Self Evidence

From Nature to Experience: The American Search for Cultural Authority
by Roger Lundin
Rowman & Littlefield, 2005
(280 pages, $26.95, paperback)

reviewed by John Harmon McElroy

From Nature to Experience: The American Search for Cultural Authority by Roger Lundin, a professor of English at Wheaton College, is a thoroughly documented, closely reasoned critique of the religious and literary temperament of Europe and the United States during the last two centuries. But despite its subtitle, the nature of cultural authority and whether Americans have sought it in distinctive ways are not analyzed.

What Lundin does furnish, and it is much, is an analysis of nineteenth- and twentieth-century American literature (Emerson, Hawthorne, Thoreau, Melville, Dickinson, Adams, Crane, . . .

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John Harmon McElroy is Professor Emeritus of the University of Arizona. As a Fulbright Professor of American Studies he taught at universities in Brazil and Spain. He is the author of Divided We Stand: The Rejection of American Culture Since the 1960s (Rowman & Littlefield), published earlier this year. He and his wife have four children and ten grandchildren. Because of his experience in Poland, he says, he has been a communicant of the Roman Catholic Church since 1983.

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