This is the first book to offer a thorough examination of the relationship that Stanley Cavell’s celebrated philosophical work has to the ways in which the United States has been imagined and articulated in its literature. Establishing the contours of Cavell’s most significant readings of American philosophical and cultural activity, the volume explores how his philosophy and the kind of reading it demands have an important relation to broader considerations of the American national imaginary. Focused, coherent, and original essays from a wide range of philosophers and critics consider how his investigations of Henry David Thoreau and Ralph Waldo Emerson, for example, represent a sustained engagement with the ways in which philosophy might provide us with new ways of thinking and of living. This is the first detailed and comprehensive treatment of "America" as a category of enquiry in Cavell’s writing, engaging with the terms of Cavell’s various configurations of the nation and offering readings of American texts that illustrate the possibilities that Cavell’s work has, in turn, for literary and film criticism. This study of the role played by philosophy in the articulation of the American self-imaginary highlights the ways in which the reading of literature, and the practice of philosophy, are conjoined in the ethical and political project of national self-definition.
1. Acknowledging Stanley Cavell: Paradox, Poiesis and Philosophy in America Olaf Hansen 2. Reading Cavell Reading David LaRocca 3. Stanley Cavell, "Aversive Thinking," and Emerson’s "Party of the Future" David M. Robinson 4. Self-Relayance: Emerson to Poe Garrett Stewart 5. The Haunting of History: Emerson, James, and the Ghosts of Human Suffering Kristin Boudreau 6. Philosophy Out of Earshot of the School: Tocqueville and the "American Philosophical Method" Oisín Eoin Keohane 7. Attachment and Detachment in Cavell and Santayana Paul Jenner 8. Agee after Cavell, Cavell after Agee Paul Anderson 9. "A Dance of Frenzy, A Dance of Praise": Fred Astaire Acknowledges America Áine Kelly 10. Cavell, Thoreau, and the Movies Robert B. Ray 11. Embodying an American Union: Cavell’s Conjugal and Conversational Ties Andrew Taylor 12. The Experience of the Movies: Cavell’s Hollywood and Robert Warshow Rachel Malkin 13. Emersonian Affinities: Reading Richard Ford through Stanley Cavell Lawrence Rhu
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