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Critical AmericansVictorian Intellectuals and Transatlantic Liberal Reform$
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Leslie Butler

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780807830840

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: July 2014

DOI: 10.5149/9780807877579_butler

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Liberal Culture in a Gilded Age

Liberal Culture in a Gilded Age

(p.128) 4 Liberal Culture in a Gilded Age
Critical Americans

Leslie Butler

University of North Carolina Press

After emancipation and national reunion had been achieved, the American liberal critics returned to their earlier work on cultural reform. This chapter focuses on the Gilded Age project that liberal men of letters were engaged in to foster a national commitment to liberal culture. It describes Higginson's “plea for culture” in which he insisted that aesthetic endeavors allow the country to continue its moral development even as it entered a prolonged period of peace and “gilded” prosperity. The chapter also discusses the “Arnoldian” view of culture and its role in Gilded Age cultural debates.

Keywords:   liberal critics, cultural reform, Gilded Age, liberal culture, Higginson

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