Category Archives: History

The Age of Anxiety?

I’ve got a new essay up at the New York Times‘s Opinionator site. (It’ll also appear in tomorrow’s Sunday Review.) The title the editors used is “It’s Still the ‘Age of Anxiety.’ Or Is It?” and, as that suggests, the piece questions the frequent application to our era (post-WWII to now, roughly) of the epithet “The Age of Anxiety.”

You hear that phrase used a lot these days. (Come to think of it, one place you hear it a lot is the New York Times, so it’s an appropriate forum.) It was coined by W.H. Auden in a 1947 book — a “baroque eclogue,” in his description — of that title, and was quickly and widely adopted as a kind of bumper sticker for Western modernity. (more…)