By Mark Noble
In American Poetic Materialism from Whitman to Stevens, Mark Noble examines writers who percentage the belief that personhood could be understood as a cloth occasion. via new readings of Whitman, Emerson, Santayana, and Stevens, Noble uncovers a literary historical past wrestling with the results of its personal materialism, and asks what this account of shared materiality can let us know concerning the so much profoundly secular versions of the trendy topic. At a second whilst numerous new versions of the connection among human adventure and its actual flooring stream between severe theorists and philosophers of technological know-how, American Poetic Materialism explores poets who've lengthy requested what our materiality can let us know approximately our clients for brand new versions of our fabric selves.
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Extra info for American Poetic Materialism from Whitman to Stevens (Cambridge Studies in American Literature and Culture)
It is one thing to identify the ineluctability of a dialectics characterized by the refusal of sublation; it is quite another thing to assess the value of one’s connection to the material world when that connection is said to be at once fundamental and fundamentally unstable. ”9 In James’s caricature of philosophical idealism, for instance, we “feel the charm” of an imagined commensurability with the physical world. The idealist senses intimacy with a world and then reduces that world’s heterogeneity to a single abstraction designed to consecrate and perpetuate that sensation.
For my own part, the trouble stems from the fact that “materialism” is a term used by scholars of literature and culture as though its meaning were transparent, despite its employment in a variety of critical projects often not clearly related to one another. This is a problem that raises questions about the consistency and coherence of a sizeable chunk of our critical discourse. ” In this sense, materialist accounts of human experience are said to offer us hermeneutic relief from those illusory conceptions of ourselves – whether ideological or onto-theological – with which modernity perpetually contends.
To an invincible ignorance on which our happiness depends” (75). La Mettrie thus recommends a strategic response to a common problem faced by atomists who attempt explanations of a link between materiality and consciousness. The history of philosophical materialism involves repeated encounters with this relatively straightforward paradox: assertions that reality is comprised exclusively of physical substance rely on a foundational idea – the atom – that is itself curiously insubstantial. The atom, from Democritus onward, owes its exceptional durability and ubiquity to a tenuous set of features that must be imagined because they cannot be observed.
American Poetic Materialism from Whitman to Stevens (Cambridge Studies in American Literature and Culture) by Mark Noble