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Songs of Experience: Modern American and European Variations on a Universal Theme


Professor of History Martin Jay examines the slippery concept of “experience” in his new book and contemplates why so many thinkers throughout time have been compelled to understand it. “It will quickly become apparent to anyone seeking a meta-narrative of this idea’s history,” Jay writes, “that no such single story can be told.” Jay views experience through many lenses — epistemological, religious, aesthetic, political, and historical — and engages a broad range of European and American traditions and thinkers, from American pragmatists and British Marxist humanists to the Frankfurt School and the French poststructuralists. Among the individual philosophers he examines are Montaigne, Bacon, Locke, Hume, Kant, Oakeshott, Collingwood, and Ankersmit.

University of California Press, 2004; 441 pages