David Herd
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Enthusiasm and audit

Enthusiasm, it has been argued, is integral to what Modern American literature, in particular, knows; enthusiasm being, as each of the writers discussed here has one way or another understood it, the state of mind in which composition is possible. It is also integral to the circulation of literature, enthusiasm and enthusiasts having been, at various moments, crucial to the renovation and continuation of literary activity. The word for both James Schuyler's 'urge' and Ezra Pound's 'impulse', for the state of mind each associates with writing, has historically been enthusiasm. Enthusiasm fully understood, as an intense, sometimes ruinous relation of the mind to its object, is integral to the creation and the circulation of literature. Modern American writing, in so far as it can be understood to have its foundations in Emerson, had its origins, as he observed, in a fully developed, historically aware, enthusiastic view of the world.

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Essays on Modern American Literature


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