellectual life in America's cultural capital. He takes it through three phases which are based on the preoccupations of the city's intelligentsia during different periods: first, a city in which cultural institutions brought together an intellectual elite, next, a city with an explicitly literary orientation, and finally, the international capital of culture with an academic orientation. For students of cultural, intellectual, and/or urban history (which I am) this is essential reading. It's a good read for anyone interested in the history of New York City or the intellectual life of a city in general.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Complex Dynamic April 9, 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Reading Thomas Bender's essays and books are not easy for me. I approach each work knowing that he is demanding my attention to every idea he presents and to digest every complex revelation he offers. Whereas the book market about New York is flooded with repetitive histories and anecdotes about the same topics, Bender tackles the intellectual, cultural and social complexities of the City, and does so in a scholarly style which may intimidate some readers (including me). His works about New York's culture, sad to say, are atypical but I gladly devote the energy and time. It is worth it.

Early on in this work, "New York Intellect: A History of Intellectual Life in New York City from 1750 to the Beginnings of Our Own Time", Bender announces his subject and the importance surrounding it:

"We cannot understand ourselves as intellectuals, as Americans, until we grasp the special character of New York--both its possibilities and its limitations--as a place of intellect."

Bender then goes on to examine how no intellect, scholar or institution of higher learning is created in sui generis. They are all products of their times. But rather than simply examine how these men and (sad to say, few) women were influenced by their eras or how they influenced them, Bender analyzes how and why these scholars were either embraced or shunned. Some of the New York-based intellects and dispensers of higher learning discussed are familiar to most: Gallatin, Verplanck, Morse, Lippmann, Dewey, etc. However, it was the ones that I was unfamiliar with that intrigued me most, notably Randolph Bourne. I cannot understand how overlooked the man was. And, much to Bender's credit, has impelled me to read more about him.

Behind all this but by no means in the background is the City itself.
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