Proposal for the publication of The Maturity of American Thought

Begun in the late 1960s, with the help of a Guggenheim Fellowship, this was meant to be a comprehensive history of post-WWII American thought (1945-68). Its thesis was that only in the post-War period did American thinking in many fields achieve first-rank importance and major international influence. My strategy in writing this book was not to prove this thesis, which he took to be virtually self-evident to those who knew (and cared), but to identify and summarize what this major thinking was. I completed several chapters before putting the project aside to complete something else; it was never resumed. The chapters finished beyond the introduction covered "Historiography," "Sociology," "Social Philosophy," "Government," "Anthropology," "Esthetics," "Architecture," "Literary Criticism," "Theater," "Fiction," "Poetry." Some of them have appeared in such U.S. cultural periodicals as Bennington Review, Sun & Moon, Western Humanities Review, and Boston University Journal; some were even reprinted in books. Since most of these essays are not conveniently available, while readers of one often ask about the others and, most important, no other comprehensive book on post-WWII American thought has since appeared, may I propose that these chapters now appear as a single volume sub-titled "An Unfinished History.” Since many other books of mine have appeared since this was drafted, there are advantages to publishing it now.