Knowledge and Opinion: Essays and Literary Criticism of John G. Neihardt

By John G. Neihardt; Lori Holm Utecht | Go to book overview

FOUR
Tremendous Mood of War

Neihardt was particularly interested in books that examined the world political situation. However, he saw most explanations of the world's woes as simplistic and self-serving. The underlying cause of war is economic, he argued, and even before the “war to end all wars” was over, he anticipated another to follow it. In 1935 he wrote that it is obvious that there is “more tremendous reason for war now than ever before in the record of mankind; it is the reason for the last one and for the one that is brewing.” The reason? The fact that the very makeup of the world's societies is based “upon the idea that the many things men need and desire are produced not primarily for use, but in order that a relatively small owning minority may grow richer and richer.” 1 Even those leaders who had the best interests of the citizenry at heart (and they were few, as far as Neihardt was concerned), engaged for the most part in naïve and fuzzy thinking, mistaking the symptoms for the disease and fine feelings and good intentions for clear thinking. Neihardt showed particular impatience with sentimental hand-wringing that served merely to absolve the sentimentalist of responsibility. Neihardt gave particular prominence in his column to those books that he thought offered “luminous sanity” to the discussion of complex social problems.


WAR AND SOCIETY

REVIEW OFSOCIAL PROGRESS AND THE DARWINIAN THEORY,BY
GEORGE NASMYTH (NEW YORK: PUTNAM's, 1916)

It is the contention of Dr. Nasmyth that the philosophy of force is the real cause of “the breakdown of civilization” in Europe; and his purpose is to show from whence sprang this philosophy and how it came to dominate the modern world, as it undoubtedly does.

-35-

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Knowledge and Opinion: Essays and Literary Criticism of John G. Neihardt
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page *
  • Contents v
  • Preface ix
  • Introduction xi
  • 1 - Tradition 1
  • One - As from a Height of Time 3
  • Two - Ancient Seers 9
  • Three - Epic Landscape 23
  • 2 - Troubled Planet 33
  • Four - Tremendous Mood of War 35
  • Five - Breadlines and Bursting Granaries 43
  • Six - Social Turmoil 53
  • 3 - Trends in Contemporary Literature 69
  • Seven - Genuine Criticism 71
  • Eight - Vandals in the Temple 77
  • Nine - Only Symptomatic 89
  • 4 - Of Making Many Books 111
  • Ten - The Glow of the Moment 113
  • Eleven - Impeccably Unremarkable 129
  • 5 - This Mysterious Universe 145
  • Twelve - Et Tu, Scientia? 147
  • Thirteen - Exploring the Unknown 161
  • Fourteen - The Flesh and the Spirit 172
  • 6 - Poetic Values 183
  • Fifteen - Hill of Vision 185
  • Sixteen - What is Literature Good For? 203
  • Notes 217
  • Sources 227
  • Index 233
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