Leo Damrosch, the Ernest Bernbaum Professor of Literature at Harvard University, discusses of his new book, Tocqueville’s Discovery of America, and an exploration of Alexis de Tocqueville’s famous journey through the fledgling nation. Alexis de Tocqueville is more quoted than read; commentators across the political spectrum invoke him as an oracle who defined America and its democracy for all times. But in fact his masterpiece, Democracy in America, was the product of a young man’s open-minded experience of America at a time of rapid change. In Tocqueville’s Discovery of America, the prizewinning biographer Leo Damrosch retraces Tocqueville’s nine-month journey through the young nation in 1831–1832, illuminating how his enduring ideas were born of imaginative interchange with America and Americans, and painting a vivid picture of Jacksonian America.
BIO: Leo Damrosch
Leo Damrosch is the Ernest Bernbaum Professor of Literature at Harvard University. He is the author of Jean-Jacques Rousseau: Restless Genius, a finalist for the 2005 National Book Award in Nonfiction, and winner of the PEN New England/Winship Award.