New Humanism

From Academic Kids

New Humanism or neohumanism were terms applied to a theory of literary criticism, together with its consequences for culture and political thought, developed around 1900 by the American scholar Irving Babbitt, and the scholar and journalist Paul Elmer More. Babbitt's book Literature and the American College (1908) first gave it a definite form; it was aimed at a perceived gap between the ideals of liberal arts colleges, and university education as it actually existed.

Babbitt himself did not accept the qualification new as applied to his humanism, which became influential as a strand of conservative thought in the following years, up to the 1930s. Other authors associated with the New Humanist group included George Roy Elliott (1883-1963), Norman Foerster (1887-1972) and Stuart Pratt Sherman (1881-1926). Numerous attacks came from outside, especially during the 1920s.

This group was also at times known as The Nation criticism, from More's time editing The Nation from 1909. The adoption by Seward Collins of its philosophy, or some trappings, in his publication The Bookman did something to tarnish it, in a way that external critics had up till then failed to. Some of the members renounced the approach.

References

  • Humanism and America:essays on the outlook of modern civilisation (1930) edited by Norman Foerster
  • The New Humanism: A Critique of Modern America, 1900-1940 (1977) J. David Hoeveler, Jr.

External links

  • "New Humanism" (http://www.press.jhu.edu/books/hopkins_guide_to_literary_theory/new_humanism.html), in The Johns Hopkins Guide to Literary Theory & Criticism
  • "Irving Babbitt" (http://www.bartleby.com/65/ba/BabbittI.html), in The Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition

New Humanism is also a term sometimes applied to the Marxism-Humanism of Raya Dunayevskaya.

Neo-Humanism is a term used in the teaching of Prabhat Rainjan Sarkar.


New Humanism advocates and works toward an extreme yet nonviolent transformation on personal, social, and governmental levels. Proponents of New Humanism believe that, currently, those in power have all the power and try to keep everything as it is to keep their power. Personal and social change are both critical components of the new humanist change philosophy.

New Humanism has been accused of being neo-Marxist, although proponents tend to disagree with this.

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