By David Marr
Analyzing the relation among literature and American political lifestyles, David Marr proposes that the Emersonian culture is so significant to American tradition that it may function a way of mapping the literary and highbrow background of the us over the past a hundred and fifty years. He exhibits how American literary genius and political concept were thinking about an analogous relations of difficulties all triggered via the Emersonian culture of "idealized privatism," which so rejected the chances of political existence that it has discourages the emergence of a public discourse and a political language.
Marr indicates that the decline of the political, the elusiveness of democracy, and the huge impact of "idealized privatism" on its historiographers and critics are significant subject matters of yankee literary notion and represent a practice that spans literature, feedback, historical past, philosophy, and political conception. He illustrates this via readings of Emerson's principles of nature, tradition, and politics; Walt Whitman's fable of the autocrat of letters; William James's critique of "vicious intellectualism;" the contrasting formulations of radical interiority within the poetry of Robinson Jeffers and the feedback of R. P. Blackmur; and modern photographs of public discourse as printed in Joseph Heller's Catch-22 and the essays of Ralph Ellison.
Discussing not just the works of vintage American thinkers, but in addition the new writings of such new-pragmatists as Stanley Cavell, Richard Rorty, and Nelson Goodman, Marr demands a reassessment of the yank highbrow prior and of up to date assumptions concerning the family of literature to political existence.
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Additional info for American Worlds Since Emerson
Thoreau 1966, 131). Walden provides the answer to this rather misconceived question: it is not a matter of rights at all but an affair of the human imagination. For the most part, we are not where we are, but in a false position. Through an infirmity of our natures, we suppose a case, and put ourselves into it, and hence are in two cases at the same time, and it is doubly difficult to get out. (Thoreau 1966, 217) Propertyindeed, the entire reified worldoriginates in that infirmity, that locus of desire which provokes us to suppose a case; human social existence at its meanest is strung out between the supposed case of property and what Thoreau calls "the case that is" (Thoreau 1966, 218).
This is why any attempt to see our literary movements as revolutionary always seems overwrought, just as our few attempts at radical political reform seem so hopelessly literary. The missing social and political ingredient of American Modernism, and it was missing from the first, cannot be overemphasized. (Newman 1985, 52) Because American literature since Emerson and Melville has as much of a claim to being called "modern" as any literature, American or European, in the twentieth century, I believe that exactly the opposite of Newman's generalization in the final sentence above best describes the relation of culture and politics in America.
Thoreau implies that "Sandy Pond" is better because it connects more completely with Page 28 the distinctive features of this particular body of water. "Flints' Pond," by contrast, connects with none of these features but quite well with the distinctive features of the farmer: his greed, presumptuousness, egotism, stupidity, etc. Thoreau recognizes that the different names have different meanings: did he not, he would have nothing to say about property, or about a good many other topics in Walden.