Anti-Intellectualism in American Life + 1

The Harvard Crimson interviews Keith Gessen, a founding editor of n+1 and author of the new novel All the Sad Young Literary Men (about which more soon). Says Gessen:

One of the things about American literature is that it’s always been slightly embarrassed by itself. It’s always been a problem that the idea of intellectual work, the idea of reading and writing in particular being real work, is still foreign to American culture. It’s always been a bit of an embarrassment compared to the active, dynamic, business-driven culture. But I don’t feel that way at all. Obviously, a lot of stuff we learned in college is not terribly useful, and yet a lot of it is incredibly interesting and helps us understand the world we’ve created, the world that also has been thrust upon us. This is my own project—to try to understand the world that we’re living in. And if that means using Weber or Foucault, that’s fine, that’s helpful.

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