American worlds since Emerson by David Marr

By David Marr

Strains the huge impact of Emerson on American literary and political idea

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As worthy of only literary attention (Cavell 1981, 12360). Thus for a literary critic or historian to study Emerson is, prior to the appearance of Cavell's work, to claim a territory no one else with intellectual training was interested in and whose market value rose and fell over the years in accord with the fortunes of the teaching of American literature and history. For a literary critic or historian to study Emerson today, however, is to discover Emerson to be contested terrain. Along with Richard Rorty, Nelson Goodman, and John McDermott, each of Page 9 whom has contributed significantly to the philosophical investigation of literature, Cavell has re-seen Emerson in the presence of his official academic custodians.

Includes index. 1. Emerson, Ralph Waldo, 18031882Influence. 2. American literatureHistory and criticism. 3. United StatesIntellectual life. 4. Philosophy, American. I. Title.  paper) British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data are available Acknowledgments for permission to reprint selections under copyright are made on page 235. ": Whitman's Democratic Vistas 73 Political Theory 75 Theory of History 80 Literary Theory 86 Chapter Three: Was William James a Political Philosopher? "Vicious Intellectualism" Seen in a Political Light 92 Arendt on the Modern Age 95 James and the Relations of Consciousness 98 Page viii "Vicious Intellectualism" 103 A Philosopher of Freedom?

If full participation in self-government, whether Page 6 representative or direct, is the criterion, then it is obvious that there has never been democracy in America. Partial democracy, in nineteenth-century America no less than in the Athenian polis, is not participatory democracy. In not being participatory democracy, partial democracy reveals itself to be the creature of liberal capitalism that it is. Politics in this "democracy," as Hannah Fenichel Pitkin and Sara M. Shumer have written, narrows to " 'Who governs,' which means determining 'who gets what, when, how' " (Pitkin and Shumer 1982, 44).

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