Pierce-Arrowby Susan Howe
Pierce-Arrow takes as its shooting off point the figure of Charles S. Peirce, the allusive late nineteenth-century philosopher-scientist and founder of pragmatism, a man always on the periphery of the academic and social establishments yet intimately conjoined with them by birth and upbringing.
Through Peirce and his wife Juliette, a lady of shadowy antecedents,
Pierce-Arrow takes as its shooting off point the figure of Charles S. Peirce, the allusive late nineteenth-century philosopher-scientist and founder of pragmatism, a man always on the periphery of the academic and social establishments yet intimately conjoined with them by birth and upbringing.
Through Peirce and his wife Juliette, a lady of shadowy antecedents, Howe creates an intriguing nexus that explores the darker, melancholy sides of the fin de siecle Anglo-American intelligentsia. Besides George Meredith and his wife Mary Ellen, Swinburne and his companion Theodore Watts-Dunton are among those who also find a place in the three poem-sequences that comprise the book: "Arisbe," "The Leisure of the Theory Class," and "Rückenfigur." Howe's historical linkings, resonant with the sorrows of love and loss and the tragedies of war, create a compelling canvas of associations. "It's the blanks and gaps," she says, "that to me actually represent what poetry is-the connections between seemingly unconnected things-as if there is a place and might be a map to thought, when we know there is not."
American Letters and Commentary
Read an Excerpt
Phenomenology of war in the Iliad
how men appear to each other when
gods change the appearance of things
Send him down unwilling Captain of
the Scorned he is singularly doomed
Mortality is a sign for humanity our
barbarous ancestors my passion-self
Each assertion must maintain its icon
Faith in proof drives him downward
During the summer of 1997 I spent many hours in New Haven in the bowels of Sterling Library because that's where the microform room is, almost underground, next to preservation. In an adjoining, more cryptlike corridor, behind some discarded, hopelessly outdated computer terminals and microfilm viewers (nothing from the outside or inside will ever be seen on them again) the 38-reel Charles S. Peirce Papers 1859-1913 (inclusive), [Microform] Film misc. 948 is packed inside two drawers of a slate-gray metal file cabinet. No one stays for long in this passage or chamber because it's freezing and the noise from air-conditioning generators the university recently installed in a sub-basement immediately underneath resembles roaring or loud sobbing.
Suppose a man is locked in a
room and does not want to go
out his staying is voluntary
is he at liberty no necessity
What shall we finallysay if
Members of the Department of
Philosophy Harvard University
undertake the task of sorting
his papers now in the custody
of Harvard's Houghton Library
The microform room at Sterling has several new microfilm readers with Xerox copiers attached. At the left of each viewing screen there is a thin slot for a copy card. Above each slot five singular electric letters spell HELLO in red as if to confide affection
in all their minute and terrible detail these five little icons could be teeth.
A microphotograph is a type of photograph nearly as old as photography itself, in which an original document is reproduced in a size too small to be read by the naked eye so here the human mind can understand far from it. Film in the form of a strip 16 or 35 millimeters wide bearing a photographic record on a reduced scale of printed or other graphic matter for storage or transmission in a small space is enlarged to be read on a reading machine combining a light source and screen together in a compact cabinet. The original remains perfect by being perfectly what it is because you can't touch it.
Upstairs at the circulation desk, an employee has put a nondescript signal on the horizontal black strip that bisects the verso oblong surface of my white plastic YALE UNIVERSITY LIBRARIES (Lux et Veritas) copy card so the space the cut encloses now represents five dollars. As if invisibility is the only reality on the rapid highway of mechanical invention HELLO draws card number 156186 inside itself with a hiss.
It is strange how the dead appear in dreams where another space provides our living space as well. Another language another way of speaking so quietly always there in the shape of memories, thoughts, feelings, which are extra-marginal outside of primary consciousness, yet must be classed as some sort of unawakened finite infinite articulation. Documents resemble people talking in sleep. To exist is one thing, to be perceived another. I can spread historical information, words and words we can never touch hovering around subconscious life where enunciation is born, in distinction from what it enunciates when nothing rests in air when what is knowledge?
