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Perhaps fear does not govern scholars as it might intellectuals.Scholarly confidence evidently enabled them to teach Weaver in particular.As for the entire review, I will identify the page numbers at the end of various quoted parts from the book as reference points for those who also have the book and wish to follow.
Weaver points out that the Southern apologists – who published in the decades after the Civil War - “wrote well rather than wisely,” and that such writing “was not so much history as special pleading.” (p. Weaver includes among the apologists, Albert Taylor Bledsoe, Robert Lewis Dabney, Thomas Nelson Page, Woodrow Wilson and others.
These apologists, according to Weaver, “spent themselves in parrying, denying, and defending, and their victories were defensive victories.” (p.7).
This collection of fourteen essays demonstrates George Core's point that "few writers of the South rival Richard Weaver in comprehensiveness of vision and depth of thought."--Publisher.
It is not that hard today – all these years later –to discern that the same ills identified by Richard Weaver still persist.
Published by Liberty Press (1987) 268 pages $12.00 It has been well over 50 years since the passing of Richard M. Since that time, his contributions have largely gone overlooked or forgotten, yet his influence remains with us today.
Not long ago I was perusing an academic journal and came across familiar themes dressed up in different garb: “Liberalism is failing because liberalism succeeded,” etc., etc. Deneen, “The Tragedy of Liberalism,” The Hedgehog Review, Fall 2017, pg. Nevertheless, the complaints, fears and observations found in such journals, and others like it, eventually slapped me with memories of Weaver and my college days.
The notion that sparked my memory began to pique my curiosity.
I put down the latest oh-so-relevant journal, went straight for my disorganized library, and began shuffling through the chaos of irrelevant knowledge. Weaver was the first book by Weaver that I pulled off my dusty bookshelf, and it did not take long for me to mumble under breath, “Oh, now I recall.” Yet it transported me back in time when there were no laptops or Google, where I was berated by wild-haired professors, each seemingly hunched over and pale-skinned from lack of sun, but infused with the old time religious fervor of New Dealisms and Reagan haters! That Weaver viewed Western Civilization through the lens of the Old South bothered my professors.
Weaver was an opponent to their honed ideas, yet they taught him with such a passion that you were not sure what to believe, except for one thing: College was a place where ideas burst forth like exploding stars, and there were simply no safe places – other than going back home to momma or daddy - from which to escape it. When Weaver defended the Old South and attacked modernism, he did so by framing his attacks – for the most part – around arguments from definition. Awarded a doctorate in English from Louisiana State University in 1943, Weaver then went on to teach at the University of Chicago until his untimely death in 1963. Organized in three parts, “Work with the Word”: Southern Literature and Thought, “The Contemplation of These Images”: The South in American History, and “Discipline in Tragedy”: The Southern Tradition for an American Future, each contains numerous chapters.
This is a powerful approach (one need only examine the Lincoln and Douglass Debates to see the Illinois rail-splitter wield it with precision) and my professors knew it, and took up Weaver’s challenge with utmost seriousness, demanding the same from us - without our prejudiced experiences but as intelligent and sovereign individuals. He received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Kentucky in 1932 and a M. Of his several books published, his most important are Ideas Have Consequences and The Ethics of Rhetoric. Weaver is a collection of his writings taken from various academic journals and books, and is edited by George M. The more popular of the essays, “Lee the Philosopher,” and “Two Types of American Individualism” will be discussed in subsequent portions of this review.