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Epitomized in the work of Emerson, this praxis takes shape explicitly in Emerson's understanding of democracy and occurs as an exchange within the act of reading. This is the exchange that Emerson so eloquently calls for in "The American Scholar" under the name of "letters. After situating American letters in relation to German and British Romanticism and the features of American culture that augmented and altered their reception in the United States, the book goes on to explore the type of reading that Emersonian rhetoric engenders.

Both persuasive and tropological, this rhetoric elicits from the reader something similar to psychoanalytic transference. Its goal is to lead the reader to a point at which representational logic breaks down so that a new subject can take shape. The purpose of such rhetoric, however, extends well beyond personal self-creation, because the construction of the subject emerges as the very possibility of the passage from the private sphere to the public one.

Ralph Waldo Emerson "Each and All" Poem animation

In this passage, our entire notion of liberal individualism must be rethought, and with it, the pragmatic question of Emersonian ethics and politics. A revisionary study of some of Emerson's central essays, Less Legible Meanings also invites the reader to reconsider the nature of Emerson's influence on contemporary American culture and to discover new ways in which we might continue to understand his work. Interdisciplinary in scope, the book makes equal use of the history of philosophy, psychoanalytic theory, and cultural history.

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Less Legible Meanings: Between Poetry and Philosophy in the Work of Emerson

History of Western Philosophy. Normative ethics.

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Philosophy of biology. Philosophy of language. Philosophy of mind. They make Emerson seem awfully remote, abstract, and — yes — academic. It seems to me that a defining aspect of reading, that is, experiencing Emerson texts is its capacity to communicate something more basic and immediate than its arguments. By taking a clue from F. The defining feature of these fragments is their ability to make us see things as if we are viewing them for the first time spectator novus. It is a world where, we discover, there could be holiday in the eye too, if only we knew how to carry it.

In short, it is the world of active membership. A snow-storm was falling around us. The snow-storm was real, the preacher merely spectral, and the eye felt the sad contrast in looking at him, and then out of the window behind him into the beautiful meteor of the snow. He had lived in vain.

If he had ever lived and acted, we were none the wiser for it. The capital secret of his profession, namely, to convert life into truth, he had not learned. Not one fact in all his experience had he yet imported into his doctrine. This man had ploughed and planted and talked and bought and sold; he had read books; he had eaten and drunken; his head aches, his heart throbs; he smiles and suffers; yet, was there not a surmise, a hint, in all the discourse, that he had ever lived at all EL, pp.

At times it seems that he has too many particular cases on his plate to find room for abstraction. And it often happens that when he wants to make a point by giving an example, he sees an opportunity to unleash many images that are connected to each other like a collage. Sealts, Jr. LaRocca New York: Bloomsbury, , pp.

“Solutions in Hieroglyphic”: Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Picturesque Language,” and the Ancient Near East

Anscombe Oxford: Basil Blackwell, , p. Nyman, trans. Winch Oxford: Basil Blackwell, , p. David J. Hodge Stanford: Stanford University Press, , p. Gilman et al. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, , vol. VII, p. Richard C. II, p.