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Essays on Modern American Literature

Modern American literature began with a statement of enthusiasm from Emerson's writing in Nature. 'Enthusiasm', in Emerson, is a knowing word. Sometimes its use is as description, invariably approving, of a historic form of religious experience. Socrates' meaning of enthusiasm, and the image of the enthusiast it throws up, is crucial to this book. The book is a portrait of the writer as an enthusiast, where the portrait, as will become clear, carries more than a hint of polemic. It is about the transmission of literature, showing various writers taking responsibility for that transmission, whether within in their writing or in their cultural activism. Henry David Thoreau's Walden is an enthusiastic book. It is where enthusiasm works both in Immanuel Kant's sense of the unbridled self, and in William Penn's sense of the 'nearer' testament, and in Thoreau's own sense of supernatural serenity. Establishing Ezra Pound's enthusiasm is a fraught and complicated business. Marianne Moore composed poems patiently, sometimes over several years. She is a poet of things, as isolated things - jewels, curios, familiar and exotic animals, common and rare species of plant - are often the ostensible subjects of her poems. Homage to Frank O'Hara is a necessary book, because the sum of his aesthetic was to be found not just in his writing, but also in his actions to which only friends and contemporaries could testify. An enthusiastic reading of James Schuyler brings to the fore pleasure, the sheer pleasure that can come of combining, or mouthing, or transcribing.

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Constructing an ideal type
Marcel H. Van Herpen

really all that difficult to create an aura about oneself that will fool everyone – or just about everyone – who comes under its influence … It goes without saying that under these conditions the rule of a good upbringing that says one must not blow one’s own horn has to be ruthlessly put aside. The more that the vulgar practice of unbridled self-praise spreads in a society which for the most part still adheres to the rules of good upbringing, the more powerful its effect will be and the more easily that society can be convinced that only a truly “great man” who cannot

in The end of populism
Aeron Davis

investment banking, but now ran his own fund management company. As he explained, markets were good, but unbridled self-interest was not good for markets. In reality, it made markets less not more stable. He talked about three investment strategies commonly applied at the time – index tracking, momentum investing and hedge funds: It pays everybody individually to index but, collectively, the market suffers because there is no efficient pricing. However efficient or inefficient the market is it's a zero-sum gain

in Reckless opportunists
Adding emotion to international history
Daniel Hucker

into Chamberlain’s hands. Indeed, Chamberlain’s personal letters reveal an unbridled self-confidence. On 13 August, he commented how ‘I do not feel pulled down or depressed’, suggesting further that his own robustness was a ‘great relief’ to his less assured foreign secretary, Lord Halifax. Nevertheless, there is evidence of profound unease; writing to his wife, Annie, on 2 September he acknowledged that ‘the thing hangs over me like a nightmare all the time’, yet still he clung to ‘a rather more hopeful impression of the situation’. 20 Even the ‘awful week’ that

in The Munich Crisis, politics and the people
Open Access (free)
Henry David Thoreau
David Herd

it aims to do is to make sense of the world: the words, their etymologies, their derivations and ultimately their constitutive phonemes are understood here to sound the objects they refer to in the way that the onomatopoeically rendered birdsong sounds birds. This, I think, this passage in particular, is an example of Thoreau’s enthusiastic use of words, where enthusiasm works both in Kant’s sense of the unbridled self, and in William Penn’s sense of the ‘nearer’ testament, and in Thoreau’s own sense of supernatural serenity. Thus, that words are ungoverned here is

in Enthusiast!
Florence D’Souza

was spearheaded by writers like Herder, Fichte, Schiller and Schelling. The common ground among them was an idealisation of freedom, unbridled self-invention, delight in artistic creation through self-invented ideals, a turn towards the unattainable infinite through subjective introspection, a rejection of a rigid, pre-ordained reality and a search for symbols and myths to replace established religion, 1 visible in the

in Knowledge, mediation and empire