In Defense of Dialogue: Reading Habermas and Postwar American Literature offers a timely investigation of the value of dialogue in contemporary American culture. Using Jürgen Habermas’s theory of communicative action to read the work of Frank O’Hara, James Baldwin, Grace Paley, and Andy Warhol, In Defense of Dialogue assembles postwar writers who have never been studied alongside one another, showing how they overcame the pervading skepticism of their contemporaries to imagine sincere and rational speakers who seek to cultivate intersubjective discourse.
Chapter 1: Why Bother? Literature and Communicative Action
Chapter Two: Love, "Lucky Pierre Style," in Frank O’Hara
Chapter Three: James Baldwin’s Pursuit of Potentiality
Chapter Four: "Ourselves, Our Single Self": Talk as World in Grace Paley
Chapter Five: Andy Warhol’s Philosophy as Dialogue (From A to B and Back Again)
Conclusion: Walk the Talk