A person throws a stone
as fact through air not
fact but appearance of
fact floating in vacuua
Blind existential being
may possibly not occur
at all we know nothing
with absolute certainty
of existent things not even
the single "word" the
NAME IN FULL: Charles S. Peirce (I am variously listed in print as Charles Santiago Peirce, Charles Saunders Peirce, and Charles Sanders Peirce. Under the circumstances a noncommital S. suits me best) [MS 1611]. PIERCE v; to run into or through as an instrument or pointed weapon does. PURSE n; a small bag closed with a drawstring and used to carry money. Even if he trained himself to be ambidextrous and could amaze his undergraduate classmates at Harvard by writing a question on the blackboard with one hand while simultaneously answering it with the other, Peer/se pronounced Purr/se blamed most of his problems on his own left-handedness.
1893: JOHN JAY CHAPMAN to MRS. HENRY WHITMAN: Charles Peirce wrote the definition of University in the Century Dictionary. He called it an institution for purposes of study. They wrote to him that their notion had been that a university was an institution for instruction. He wrote back that if they had any such notion they were grievously mistaken, that a university had not and never had had anything to do with instruction and that until we got over this idea we should not have any university in this country. He commended Johns Hopkins.
Difficulty increases success
in the moral world why do
we exist at all the end of life
all commerce with the world
What is logic? To understand
you must first read the book
The abrupt dismissal of Charles Sanders Peirce by the trustees of the Johns Hopkins University from his position there as part-time lecturer in logic and literature (1879-84), for reasons never fully explained, might be termed a form of banishment. In spite of clear knowledge that he was a profoundly original thinker, an effective, often charismatic teacher, in spite of the efforts of William James, who consistently recommended him for academic positions at Harvard University, the University of Chicago, and elsewhere, after 1884 Peirce was never again offered another teaching appointment. Scattered rumors and slanders (many of them continue to this day) variously represent America's great logician, the founder of pragmatism and one of the founders of mathematic, or symbolic, logic, as a decadent aesthete, a lecher, a liar, a libertine, queer, a wife beater, an alcoholic, a drug addict, a plagiarist, a wannabe robber baron; an unpractical pragmatist with suspect metaphysics.
In 1891 Peirce, the first meteorologist to use a wavelength of light as a unit of measure and the inventor of the quincuncial projection of two spheres, was forced to resign from the United States Coast and Geodetic Survey, where among other things he had been in charge of gravity and pendulum research for 20 years. According to Beverley S. Kent's Charles S. Peirce: Logic and the Classification of the Sciences, the U.S. Coast Survey's international reputation as America's premier scientific institution was largely indebted to his genius.
It is more than likely that Peirce lost his academic position and his government appointment primarily because the lecturer in logic from a privileged upper-class background (motherSarah Hunt Mills, the daughter of Senator Elijah Hunt Mills ((Daniel Webster occupied Mills' senate seat when he retired)), fatherBenjamin Peirce, founder of the Harvard Observatory, one of 50 incorporators of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, an organizer of the Smithsonian Institution, distinguished professor of mathematics at Harvard, considered America's premier (((if eccentric))) 19th-century mathematician, brothersJames Mills Peirce, professor of mathematics and dean of the graduate faculty at Harvard, Herbert Henry Davis Peirce, distinguished foreign service career) flouted conventions of genteel scholarly decorum among the American learned by openly living with a European woman of uncertain background at the same time he was married to (although separated from) his first (recent rumor says second) wife, Harriet Melusina (Zina) Fay Peirce. Zina, also from a prominent New England family, was an influential feminist political organizer in Boston and Cambridge circles. She left him for undisclosed reasons in 1878 after 14 years of marriage. If Peirce had kept this love affair quiet it might have been tolerated in the academy and the Survey, but in 1881 he began divorce proceedings against his first wife for desertion. In 1883, only two days after their divorce was finalized, he married again. In Cambridge, Boston, and Baltimore Zina's public, unorganized "desertion" was also considered a breach of decorum. Unable to reinstate herself in polite circles (even as a radical feminist bluestocking) she moved to New York and Chicago, where she earned a meager living by managing boardinghouses, continued to write magazine articles, edited an edition of her sister Amy's letters, titled Music Study in Germany, and suffered increasingly from heart trouble and attacks of depression. Over the next 40 years she laboriously revised her now forgotten novel, New York: A Symphonic Study, published in 1918. I haven't been able to find a copy.
