In Reluctant Modernism: American Thought and Culture, 1880-1900, George Cotkin surveys the intellectual life of this crucial transitional period. His story begins with the Darwinian controversies, since the mainstream of American culture was just beginning to come to grips with the implications of the Origins of Species. Cotkin demonstrates the effects of this shift in thinking on philosophy, anthropology, and the newly developing field of psychology. Throughout this fascinating, readable history of the American fin de siecle run the contrasting themes of continuity and change, faith and rationalism, despair over the meaninglessness of life and, ultimately, a guarded optimism about the future.
George Cotkin is professor of history at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, California.
Chapter 1: The "Tangled Bank" of Evolution and Religion Chapter 2: The Experiences of American Philosophy Chapter 3: Anthropology, Progress, and Racism Chapter 4: Woman as Intellectual and Artist Chapter 5: Consuming Culture Chapter 6: The American Fin de Siecle Bibliographic Essay