Absent Minds: Intellectuals in Britain

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9780199291052: Absent Minds: Intellectuals in Britain
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A richly textured work of history and a powerful contribution to contemporary cultural debate, Absent Minds provides the first full-length account of 'the question of intellectuals' in twentieth-century Britain - have such figures ever existed, have they always been more prominent or influential elsewhere, and are they on the point of becoming extinct today?

Recovering neglected or misunderstood traditions of reflection and debate from the late nineteenth century through to the present, Stefan Collini challenges the familiar cliche that there are no 'real' intellectuals in Britain. The book offers a persuasive analysis of the concept of 'the intellectual' and an extensive comparative account of how this question has been seen in the USA, France, and elsewhere in Europe. There are detailed discussions of influential or revealing figures such as Julien Benda, T. S. Eliot, George Orwell, and Edward Said, as well as trenchant critiques of current assumptions about the impact of specialization and celebrity. Throughout, attention is paid to the multiple senses of the term 'intellectuals' and to the great diversity of relevant genres and media through which they have communicated their ideas, from pamphlets and periodical essays to public lectures and radio talks.

Elegantly written and rigorously argued, Absent Minds is a major, long-awaited work by a leading intellectual historian and cultural commentator, ranging across the conventional divides between academic disciplines and combining insightful portraits of individuals with sharp-edged cultural analysis.

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Review:

Stefan Collini's Absent Minds provided an intriguing analysis of the question of intellectuals in Britian during the twentieth century...a superb, well-writtian book with few discernible flaws...Collini has tackled a complex subject in an imaginative and compelling fashion, and Absent Minds will only enhance his reputation as the leading scholar of British intellectual history. (Michael D. Stevenson russel:the Journal of Bertrand Russell Studies)

Complex and challenging work. (Times Higher Education Supplement)

This is a book in which playfulness and wit interlock with, rather than adorn or relieve, probing analysis and humane seriousness. (Christopher Hilliard, The Historical Journal)

Absent Minds is an intriguing, sometimes illuminating, book written with elegance and elan. (David Stack, The English Historical Review)

..elegant and challenging (Dominic Sandbrook, Telegraph)

..[a]..witty and detailed study (Bernard Richards, Oxford Magazine)

a long book of dazzling short chapters. Richly layered, provocative and very funny. (Roy Foster, Times Literary Supplement.)

...a splendidly challenging book. (Bernard Bergonzi, The Tablet)

..[includes] many striking items of information (David Simpson, London Review of Books)

clever and entertaining revisionist history....Absent Minds brilliantly exemplifies the sort of human, intelligent and accessible critique he so eloquently advocates' (Michael Saler, TLS)

About the Author:

Stefan Collini is Professor of Intellectual History and English Literature at the University of Cambridge and a Fellow of Clare Hall. A frequent contributor to The Times Literary Supplement, The London Review of Books, and other periodicals both in Britain and the USA, his previous books include Public Moralists (1991), Matthew Arnold: a Critical Portrait (1994), and English Pasts (1999). He is a Fellow of both the British Academy and the Royal Historical Society.

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Book Description Oxford University Press, United Kingdom, 2006. Hardback. Condition: New. Language: English. Brand new Book. A richly textured work of history and a powerful contribution to contemporary cultural debate, Absent Minds provides the first full-length account of 'the question of intellectuals' in twentieth-century Britain - have such figures ever existed, have they always been more prominent or influential elsewhere, and are they on the point of becoming extinct today?Recovering neglected or misunderstood traditions of reflection and debate from the late nineteenth century through to the present, Stefan Collini challenges the familiar cliche that there are no 'real' intellectuals in Britain. The book offers a persuasive analysis of the concept of 'the intellectual' and an extensive comparative account of how this question has been seen in the USA, France, and elsewhere in Europe. There are detailed discussions of influential or revealing figures such asJulien Benda, T. S. Eliot, George Orwell, and Edward Said, as well as trenchant critiques of current assumptions about the impact of specialization and celebrity. Throughout, attention is paid to the multiple senses of the term 'intellectuals' and to the great diversity of relevant genres and mediathrough which they have communicated their ideas, from pamphlets and periodical essays to public lectures and radio talks. Elegantly written and rigorously argued, Absent Minds is a major, long-awaited work by a leading intellectual historian and cultural commentator, ranging across the conventional divides between academic disciplines and combining insightful portraits of individuals with sharp-edged cultural analysis. Seller Inventory # LHB9780199291052

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