[KS] Percival Lowell

Werner Sasse werner_sasse at hotmail.com
Tue May 19 00:55:55 EDT 2015

Just like the early studies on China, Confucianism, Buddhism and Japan in Europe... With only little knowledge of the "reality" seeing what one wants to see. China, the ideal society in contrast to the chaotic changes within Europe.... But - is this not always the case in any studies of the "other"?

> Date: Mon, 18 May 2015 16:13:16 -0700
> From: hoffmann at koreanstudies.com
> To: koreanstudies at koreanstudies.com
> Subject: Re: [KS] Percival Lowell
> Dear Hyung Il, and All:
> This as a belated footnote to the Percival Lowell thread -- something I 
> accidentally just stumbled over:
> Back in 1981 T.J. Jackson Lears published a then well received and 
> successful book entitled: 
> _No Place of Grace: Antimodernism and the Transformation of American 
> Culture, 1880-1920_. 
> Among other issues, Lears discusses the retreat to the exotic, to the 
> Arts and Crafts movement, the travelogues covering East Asia, etc. He 
> kind of psychologizes cultural production of the time, to then explain 
> the existence of conservative America. Percival Lowell is discussed 
> (pp. 234-237) under the chapter header "From Patriarchy to Nirvana" as 
> an example for one of these rather mediocre scholars and weak 
> personalities who could not find a satisfying role within their own 
> family -- struggling without success against their authoritarian 
> fathers, etc. -- but then find their fulfillment in the seemingly 
> weaker cultures (either within the U.S. or at some 'exotic' places 
> overseas.
> I quote:
> "The journey to the East dispelled his 'feminine' desire for 
> withdrawal, eased his accommodation with paternal authority, and 
> reinforced his commitment to conventional male ego ideals. The 
> encounter with Oriental character provided a negative background 
> against which he could focus his own diffuse sense of identity." (p. 
> 234)
> In the meantime we have a number of dissertations and articles that 
> deal with the perception of "Oriental culture" in the United States 
> around the turn of the century. But this 1981 book is still great in 
> really making important points of explaining the roots within American 
> society itself for this reception process. NONE OF ALL THIS HAT 
> I would like to underline. 
> Last note: The pages on Percival Lowell in the Lears book make little 
> sense if isolated ... if anyone follows up I suggest you read the 
> entire book. The arguments are all tied together and rather complex.
> Best,
> Frank
> --------------------------------------
> Frank Hoffmann
> http://koreanstudies.com
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