Download e-book for iPad: At Emerson's Tomb: The Politics of Classic American by John Carlos Rowe

By John Carlos Rowe

ISBN-10: 0231058942

ISBN-13: 9780231058940

ISBN-10: 0231500475

ISBN-13: 9780231500470

Consultant works are interpreted in gentle of the 2 nice political routine of the 19th century: the abolition of slavery and the women's rights flow. by means of reexamining Emerson, Poe, Melville, Douglass, Walt Whitman, Chopin, and Faulkner and others, Rowe assesses the measure to which significant writers' attitudes towards race, type, and gender give a contribution to precise political reforms in 19th and twentieth-century American tradition.

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Example text

Freedom’s “flight” to southern regions is not simply the customary paternalism offered by New England abolitionists to Southern slaves. Emerson insists that the African: . . As the opening figure of the captive African “crooning ditties treasured well” suggests, the “sole estate” of enslaved African-Americans are the spirituals—“the wailing song he breathed”—that challenge an exclusively abstract, dispassionate consideration of the issues in the debate over slavery. ” In Nature (1836), the transcendental spirit is approached by the “man thinking” who uses language in a decidedly patriarchal fashion:“That which intellectually considered we call Reason, considered in relation to nature, we call 19 Emerson’s Political Writing Spirit.

35 Thought, morality, and nature must therefore be taken in the preceding quotation as predicates of Emersonian transcendentalism, which is to say: a certain kind of thinking results in a morality that is natural and proper to man. Certainly Emerson is striving here to link his philosophy with the traditional abolitionist arguments based on every human being’s natural rights to life, liberty, and control of one’s own labor-power. But he has made it appear that the best resistance to the new law is to be found in a transcendentalist temper, which supports disobedience of the law.

And we are shopkeepers, and have acquired the vices and virtues that belong to trade. . The national aim and employment streams into our ways of thinking, our laws, our habits, and our manners” (BWI, 20). For such societies, Emerson argues, slavery has a special appeal: “We had found a race who were less warlike, and less energetic shopkeepers than we; who had very little skill in trade. ” (BWI, 20). Such contempt for commercialism and its inherent exploitation of those weaker follows the rhetorical logic of Emerson’s transcendentalism, but in this lecture it becomes the economic basis of social values that must be turned to the work of abolition.

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At Emerson's Tomb: The Politics of Classic American Literature by John Carlos Rowe


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