American Literature

Download e-book for iPad: A Natural History of Pragmatism by Joan Richardson

By Joan Richardson

ISBN-10: 051126111X

ISBN-13: 9780511261114

ISBN-10: 0521694507

ISBN-13: 9780521694506

ISBN-10: 0521837480

ISBN-13: 9780521837484

Joan Richardson offers a desirable and compelling account of the emergence of the indispensable American philosophy: pragmatism. She demonstrates pragmatism's engagement with numerous branches of the typical sciences and lines the advance of Jamesian pragmatism from the overdue 19th century via modernism, following its pointings into the current. Richardson combines strands from America's non secular event with clinical info to supply interpretations that holiday new flooring in literary and cultural historical past. This e-book exemplifies the worth of interdisciplinary ways to generating literary feedback. In a sequence of hugely unique readings of Edwards, Emerson, William and Henry James, Stevens, and Stein, A average background of Pragmatism tracks the interaction of spiritual reason, medical hypothesis, and literature in shaping an American aesthetic. Wide-ranging and ambitious, this groundbreaking publication could be crucial studying for all scholars and students of yank literature.

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Example text

Newton’s conclusion was that light is not a uniform thing, but rather is composed of diverse kinds of light: “Since there are no discontinuities in the spectrum, for each value of the sine proportion between the extremes there corresponds a kind of light refracted according to that proportion. ” Sepper notes that this experiment was special because all the previous experiments had served to refute hypotheses, while this one was designed to allow a “true and invariant property of light” to be recognized: Newton does not present the crucial experiment to confirm a hypothesis: no hypothesis has been enunciated.

These features, evident in American writing beginning with the colonial period, resolve in Edwards into a self-conscious style that, moreover, and most significantly, deploys structures adopted from his close attention to natural processes. As Whitehead observes, it is the translation of the welter of emotional experience in the face of “stubborn fact”– a term he borrowed from William James and deployed persistently throughout his work – into a private, self-conscious form that marks the aesthetic.

For Edwards, for Emerson, and for the other figures who are the subjects here, it is as though theaters or stages are set up within their sentences so that we end up with periods containing within themselves not only images, tropes, and analogies to make the idea clear but, in addition, stage directions for the performance of utterance, even if only to ourselves, as speakers/readers engaging in a kind of prayer. These performances provide the signals for positive action, or, at the very least, the taking on of a particular attitude in relation to the fact described or idea presented.

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A Natural History of Pragmatism by Joan Richardson

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