If you recall, the sixth chapter was about the shift in the Protestant church establishment (particularly the FCC) toward cosmopolitanism which took place between 1905 and 1913.
I'm now reading the seventh chapter, which is another very illuminating part of the book. It traces the rise of the modernist view amongst the intellectuals and artists of Chicago and New York in the period just prior to and during WWI. It also names the first American intellectual who truly had the leftist attitude to national identity that we are so familiar with today - but I'll get to him shortly.
Kaufmann begins his story in Chicago. There existed in Chicago a group of Liberal Progressives, such as John Dewey and Jane Addams who had "developed the first variant of American cosmopolitanism". However, what Kaufmann is interested in is the uptake of this outlook as a cultural and lifestyle movement amongst the literati (intellectuals/artists).
There was a group of such people, dubbed the Chicago Poets, including figures such as Floyd Dell and Sherwood Anderson, who by 1912 had their own magazine, Poetry. They were influenced by European thinkers such as Nietzsche, Bergson and Wells. They saw Anglo-Saxon culture in negative terms as being associated with a puritanical morality.
This foreshadowed what was to take place in New York. In the late 1800s, New York cultural life was still dominated by the "genteel tradition" with its "stress on Anglo-Saxonism, New Englandism, and cultural nationalism". This tradition was represented in the magazine Century which by the 1880s had a circulation of 250,000, and it was entrenched at Columbia University and in the Academy of Arts and Letters.
The critical era was just before and during WWI. The Academy was formed in 1904 and was relatively conservative (compared to what was about to come). However, in the 1890s, a man called James Gibbons Huneker began to introduce modernist European intellectuals, such as Ibsen, Shaw and Strindberg, to the New York bohemian scene; and from 1907 there was a bohemian migration to Greenwich Village. This migration reached a critical mass during 1910 to 1912, unleashing the "Village Renaissance" of 1912 to 1917.
The literati involved in this Renaissance were mostly Protestant Anglo-Americans such as Floyd Dell and Randolph Bourne, though there were Jewish figures involved as well. The beliefs of this group of people were based on "an ethic of inner nature, which corresponded to the irrationalist vitalism of Henri Bergson, Friedrich Nietzsche and Expressivists like Friedrich Schiller and Friedrich Hölderlin."
The movement looked more to paganism that to Christianity - therefore, it seems that the Protestant church establishment had moved toward cosmopolitanism a little earlier, and for different reasons, than the New York literati did in the period just prior to and during WWI.
Avant-garde left modernism
The older American liberalism had seen Anglo-Saxonism as a positive force, destined to bring liberal democracy to the continent. This older liberalism was in favour of assimilation to Anglo-Saxon values; it favoured the idea of new immigrants being culturally absorbed into a melting-pot.
In 1915, Horace Kallen, a Jewish intellectual, criticised this ideal of Anglo-Saxon dominance and of a melting pot. He argued instead for a pluralistic or multiethnic vision of American identity, in which America would be a "democracy of nationalities".
This was not exactly the modern leftist view, though, as Kallen thought that the Anglo-Saxons should continue to be part of this pluralistic identity. However, in 1916 the first statement of the modern leftist view was put by an intellectual of Anglo-Saxon background, Randolph Bourne. Understanding Randolph Bourne is important, as he represents the emergence of the modern leftist mind.
Bourne established that frustrating double standard, in which other ethnic traditions were considered to be authentic and vibrant, but the Anglo-Saxon was exceptional in being inauthentic, derivative and pallid. Therefore, the role of the Anglo-Saxon was that of the consumer of other cultures, rather than living through one's own culture.
It's worth finishing with Kaufmann's description of Bourne's position:
...the Anglo-Saxon was implicitly excluded from Kallen's "federation of nationalities" and placed in a special position: that of cultural consumer. Hence whereas Kallen held a Herderian, organicist view of ethnicity that included the Anglo-Saxons, Bourne considered ethnicity a cultural good to be experienced by a modernist cultural consumer. He bestowed this role upon young Anglo-Saxons....
...In effect, where ethnic minorities are given a traditional role, Anglo-Saxons are implored to be cosmopolitan. Thus, Bourne simultaneously lauds the traditions of the Jew "who sticks proundly to the faith of his fathers and boasts of the venerable culture of his," while imploring young Anglo-Saxon Americans to "Breathe a larger air...."
...In Bourne's writing, the freedom for individual creativity and the quest for cultural experience demanded by modernism are satisfied by the seemingly paradoxical coupling of Anglo-Saxon ethnic destruction with minority ethnic revival.
Bourne is very important in understanding how the modernist leftist view came about. I'm going to return to him in a future post.
For the time being, though, I'll point out once again that all this is happening just prior to and during WWI, mostly amongst Protestant Anglo-Saxon intellectual figures, though with Jewish intellectuals in the mix, with the main influences being figures like Nietzsche, James and Bergson rather than Marx.