James and John Stuart Mill

James and John Stuart Mill

Father and Son in the Nineteenth Century

Book - 1975
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The story of James and John Stuart Mill is one of the great dramas of the 19thcentury. In the tense yet loving struggle of this extraordinarily influential father and son, we can see the genesis of evolution of Liberal ideas-about love, sex, and women, wealth and work, authority and rebellion-which ushered in the modern age. The result of more than a decade of research and reflection, this is a study of the relationship between James Mill, the self-made utilitarian philosopher who tried (with only partial success) to shape his son in his own image. Mazlish integrates psychology and intellectual history as part of his larger and continuing effort to spur deeper understanding of the character, limitations, and possibilities of the social sciences.

John Stuart Mill's rebellion against a joyless, loveless upbringing, one in strict accordance with the principles of Utilitarianism, was rooted ina powerful Oedipal struggle against his father's authority. Mazlish describes this rebellion as playing an important role in the genesis of classical nineteenth century liberalism. Behind this intellectual development were the women in Mills' life: Harriet the mother, never mentioned by her son in his autobiography, and Harriet Taylor, with whom Mill lived in a scandalous, if chaste, mEnage a trois. It was this long relationship which informed his famous essay "The Subjection of Women," one of the most eloquent feminist statements ever written. A work of brilliant historical research and psychological insights, James and John Stuart Mill shows how the nineteenth-century struggle of fathers and sons shaped the social transformation of society.

Publisher: New York, Basic Books, 1975.
ISBN: 9780465036301
Characteristics: xii, 484 p.


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