Download e-book for kindle: American Terror: The Feeling of Thinking in Edwards, Poe, by Paul Hurh

By Paul Hurh

ISBN-10: 0804791147

ISBN-13: 9780804791144

If the USA is a state based upon Enlightenment beliefs, then why are such a lot of of its so much celebrated items of literature so darkish? American Terror returns to the query of yank literature's particular tone of terror via a detailed 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 ancient views with shut interpreting, Paul Hurh indicates how those authors constructed terror as a different literary have an effect on trained incidentally the idea that of pondering turns into, within the wake of Enlightenment empiricism, more and more outlined by way of a collection of austere mechanic techniques, equivalent to the clinical process and the algebraic services of analytical common sense. instead of searching for a sense that might go beyond pondering by means of subtending cause to emotion, those writers present in terror the sensation of considering, the strange feeling of reason's authority over emotional schemes. In so doing, they grappled with a shared set of tolerating questions: what's the distinction among considering and feeling? after we comprehend whatever, how can we recognize that we all know it? Why does it appear very unlikely to cause oneself out of an irrational worry? And what turns into of the liberty of the need after we notice 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

Example text

In horror’s frame, the monster is object; it is locatable in the world and in the text; it is capable of being destroyed or rehabilitated; and perhaps most importantly, it is interpretable in a fairly straightforward symptomatic way. In terror’s frame, the monster is subject; it is only gestured at by the world of the text; it can neither be destroyed nor rehabilitated; and most importantly, it resists interpretation because it takes to task the very categories and assumptions central to the impulse to explain away, to rationalize, to ameliorate fear.

A pragmatic idealist, such as Emerson, would see Melville’s alternative—the framing of philosophy’s mission as radical agon—as a commitment to despair, as a deliberate madness, or at best, as a pathological residue of fossilized religious doctrine. 27 INTRODUCTION 23 But even Ishmael and Starbuck can feel the tug of Ahab’s madness. And Cavell’s essays on Poe’s skepticism as well as Grimstad’s recognition of pragmatic practices in Poe and Melville make apparent the proximity of the skeptical tradition to the pragmatist one.

The Mathers may have refrained from disrobing in the pews, but wasn’t the substance of their terror and Davenport’s—the fear of being damned to hell’s fires—basically the same? The question of the significance of Puritan expressions of terror, and especially the changing nature of that expression over the seventeenth and eigh- 38 AWA K E N I N G T E R R O R teenth centuries, has been the site of influential studies that use the jeremiad sermon as an index to the period’s cultural dynamics. The changes in the jeremiad’s traditional imprecatory form, according to these studies, reflect wider social and theological tectonics.

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


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