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 kingdom 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 research 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 old views with shut interpreting, Paul Hurh indicates how those authors built terror as a distinct literary have an effect on expert incidentally the idea that of considering turns into, within the wake of Enlightenment empiricism, more and more outlined via a suite of austere mechanic techniques, similar to the medical process and the algebraic features of analytical good judgment. instead of looking for a sense that will go beyond pondering via subtending cause to emotion, those writers present in terror the sensation of pondering, the strange 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? after we comprehend anything, how can we understand that we all know it? Why does it appear most unlikely to cause oneself out of an irrational worry? And what turns into of the liberty of the need after we observe that is affecting can push it around?

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32 AWA K E N I N G T E R R O R This relatively tame episode in the spectacularly tumultuous religious crises of American history now known as the Great Awakening illustrates the clash not only of differing doctrines but of different modes of discourse. Noyes and his followers invite Davenport to explain his criticism of Noyes, sequestering him in a private meeting with the elite learned men of the parish. Such a remove would favor the conservative Noyes; Davenport, the outspoken evangelist, was known as a crowd favorite, capable of exciting whole congregations with his passionate sermons and histrionics.

I come at the end of this introduction to a bizarre problem, for I want to say something about what one might learn from this book’s story, to what use its thesis might be put, how it might benefit the shared mission of humanist scholarship. But it is through resistance to this very urge for purposive accounting that terror constitutes itself; to say that knowing this story may help us in the future would be to verge on a translation of terror that elides what makes it distinctive. Yet, to say that this book is useless to others would be perverse, soul crushing.

Potentiality for whom? Progressive in what direction and for what reason? 20 INTRODUCTION In a perfect state of self-annihilation, knowledge can be gained, but the self and those sets of beliefs for which that knowledge might be useful would be suspended. If, for Victorian literature, the narrative of scientific epistemology and its aspiration of detachment retains a saving and progressive potential, that same narrative, worked out in the terrors of American literature, rejects as its outcome the conservation of threatened ethical imperatives and the presumption of progress toward an emancipatory ideal.

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


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