Supergrow is a collection of fifteen essays that appeared between 1966 and 1969 in publications such as the American Scholar, the New York Times, Antioch Review, Esquire, and the Saturday Review. Author Benjamin DeMott discusses everything under the sun--music, improving one's sex life, violence in Mississippi, theater, student revolts--but a single theme unifies the material: people ought to use their imaginations more. The book starts from the assumption that our troubles stem from failures of the imagination. Overcome by mass media, we are often too oblivious to fresh and original ideas. As DeMott states, "àthe right use of the constructive imagination increases the effectiveness of our energies, enables people to anticipate moves and countermoves, prevents them from becoming frozen into postures of intransigence or martyrdom which, though possessing a æterrible beauty,' have as their main consequence the stiffening of resistance and the slowing of change." Supergrow is a sociological and political critique of various aspects of everyday life in America, one informed by a powerful moral sensibility and an Emersonian sense of self-reliance. DeMott takes pop culture seriously, but exhibits a refreshing unwillingness to "go with the flow" and get caught up in fashionable intellectual fads. Graced with a new introduction by the author, Supergrow is an insightful work that is not afraid to tackle difficult subject matter. Whether discussing homosexuality, racism, popular music, or child rearing, Supergrow is well-reasoned, perceptive, and entertaining. As DeMott would hope, it will stimulate the imagination. "Devastating, sustained, profoundly witty, resounding." --New York Times Book Review "I didn't think it possible for a long time to come for any writer to say anything about black-and-white relations or lack of them that had freshness and pertinence. I was wrong."--Nat Hentoff, Village Voice Benjamin DeMott is an essayist, novelist, and journalist. He was professor of English at Amherst College, and a consultant and writer for National Educational Television. He is the author of The Body's Cage, Killer Blues: Why Americans Can't Think Straight about Gender and Power, and You Don't Say, available from Transaction.

chapter |9 pages


chapter |3 pages


chapter |18 pages

“But He’s a Homosexual...”

chapter |10 pages

Against McLuhan

chapter |16 pages

Rock Saves?

chapter |11 pages

Mississippi Learning

chapter |10 pages

The Age of Overkill

chapter |6 pages

Tickle-Touch Theater: A Reservation

chapter |12 pages

America the Unimagining

chapter |12 pages


chapter |18 pages

How We Lost the Sex Lab War

chapter |8 pages

Exactly What One Means

chapter |18 pages

Reading, Writing, Reality, Unreality ...

chapter |6 pages

Turning On and Off with Student Rebels

chapter |6 pages

The Man Who Imagined Imaginations

chapter |7 pages

Existential Sixties’ Cinderella Word

chapter |14 pages

In and Out of Universal City