3e I CHRONICLESnWork of Art in an Age of MechanicalnReproduction” (1936) — when he remarkednthat the Futurist glorificationnof war was “evidently the consummationnof Tart pour I’art.'”nBut despite these authoritative leftistndismissals, Professor Perloff is still nostalgicnabout the artists of the avantnguerre. For her, the Futurist momentn”has a special pathos” because it “producedna short-lived but remarkablenrapprochement between avant-gardenaesthetic, radical politics, and popularnculture.” No matter how destructivenFuturism was, it appeals to her becausenof what she calls “our own postmodernnurge to break down the centered, hier­narchical orders of the past.” Whatncounts for her is that the Futuristsnforeshadowed contemporary efforts tondestroy high culture, the link betweennthe world and the text, and the connectionnbetween art and referentialitynto the world itself She is in love withnthe notion of “rupture” and commendsnthe Futurists for preparing thenway for the abysses of Jacques Derrida’snGlas, John Cage’s EmptynWords, Robert Smithson’s “Strata: AnGeophotographic Fiction,” and LaurienAnderson’s United States. Perloff,nan English professor at Stanford andnpresumably a guardian of humanisticnvalues, thus demonstrates that she hasnThe Rubble of Reconstructionn”The mind of the bigot is hke the pupil of theneye; the more light you pour upon it, the more itnwill contract.”n— O.W. Holmes Jr.nThe South as It Is, 1865-1866 bynJohn R. Dennett, edited by HenrynM. Christman, Athens: Universitynof Georgia Press; $12.50.nThe Legal Fraternity and the Makingnof a New South Community,n1848-1882 by Gail WilliamsnO’Brien, Athens: University ofnGeorgia Press; $23.50.nChristian Reconstruction: ThenAmerican Missionary Associationnand Southern Blacks, 1861-1890 bynJoe M. Richardson, Athens:nUniversity of Georgia Press; $30.00.nIn July 1865 John R. Dennett, anMassachusetts journalist and recentngraduate of Harvard College, arrived innNorfolk, Virginia, the first stop on anneight-month journey that would takenhim from Virginia to Louisiana. Dennett’sntour was sponsored by The Nation,na new journal of liberal opinionnthat eyed the recently defeated Confederacynwith special attention. Thenguns had just fallen silent and thenkilling had ceased when Dennett ar-nJames J. Thompson Jr. is book reviewneditor for The New Oxford Review.nrived in the South. Southerners —nwhite and black alike — were facednwith the exigencies of survival andnrecovery. Dennett carried with him anbagful of preconceptions and prejudicesn(he was, after all, a Massachusettsnman, with all that connoted in 1865).nBut curiosity overrode partisanship: thendispatches he mailed to the editorialnoffices in New York revealed a mannwilling to let Southerners talk freelynabout their situation. And talk they did!nWith the volubility so characteristic ofnthe South, they filled Dennett’s notebooksnwith their sorrows and hurts,ntheir fears and expectations, their bitternessnand anger, their pluck, courage,nand tenacity.nIn his travels Dennett visited GuilfordnCounty, North Carolina, the subjectnof Gail O’Brien’s The Legal Fraternitynand the Making of a NewnSouth Community, and on numerousnoccasions he encountered idealisticnyoung Northerners (a type examinednin Joe Richardson’s Christian Reconstruction)nwho had flocked to thenSouth to “construct Christian civilization.”nProfessor O’Brien’s book is the grotesquenprogeny of a marriage betweennsociology and quantification, a unionnthat American historians have beennnnno respect for culture itself, for thenvalue of tradition, for the delicate tiesnthat bind men and women together innthe totality of an organic community.nDuty, responsibility, prescription, obedience,nauthority, the past — all ofnthese apparently mean nothing to her.nWhat counts for her is how the Futuristsnwere committed to the destructionnof the given, to aestheticizing the radicalnin politics and culture. If she cannsee what it got the Futurists and theirncontemporaries, does she have the visionnto see what breaking down “thencentered, hierarchical orders of thenpast” might get us? From the evidencenof this book, she hasn’t a clue.nby James J. Thompson Jr.nincreasingly proud to bless. Poor GuilfordnCounty has been assaulted bynwhirring computers and reams ofngraphs, tables, and statistical computations.nInstead of flesh-and-blood Guilfordians,nwe meet “powerholders” whoncompete for “power scores.” A mountainnof statistics and computer printoutsnhas strained to bring forth anmouse: Guilford County “representedna prototype of the ‘New South.'”nProfessor Richardson’s ChristiannReconstruction exemplifies the morentraditional genre of institutional history.nHe examines the activities of thenAmerican Missionary Association, onenof many Northern philanthropic organizationsnthat seized upon the Confederacy’snfall as an opportunity to remoldnthe South in the image of the North.nBetween 1866 and 1880 the AMAnemployed over 2,000 agents in thisnendeavor. These operatives — mainlynyoung women from the Midwest andnNew England — labored to educatenthe newly freed slaves by meddling innevery corner of their lives, attempting,nnot very successfully, to impose Yankeenefficiency and Puritan moralitynupon the freedmen.nThe books by O’Brien and Richardson,nalong with Dennett’s observantnaccount, open many vistas upon thenpostwar South. Perhaps most important,nthey prompt us to raise againnsome old and familiar questions. Givennthe situation at the end of the war,nhow might the future of the Southn