way for a culture of consumerism markednby the hedonism that characterizesnmodern capitalist society. Much of hisnwork is simply a vehicle for Lears to expatiatenupon his own anxieties about ournoppressive culture, and the antimodernistsnbecome accomplices to its insidiousncourse. But the reader is given fair warning.n”All scholarship,” Lears says, “is—nor ought to be—a kind of intellectualnautobiography.” The author takes thisnsomewhat pretentious statement verynseriously. And while this practice cannmake some scholarship interesting, itndoes not make all scholarship good.nConsider, then, the fate of antimodernismnunder Lears’s interpretation. Thenarts-and-crafts movement easily becamena self-indulgent aestheticism, a pursuitnof objets d’art. In doing so it “helpednlegitimize the emerging culture of conspicuousnconsumption.” And by anothernprocess that is never explained, the artsand-craftsnmovement was “influencednby a developing corporate ideology” thatnsmoothed die adjustment to the “inevitablenprocess of rationalization” bynwhich that ideology sustained the mlingnclasses in America. Lears seems to thinknthat the arts-and-crafb spokesmen comprisedna potential revolutionary cadrenwhich might have transformed capitalistnAmerica. But, fatal fact, they were alsoninvolved in business and even sold theirnproducts on the commercial market.nThis compromise, compounded by politicalnnaivete, deprived the movementnof its reforming power. And it leaves thenauthor very disappointed.nThe antimodern medievalists alsonwent the way of all bourgeois flesh. Accordingnto Lears, this group found innmedievalism a model of youth, the spiritnof innocence and spontaneity that contrastednwith the stifling rationalism ofnmodernism. The childlike qualities ofnmedieval saints proved attractive. But inntrying to make sense of all this Learsndrops an explanation that strains credulity.n”The spontaneous child,” hewrites,n”served to reinforce accommodation tonnew, secular modes of capitalist culturalnhegemony.” So by this time one is awarenthat a facile causality dominates much ofnthis book, and is prepared for fiirthernspeculative flights. Thus the HighnQiurch movement was ultimately merenaestheticism, the worship of luxury, thenculture of therapy, and it “eased thentransition” to triumphant capitalist consumerism.nOr, perhaps the most bewilderingnstatement of all: “Antimodernnlongings for authentic experience, bynpromoting the self-absorption of thentherapeutic world view, provided fertilenemotional ground for the growth of thentwentieth-century corporate system.”nLears does not deem it worth his time tonindulge the reader with any substantivenjustification for this fanciful assertion.nWere there then any redeeming virtuesnin this antimodernist phenomenon ?nLears is deeply ambivalent toward the experiencesnhe describes, but his evaluationsnbecome positive when he perceivesnin its expressions “genuine” religiousnqualities. For in their escape from secularnrationalism, antimodernists revealed an”vein of religious longing” that in factnbecame the one feature that forestallednfull accommodation to the prevailingnculture. But this intriguing suggestionnloses force as the book elaborates what itsnauthor is willing to credit as authenticnreligious expression. Thus as the artsand-craftsnleaders protested against thenheavy materialism of their world, theynembraced nontheologically “the husk ofnpuritanical habit.” Is Benjamin Franldin,nthen, our modern Augustine.? Lears alsonperceives in the cult of militarism somengenuine religious sentiment, for it was anneffort to endow weighdess modem culturenwith “seriousness and purpose.”nBut is that sufficient to credit the cult ofnblood and might with a religious character?nUnquestionably the various forms ofnantimodernism did express pseudoteligiousnqualities.nLears’s commentary on this subject revealsna clear parallel with the problemndiscussed with some insight by HerbertnMarcuse in One-Dimensional Man.nLears clearly implies that what alone cannsave culture from invariable accom­nnnmodation to technocratic capitalism isncommitment to an absolutistic wholenthat transcends selfhood, or otherwisenescapes pluralistic and relativistic measuresnof good. This relativistic ethicnunderlies the indisaiminate consumerismnthat is the vehicle of capitalism’sndominance. Marcuse developed thisnpoint with particular acuteness when henoffered his critique of philosophicalnpragmatism. Pragmatism, because it rejectsnall transcendent absolutes andnespecially rejects a metaphysics of universals,ncan connect the mind only to experiencednthings. Emerging in the laten19th century, when American capitalismnachieved its ultimate triumph, pragmatismnperfecdy suited a culture that definednits highest good in the acquisitionnof objects. Pragmatic culture knew nonstandards by which to check the relativisticnethic of a society that valued only indefinitenmaterial consumption. Thenproblem is directly germane to Lears’snsearch for the redeeming religious qualitiesnof antimodernism. Where theyncould be found, these qualities promisednsome kind of ultimate loyalty that couldnwithstand the otherwise inevitable lapseninto accommodation. Had Lears pursuednthe religious question with greaternsensitivity, he would have given morenforce to his statement, “in our time, thenmost profound radicalism is often thenmost profound conservatism.”nJrerhaps it is best to say at this pointnthat the problems discussed above intmdenrecurrently in this book, but theyndo not wholly dominate the subject. Atnhis best Lears is sensitive to the subtlencharacter of cultural behavior and thenidiosynaasies of individuals. He does innfact say that not all of antimodernism cannbe understood by reference to class.nWhen Lears does liberate himself from anrigid framework of explanation, he is atnhis best as an historian. The finalnchapter, one devoted exclusively tonHenry Adams, is a provocative and revealingnanalysis. For, as Lears says ofnAdams, “his life and work embodied allnthe major themes of antimodernism.”n•••HK13nJuly/^ttgostl98Sn