a bitter exchange

 

Crane Brinton, ‘Socio-Astrology’

 

‘Historionics’ (Sorkin Reply to Crane Brinton)

 

 

 

*****************************************************

 

A remarkable exchange between Harvard history professor Crane Brinton and Pitirim A. Sorokin, then chairman of Harvard’s Department of Sociology, occurred in 1937 and 1938 in the pages of The Southern Review, a respected journal. That it appeared in The Southern Review, a literary journal, rather than a journal devoted to history or sociology, is noticeable.

Professor Brinton’s article comprised as an appraisal of the first three volumes of Sorokin’s magnum opus, Social and Cultural Dynamics. It was not a standard review, by any means; it was, in fact an essay-review. It was over twenty pages long. Professor Sorokin’s rejoinder was about ten pages long.

Brinton attacks Sorokin with no holds barred, criticizing everything from the methodology and assumptions underlying the work to what he views as Sorokin’s atrocious prose style. Sorokin, clearly stung by the review, responded with a strenuous defense of his work in which he seemed at times to be on the defensive and in other sections of his rejoinder essay tried to even the score with a vigorous counterattack.

The two articles are posted above as downloadable PDF files.

Crane Brinton, Socio-Astrology, The Southern Review, vol. 3 (fall 1937), pp. 243-266

Pitirim A. Sorokin, “Histrionics,” The Southern Review, vol. 3 (winter 1938), pp. 554-564

 

— Roger W. Smith

   August 2017

Author: Roger W. Smith

Roger W. Smith is a writer and independent scholar based in New York City. His experience includes freelance writing and editing, business writing, book reviewing, and the teaching of writing and literature as an adjunct professor. Mr. Smith's interests include personal essays and opinion pieces; American and world literature; culture, especially books and reading; current issues that involve social, moral, and philosophical views; and experiences of daily living from a ground level perspective. Besides (1) rogersgleanings.com, a personal site, he also hosts websites devoted to (2) the author Theodore Dreiser and (3) to the sociologist and social philosopher Pitirim A. Sorokin.

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