David Bromwich writes powerfully and at length about the sins of “culturalism,” and my response here can only be brief and incomplete. But these are issues that we will continue to argue about in Dissent; I will look for occasions to deal in greater depth with Bromwich’s critique. Here I want only to sketch my own critique of his positive argument about the individualist alternative to culture.
“Nothing gives life meaning,” he writes in what I take to be the key sentence of his essay,”…except the socially illegible and arbitrary energy of a person.” And then, one sentence further on, “one may hope that, with the...
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