By Paul Gilmore
Aesthetic Materialism: electrical energy and American Romanticism specializes in American romantic writers' makes an attempt to theorize aesthetic event throughout the language of electrical energy. in accordance with medical and technological advancements, so much particularly the telegraph, eighteenth- and nineteenth-century electric imagery mirrored the mysterious workings of the actual brain in addition to the doubtful, occasionally stunning connections among contributors. Writers similar to Whitman, Melville, and Douglass drew on photographs of electrical energy and telegraphy to explain literature either because the manufactured from particular financial and social stipulations and as a way of transcending the person made up our minds by means of such stipulations. Aesthetic Materialism strikes among ancient and cultural research and shut textual analyzing, difficult readers to determine American literature as without delay formal and ancient and as a made from either aesthetic and fabric event.
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Extra info for Aesthetic Materialism: Electricity and American Romanticism
12 What Whitman’s figure of this poetic electricity captures best, and what this study will foreground, is the bodily physicality and sociohistorical materiality of this electric experience. Metaphors of aesthetic electricity, I argue, were outgrowths of residual and emergent literary, popular, and scientific understandings of electricity, and these sources for aesthetic electricity point to the attempt of many to imagine aesthetics as a sensuous experience of the individual body embedded in specific social situations that somehow led to the momentary suspension of the individual in a sense of a larger whole.
Aesthetic materialism : electricity and American romanticism / Paul Gilmore. p. cm. Includes bibliographical references and index. 9780804770972 1. American literature—19th century—History and criticism. 2. Authors, American—19th century—Aesthetics. 3. Electricity in literature. 4. Telegraph in literature. 5. Romanticism—United States. I. Title. 9’003—dc22 2008031223 Printed in the United States of America on acid-free, archival-quality paper Typeset at Stanford University Press in 10/13 Galliard For Charlotte and Rowan I have perceived that to be with those I like is enough, To stop in company with the rest at evening is enough, To be surrounded by beautiful curious breathing laughing flesh is enough.
The chapter moves on to examine the two dominant modes of understanding the telegraph that emerged in the 1840s and 1850s, arguing that they bridge the idealism of Coleridge and the technological utopianism of Morse. On the one hand, spiritualists grasped the telegraph as a material instrument revealing the immaterial interconnectedness of all humanity, all life, all creation. On the other hand, techno-utopianists envisioned the telegraph, along with the railroad and the steamship, accomplishing the material, commercial unification of the world, a world union that would be run by the intellectually and spiritually gifted races of Europe.
Aesthetic Materialism: Electricity and American Romanticism by Paul Gilmore