By Mark Noble
In American Poetic Materialism from Whitman to Stevens, Mark Noble examines writers who proportion the idea that personhood should be understood as a cloth occasion. via new readings of Whitman, Emerson, Santayana, and Stevens, Noble uncovers a literary background wrestling with the results of its personal materialism, and asks what this account of shared materiality can let us know in regards to the so much profoundly secular versions of the fashionable topic. At a second while a number of new versions of the connection among human adventure and its actual floor movement between serious theorists and philosophers of technological know-how, American Poetic Materialism explores poets who've lengthy requested what our materiality can let us know approximately our customers for brand new versions of our fabric selves.
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Extra info for American Poetic Materialism from Whitman to Stevens (Cambridge Studies in American Literature and Culture)
But I do not mean to suggest that simply defining one’s terms adequately resolves the discursive confusion inhabiting our critical materialisms. In fact, the literary history I describe often suggests that the trouble with materialism’s various employments stems in part from a more fundamental problem within the concept itself. The difficulty with a critical term that promises straightforward demystification but sponsors a mystifying range of critical possibilities reflects a common dilemma for philosophical materialists, one in which the content of any particular materialist discourse seems to overdetermine its own ontological categories.
We are drawn, then, to the alterity of the material world by an intuitive craving for some knowledge of those non-human elements about which we sense, however paradoxically, the presences of an alien and extraordinary power – “the rough, harsh, sea-wave, north-wind element, the denier of persons, the democratizer” (90). In our idealistic moods, we crave “pleasure at finding that a chaos of facts is the expression of a single underlying fact”; in our materialistic moods, we are drawn by an alien magnetism toward opportunities for recognizing “particulars in their full completeness” (65–66).
With Adorno, then, we are caught between the inevitability and the impossibility of locating a material ground for human experience. Describing the logic of Negative Dialectics as an iteration of aporetic materialism thus makes some sense of that book’s insistence that “[w]e are not to philosophize about concrete things; we are to philosophize, rather, out of these things” (33). Materiality provides the conditions of possibility out of which philosophy emerges, but it never offers a fixed position or stable ground about which philosophy can make a determinate claim.