About the Author
Born in 1838 into one of the oldest and most distinguished families
in Boston, a family which had produced two American presidents,
Henry Adams had the opportunity to pursue a wide-ranging
variety of intellectual interests during the course of his life.
Functioning both in the world of practical men and afffairs (as a
journalist and an assistant to his father, who was an American
diplomat in Washinton and London), and in the world of ideas (as a
prolific writer, the editor of the prestigious North American
Review, and a professor of medieval, european, and American
history at Harvard), Adams was one of the few men of his era who
attempted to understand art, thought, culture, and history as one
complex force field of interacting energies. His two masterworks in
this dazzling effort are Mont Saint Michel and Chartres and
The Education of Henry Adams, published one after the other
in 1904 and 1907. Taken together they may be read as Adams'
spiritual autobiography--two monumental volumes in which he
attempts to bring together into a vast synthesis all of his
knowledge of politics, economics, psychology, science, philosophy,
art, and literature in order to attempt to understand the
individual's place in history and society. They constitute one of
the greatest historical and philosophical meditations on the human
condition in all of literature. Raymond Carney is well known for
his writing on the relationships between American art, thought, and
culture. He has been a Fellow of the National Endowment for the
Humanities, served as an artistic consultant to the Whitney Museum
of American Art, and written extensively on American and British
poetry, ficiton, drama, dance, painting, and film. His two most
recent books are American Dreaming (University of California
Press) and Figures of Desire (Cambridge University Press).
He teaches at Middlebury College in Vermont.