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On looking into the abyss is a very good book written by a serious thinker reflecting on the state of her culture himmelfarb offers the reader many insights her emphasis on the role of ideas in society is delightful and her championing of the standards of scholarship is admirable. On looking into the abyss untimely thoughts on culture and society by gertrude himmelfarb new york knopf 192 pp review by marian therese horvat it is not a comfortable position or a place for the fainthearted to stand on the edge of the abyss of postmodernism to peer in and to dare to criticize the beasts of contemporary intellectual fashion. Get this from a library on looking into the abyss untimely thoughts on culture and society gertrude himmelfarb. When a human being becomes so still that they begin to lose awareness of their gender and they are simply looking into that abyss where there is no notion of self whatsoever the world disappears and thats really the only place to go its the only place to remain. Facing the abyss examines the relation of aesthetics to politics the idea of universalism and the connections among authors across racial ethnic and gender divisions modernist and avant garde styles were absorbed into popular culture as writers and artists turned away from social realism to emphasize the process of artistic creation