Publisher description for The name of action : critical essays / John Fraser.


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Counter This selection from John Fraser's essays forms a triptych with his Violence in the Arts and America and the Patterns of Chivalry (published by the Press in 1974 and 1982) and, like them, explores conflicting attitudes towards self-affirmation and social order. Important concerns in all three works are ideas of energy, power, and personal plenitude, and the way in which idealism and heroic intensity can sometimes lead to overstrain and collapse. Yet the dominant emphasis is positive. In this volume the author offers some of his finest analyses both of the workings of heroic and pastoral ideals and of the dangers of irony and nihilism in a violent world. The essays range in subject from Shakespeare to Atget's photographs of Paris, by way of American fiction, sadomasochism, literary theory and patterns of rural culture. Their implicit argument is subtle and absorbing.

Library of Congress subject headings for this publication: English literature History and criticism, American literature History and criticism