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Modernity and Its Discontents – Making and Unmaking the Bourgeois from Machiavelli to Bellow - Yale Scholarship Online
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Modernity and Its Discontents: Making and Unmaking the Bourgeois from Machiavelli to Bellow

Steven B. Smith


In this book, Steven Smith examines modernity as the site of a unique type of human being entirely unknown to the ancient and medieval worlds that is called the bourgeois. The characteristics and qualities attributed to this new kind of individual by writers like Descartes, Hobbes, Spinoza, Franklin, and Kant included the desire for autonomy, to live independently of custom, habit, and tradition, and to be the ultimate locus of moral responsibility. This kind of bourgeois culture that has become most fully associated with America and the American way of life was accompanied by doubts and fears ... More

Keywords: Bourgeois, Enlightenment, Counter-Enlightenment, Modernity, Nihilism, Post-Modernity, Progress

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2016 Print ISBN-13: 9780300198393
Published to Yale Scholarship Online: January 2017 DOI:10.12987/yale/9780300198393.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Steven B. Smith, author
Yale University