Books: The Decline of the East

NEW ENGLAND: INDIAN SUMMER—Van Wyck Brooks—Dutton ($3.75).

During the '20s and '30s, Critic Van Wyck Brooks pondered a theory and a project. His project was to write a synthesis of U. S. culture in terms of the New England mind. The theory, used chiefly as a literary framework for the project, was German Philosopher Oswald Spengler's theory of cultural cycles: that cultures, like individuals, pass through youth and maturity to old age and death. Cultures are born in the countryside among "a homogeneous people, living close to the soil, intensely religious. . . ....

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