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American Snobs – Transatlantic Novelists, Liberal Culture and the Genteel Tradition - Edinburgh Scholarship Online
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American Snobs: Transatlantic Novelists, Liberal Culture and the Genteel Tradition

Emily Coit


Arguing that Henry Adams, Henry James and Edith Wharton articulated their political thought in response to the liberalism that reigned in Boston and, more specifically, at Harvard University, American Snobs shows how each of these authors interrogated that liberalism's arguments for education, democracy and the political duties of the cultivated elite. Coit shows that the works of these authors contributed to a realist critique of a liberal New England idealism that fed into the narrative about 'the genteel tradition', which shaped the study of US literature during the twentieth century.

Keywords: Henry James, Edith Wharton, Henry Adams, liberalism, genteel tradition, Harvard University, New England, Boston, education, democracy

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2021 Print ISBN-13: 9781474475402
Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: September 2021 DOI:10.3366/edinburgh/9781474475402.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Emily Coit, author
University of Bristol