By Joan Richardson
Joan Richardson presents a desirable and compelling account of the emergence of the fundamental American philosophy: pragmatism. She demonstrates pragmatism's engagement with a variety of branches of the typical sciences and lines the improvement 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 background. This publication 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 traditional historical past of Pragmatism tracks the interaction of non secular intent, medical hypothesis, and literature in shaping an American aesthetic. Wide-ranging and impressive, this groundbreaking booklet can be crucial interpreting for all scholars and students of yank literature.
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Extra resources for A Natural History of Pragmatism: The Fact of Feeling from Jonathan Edwards to Gertrude Stein
In Jefferson Campbell, genetic inheritor of a group in fact more congenial to the native environment of American nature, the oxymoronic aspect of taking on the habit of mind fashioned from centuries of Old World experience displays itself most poignantly and painfully: until his contact with Melanctha, he is unable to feel outside the parameters allowed by his rational, Enlightenment-educated sensibility. Henry James somewhere observed that attempting to express emotion in English is like trying to do a quadrille in a sentry box; Jefferson Campbell offers a prime example of this difficulty.
The development of what was laid out in the extravagantly prolific text of Principles is traced into its branchings in The Varieties of Religious Experience to “re-crystallize”56 in Pragmatism. A consideration of Henry James’s The Ambassadors is offered in the following chapter, examining the many points of coincidence in the interests and perceptions of Henry and William James, each equally motivated to provide in the varieties of their work as accurate a representation as possible of what they had come to understand about the nature of human nature both from their common intellectual inheritance and from their ongoing lifelong interchange.
Lombard in 1867, “Brain-activity seems accompanied by a local disengagement of heat” (emphasis James’s). ” Moreover, this rise in heat was found to be much greater in mentally reciting poetry or repeating something silently than in reading or saying it aloud. James concludes “that the surplus of heat in recitation to one’s self is due to inhibitory processes which are absent when we recite aloud . . 20 Edwards’s process, then, of following and coming to be able to project imaginatively Newton’s delineations in Latin of light’s properties would have both stimulated “the thrill of satisfaction” accompanying the activation of the earlier paths set down from his having learned Latin and provided the “feelings of successful achievement” attendant on his increasing fluency in Newton’s language of description.