American Terror: The Feeling of Thinking in Edwards, Poe, - download pdf or read online

By Paul Hurh

ISBN-10: 0804791147

ISBN-13: 9780804791144

If the US is a state based upon Enlightenment beliefs, then why are such a lot of of its such a lot celebrated items of literature so darkish? American Terror returns to the query of yank literature's designated tone of terror via an in depth learn of 3 authors—Jonathan Edwards, Edgar Allan Poe, and Herman Melville—who not just wrote works of terror, yet who defended, theorized, and championed it. Combining up-to-date historic views with shut interpreting, Paul Hurh exhibits how those authors constructed terror as a different literary have an effect on proficient incidentally the concept that of considering turns into, within the wake of Enlightenment empiricism, more and more outlined via a collection of austere mechanic techniques, resembling the clinical process and the algebraic services of analytical good judgment. instead of searching for a sense that will go beyond considering via subtending cause to emotion, those writers present in terror the sensation of considering, the abnormal feeling of reason's authority over emotional schemes. In so doing, they grappled with a shared set of putting up with questions: what's the distinction among considering and feeling? once we be aware of anything, how can we understand that we all know it? Why does it look very unlikely to cause oneself out of an irrational worry? And what turns into of the liberty of the desire once we observe that is affecting can push it around?

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Extra resources for American Terror: The Feeling of Thinking in Edwards, Poe, and Melville

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21 Feeling thinking here means that the terror which coincides with the scientific narrative and the paradox of objectivity can in some ways better describe those logics than bare accounts of them. In this way, my study treats literary affect as a philosophical mode and joins an ongoing discussion about American literature’s relation to philosophy. 22 These studies reflect the mood of Cavell from the start, his enduring concern with the crisis of skepticism and its sophistication, and the mood or attitude that he consistently adopts, which is more hopeful than skeptical, more cheerful than frightened.

In the interim, the American Revolution, the new republic, and the widespread escalation of manufacturing and industrial capacities made Poe’s United States a radically different context than Edwards’s colonial New England. Still, one context was similar: just as the Awakening revivals inscribed the importance of emotion to Edwards’s communities, so too did the renewed rhetoric of sentiment and sensation, the cult of feeling, in Poe’s United States reawaken affect and an interest in aesthetics.

Instead, terror disrupts categorization by being an aesthetic orientation, an effect, of the very categories of subject and object. That which experiences “tone,” in Ngai’s sense, cannot be either just subject or object itself—our affective capacities come to open a new mode of apprehension, one in which the experience of aesthetic effect dislodges the subject/object binary. Given the unique structure of terror as I have defined it above—as emerging from and being recursively amplified by the self ’s own struggle to rationalize it—the ambiguity built into the concept 18 INTRODUCTION of tone will allow a discussion of terror without either refitting it into subject/ object schemes or abandoning those schemes entirely.

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American Terror: The Feeling of Thinking in Edwards, Poe, and Melville by Paul Hurh


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