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

By Paul Hurh

If the United States is a country 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 yankee literature's distinct tone of terror via an in depth 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 old views with shut analyzing, Paul Hurh indicates how those authors built terror as a unique literary impact knowledgeable incidentally the idea that of pondering turns into, within the wake of Enlightenment empiricism, more and more outlined by means of a collection of austere mechanic methods, akin to the medical strategy and the algebraic capabilities of analytical good judgment. instead of looking for a sense that may go beyond pondering via 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 putting up with questions: what's the distinction among considering and feeling? after we understand anything, how can we be aware of that we all know it? Why does it appear most unlikely to cause oneself out of an irrational worry? And what turns into of the liberty of the need once we detect that has effects on can push it around?

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Extra info for American Terror: The Feeling of Thinking in Edwards, Poe, and Melville

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The differences between subject and object, between self and world, between the real and the fictional, are not reinforced, as they are in the gothic horror, or recuperated, as they are in the sublime, but rather are taken themselves as affective incitement. What is necessary, then, is a term that designates the operation by which this binary is destabilized. I find this in Sianne Ngai’s definition of tone. Ngai, addressing the problem of where the feeling of a text occurs (in the text? ), theorizes tone as arising centrally from the subjective/ objective problematic of emotion itself: “Tone is the dialectic of objective and subjective feeling that our aesthetic encounters inevitably produce” (30).

In the darkness of American literature, the answer is neither an enduring presence nor a distressing absence but rather a tone that reflects the thought that asks. 1 AWA K E N I N G T E R R O R Hellfire Preaching, Jonathan Edwards, and the Logic of Revivalist Affect i n e a r ly s e p t e m b e r 1 74 1 , the twenty-five-year-old itinerant preacher James Davenport found himself in the house of New Haven’s long-established minister Reverend Joseph Noyes, defending his claim that Noyes was a “[w]olf in Sheep’s cloathing” (Clap et al.

Elisa New privileges consent in Edwards’s philosophy, a term she takes as smudging sharp distinctions between a human’s will and God’s, offering instead affectionate correspondences that privilege “adhesive attachment and connectedness” (The Line’s Eye 243). As the autonomous self dissolves into a flux of worldly and divine forces, what comes to the fore is “a metaphysics of greater fullness than one either driven by subjects or driven by objects” (63). Filling out the scientific contexts for this pragmatist Edwards, Joan Richardson similarly finds, in Edwards’s reading of Newton’s optics, a theory of light that would enrich the perceptual basis of this consensual exchange, one that, by “reconceiving dependence, not as submission and passivity .

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