Emerson's Sublime Science

Emerson's Sublime Science

by Eric G. Wilson
     
 

Emerson's Sublime Science explores relationships among Emerson's poetics, theory of the sublime, and engagement with electromagnetism. Focusing on the years between Emerson's break with the church in 1832 and the publication of his Nature in 1836, the book illustrates how Davy's chemistry and Faraday's physics revealed to Emerson a sublime universe in which matter is… See more details below

Overview

Emerson's Sublime Science explores relationships among Emerson's poetics, theory of the sublime, and engagement with electromagnetism. Focusing on the years between Emerson's break with the church in 1832 and the publication of his Nature in 1836, the book illustrates how Davy's chemistry and Faraday's physics revealed to Emerson a sublime universe in which matter is boundless electrical force. This new scientific information affected the young Emerson profoundly, inspiring him to revise the cosmology, aesthetics, and poetics of his European Romantic predecessors in light of an electromagnetic paradigm. Translating organic life into electric force, Kant's sublime into scientific apprehension, Romantic symbols into electromagnetic circuits, Emerson in his first book Nature created a linguistic version of this electrical cosmos, channelling the perpetual forces of the universe into charged tropes and agitated figures. He wished to galvanize his readers, to shock them into an awareness of nature's animating energies. Offering new perspectives on Emerson's Romanticism, the study also uncovers provocative connections among science, aesthetics, and poetics.

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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
After delivering his final sermon at a Boston church in 1832, Ralph Waldo Emerson evolved into the Transcendental poet whose ideas that electrified the American intellectual scene of the day were sparked by what he termed "sublime science." Wilson (English, Wake Forest U.) analyzes how Emerson's first book, (1836), reflects an aesthetics and cosmology galvanized by Faraday's work in electromagnetism and Davy's electrochemistry in fusion with the currents of Romantic poetry and hermetic alchemy. The author also touches upon Emerson's other works. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknew.com)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780312217754
Publisher:
St. Martin's Press
Publication date:
03/28/1999
Series:
Romanticism in Perspective Series
Pages:
216
Product dimensions:
5.70(w) x 8.85(h) x 0.87(d)

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