Aesthetic Individualism and Practical Intellect_American by Olaf Hansen

By Olaf Hansen

Addressing very important concerns within the present revision of yank literary stories, Olaf Hansen includes out an exposition of yankee writing as a philosophical culture. His extensive and comparative view of yankee tradition unearths the significance of the yankee allegory as a real inventive and highbrow sort and as a special mode of suggestion really suited for show the philosophical legacy of transcendentalism. Hansen lines highbrow and cultural continuities and disruptions from Emerson via Thoreau and Henry Adams to William James, paying specified realization to the modernism of transcendental proposal and to its caliber as a sound philosophy in its personal correct. excited by defining principles of self, selfhood, and subjectivity and with ethical culture as an act of making order out of the cosmos, the yankee allegory supplied a easy and often neglected hyperlink among transcendentalism and pragmatism. Its "suggestive incompleteness" mixed in a hugely dialectic demeanour the essence of either enlightenment and romanticism. characterised neither via absolute objectivity nor through absolute subjectivity, it allowed hypothesis concerning the that means of fact and approximately humankind's position in a realm of appearances.

Originally released in 1990.

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Neither did Eakins stick to the rules of an acceptable kind of realism when doing The Gross Clinic. There is something altogether specific about the Gross Clinic, a quality of an orchestrated realistic rhetoric that transforms the historical moment into metaphysical time. It is, in fact, the very orchestration of the rhetoric of realism that causes this transforma­ tion. ) Apart from this element of mannered realism, how else does The Gross Clinic differ? First of all: the reviewers quoted above were correct, even though they misunderstood the meaning of their experience when they claimed to be puzzled about the lack of a fixed point of view for themselves as viewers.

Gross had several times made the demand that the great surgeons of America should be immortalized for posterity, he certainly did not expect to have his wish granted by way of allegorical dissemination. In this sense, then, he certainly was immortalized in the manner of traditional portraiture also, but only with a large number of qualifications included. The contrapuntal functions of light and color in The Gross Clinic state the allegorical sense of the painting in its most extreme and openly subversive form.

Where allegory is dominant, epistemology looks pale. Knowledge becomes clearly defined as the necessary first step: The sec­ ond step involves the quest for synthesis. This second step is the final one—never fully accomplished. The painting that Thomas Eakins presented to a puzzled audience in 1875 cam ^ totally without preparation. Never before, as many com­ mentators have pointed out, had such a painting been seen in Amer­ ica. If it is part of tradition's work to resist the exhaustion of its sources, Eakins's contribution to the strength of American culture can hardly be overestimated.

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