Criticism Theory

Aesthetic Individualism and Practical Intellect_American by Olaf Hansen

By Olaf Hansen

Addressing very important matters within the present revision of yank literary reports, Olaf Hansen incorporates out an exposition of yankee writing as a philosophical culture. His vast and comparative view of yank tradition unearths the significance of the yank allegory as a real inventive and highbrow variety and as a special mode of notion relatively fitted to convey the philosophical legacy of transcendentalism. Hansen strains highbrow and cultural continuities and disruptions from Emerson via Thoreau and Henry Adams to William James, paying specified cognizance to the modernism of transcendental idea and to its caliber as a legitimate philosophy in its personal correct. keen on defining rules of self, selfhood, and subjectivity and with ethical culture as an act of making order out of the cosmos, the yankee allegory supplied a uncomplicated and regularly neglected hyperlink among transcendentalism and pragmatism. Its "suggestive incompleteness" mixed in a hugely dialectic demeanour the essence of either enlightenment and romanticism. characterised neither by way of absolute objectivity nor via absolute subjectivity, it allowed hypothesis concerning the which means of truth and approximately humankind's position in a realm of appearances.

Originally released in 1990.

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Additional info for Aesthetic Individualism and Practical Intellect_American allegory in Emerson, Thoreau, Adams, and James

Example text

The fact that Eakins's great painting The Gross Clinic was not included among the works exhibited in the Art Pavilion at the Philadelphia Centennial Exhibition has been frequently commented upon. But even if the series of great exhibitions and world fairs which rapidly followed one another are interpreted as symbolic events in their own right, one should not expect too much from these high points of cul­ tural and social self-projection; at least not in the realm of intellectual history. That the "Centennial March," which was played at the opening of the exhibition, had been composed by Richard Wagner demonstrates more than adequately that self-celebration and adequate self-refer­ ence usually diverge.

On the other hand, Eakins had maintained the realistic effect of the momentary instance to an extreme degree; the painting at first glance shows exactly what at this point in time could be seen from the chosen point of view. However, he turned the painting into a comment on how it might have come about by putting himself into the painting. , writing, should not be overinterpreted. It probably is just what a painter in that position would do. ) With the painter himself as part of the whole, the time structure of the painting changes dramat­ ically.

We do know, however, that he took seriously both the tech­ nical instruction and its meaning as an artistic tool that was the artist's only entrance into the realm of nature. We feel the influence of his time spent with Gerome when we read a letter written in the tone of a student who tends to preach a bit when talking about recently ac­ quired insights: "The big artist does not set down monkey-like and copy a coal scuttle or an ugly old woman like some Dutch painters have done, nor a dung pile, but he keeps a sharp eye on Nature and steals her tools.

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