often frenzied Utopians, who seek notnto preserve but to exploit resentmentnfor revolutionary ends. The opposite ofnnationalism is not internationalismnbut, as John Lukacs reminds us, patriotismnrooted in the sense of a livingnpast. Unfortunately, Steiner’s criticalnremarks about nationalism and its currentnalternatives are not well considered.nAlthough he rails against ancientnHebraic nationalism, he supportsnmodern Jewish nationalism as a counterweightnto the anti-Semitism that henclaims to see everywhere. But his indulgencenof Jewish nationalists is annisolated case. For example, he complainsnabout the American people,nwhose “standardized moralistic nationalism,”nwe learn, may soon endangernits Jewish minority. It is unclear whatnSteiner is here criticizing about thenAmerican character. If he is attackingn(as he seems to be) traditional Middle-nAmerican moral concerns, it is hard tonsee how these amount to nationalism,nas Steiner uses the term. Americansnhave traditionally insisted on diligence,npunctuality, and personal hygiene,nwhile remaining, on the whole,nethnic and religious pluralists. Steinernempties the concept nationalism of allnspecificity by making it apply to anythingnthat rubs him the wrong way—nbourgeois morality, for example.nHe finally attributes Soviet atrocitiesnto residual Russian nationalism innorder to absolve Marxism, or Communism,nof all responsibility for Sovietncrimes. He denounces Stalinism,nwhich he equates with Russian nationalism,nwhenever he describes Communistnreality. He extols Marx andnTrotsky whenever he presents the “radicalnhumanist”—i.e., elevated JewishnBabbitt and More in the Eightiesn”Every artist is a moralist, though he need notnpreach.”n—George SantayananThomas R. Nevin: Irving Babbitt:nAn Intellectual Study; University ofnNorth Carohna Press; Chapel Hill,nNC; $20.00.nAccepting the Nobel Prize for Literaturenon December 12, 1930,nSinclair Lewis used the occasion tonattack academic traditionalists, who,nhe said, “like their literature clear andncold and pure and very dead.” Andnamong that group he singled out thenNew Humanists, charging that theyntaught “a doctrine of the blackest reactionnintroduced into a stirringly revolutionarynworld.” Lewis’ attack hasnlittle value as a critique of the NewnHumanism, for he obviously understoodnlittie about it. When he calls itn”an astonishing circus,” a “nebulousncult,” and “this doctrine of death, thisnescape from the complexities and dangersnof living into the secure blanknessnof the monastery,” he is simply applyingnhis stock satiric rhetoric to create anStephen Tanner is professor of Englishnat Brigham Young University.n, . . – – ” • ” • ‘ “nf • ‘” •nf.:r •n^k. ^A. *9’-. -k”‘ ‘ -••iwmrriirfffi-ncaricature. His attack is significant,nhowever, as an index of literaryintellectualnopinion in 1930. Thatnyear marked the apex of the controversyngenerated by the New Humanism, anliterary battle that cleaved deep, penetratingnbeyond surface layers of taste tonmoral and cultural nerve centers.nIrving Babbitt and Paul ElmernMore, the principal architects of thenNew Humanism, had been publishingnbooks since the turn of the century,n—ideal from which the Soviets havenallegedly fallen. Never does it dawn onnSteiner that Marx, who called for classnwar and raged against Jewish greed,nmay bear some responsibility for thennightmare which his worshipers havencreated. Or, that one of Steiner’s othernidols, Trotsky, helped set up Sovietnconcentration camps and called fornthe physical destruction of non-nCommunist political groups in Russia,neven after Stalin had chased himninto exile.nIn the end, Steiner’s mystique of thenleft cannot stand up to critical reason.nAlthough a patient reader of texts, henhas allowed quirks to distort his understandingnof the world. Steiner maynhave profited professionally from hisnquirks, but they are tragic flaws innsomeone of his intellectual stature, ccnby Stephen L. Tannernnnlaying an intellectual foundation fornAmerican conservatism by a widerangingnmoral approach to literary andncultural criticism. It was not untilnabout 1928, however, that the NewnHumanism became highly visible as ankind of movement, the result of morenthan a decade of protesting liberalncriticism synchronized to the bassndrumbeat of H.L. Mencken. The NewnHumanists were alarmed by the erosionnof traditional moral values andnthe deterioration of critical standardsncombined with an unprecedented hedonismnand materialism in Americannlife. The editors of Bookman andnForum, leading literary journals of thentime, opened their pages to the Humanists.nT.S. Eliot, as editor oi Criterion,nencouraged articles reflecting thenmovement’s perspective, thus providingnan audience in England.nThe result was America’s “battle ofnthe books,” a war of criticism capturingnthe attention of the Americannreading public in a way that seemsnremarkable from our viewpoint in then80’s. Fashionable literary criticism atnpresent has become so specialized andntechnical, so divorced from the generalnreader’s natural and inevitable interestnin the relation of literature and life,nthat even many professors of literaturenJANUARY 1986 / 13n