MS 1640: Juliette de Portalès from her friend and devoted servitor C.S. Peirce. [Fragment from the flyleaf of a German, French, English Dictionary, n. d.]
She might have been 17 or 19 years old. She might have been teaching him German. Elizabeth Walther (Charles Sanders Peirce: Leben und Werk, 1989) thinks Peirce might have met the enigmatic "Mme Pourtalai" during 1876 when he was in Berlin doing pendulum research for the Geodetic Survey. Following a trail of surnames through genealogical records in Germany, France, and Switzerland, Walther has discovered hints, rumors, embellishments, contradictions, erasures, negations, fictions. On the marriage certificate in the New York City Bureau of Records, April 26, 1883, Juliette Pourtalai's maiden name is given as Juliette Annette Froissy of Washington, D.C., daughter of August Froissy and Rose [E]yem. The marriage to Peirce is listed as her second. She might have been the wife of a certain Pourtalai who had no first name, but there is no certificate from this former union, if there was one. Either the man was dead when she left Europe, or they were separated, or he never existed. An entry in one of Peirce's notebooks in Juliette's hand refers to "La Duchesse de Parme à Wartegg ma soeur." In another she listed places where she spent Christmas holidays in her youth. Some were spent in Nancy, apparently before her mother died. Archives in Nancy show no Froissys and no Count Pourtalai. Tracking the name Juliette Annette de Portalès, Walther was able to turn up an Anna Ada yon Portalès (from a French family with a Swiss branch), the first child of Jacques Alfred yon Portalès and his second wife, Sophie von Thielau, born July 28, 1857. But Anna Ada died April 17, 1889. Walther assures us it was not unusual for members of the German aristocracy to declare someone dead in order to disinherit them.
Babel wants a scourge for its wild
green grassblades not seeing me
Whatever Juliette's age or her surname the couple made sure it remained a secret. Joseph Brent (Charles Sanders Peirce: A Life, 1993) says that in the papers of Mary Eno Pinchot and her son, Governor Gifford Pinchot, there is correspondence and information concerning the Peirces, but even here all references to Juliette's identity have been removed. Mary Eno's daughter-in-law, Cornelia Bryce Pinchot, somewhat nastily hinted to someone that (among other possibilities) Juliette-Anna-Ada may have been one of a small group of "filles de joie" forced into exile by the French Third Republic for political reasons.
In 1936, shortly after her death, the younger Henry James (William James' son, not his brother) remembered Juliette telling Alice (William James' wife, not his sister) that after she arrived in New York in 1876 she lived at the Hotel Brevoort (the first house the James family occupied in New York City during the 1840s, at Fifth Avenue between Eighth and Ninth Streets, had been knocked down with some others to make way for the hotel). According to Brent, the Brevoort catered to the wealthy, titled, and socially important, and Peirce was well known by the staff. According to James, Juliette shyly stayed in her room until one evening the manager told her there was to be a reception, a party or a ball, and as he knew the hosts, he arranged to have her properly introduced as a guest. Juliette told Alice that this was where and when she met her future husband. The third Henry James cautioned Henry S. Leonard, who had written to him regarding the papers being collected at Harvard, against putting any information he might have to offer concerning Juliette's origin into print: "after all, it is Peirce, not Mrs. Peirce you are writing about and so far as he is concerned her importance consists not of where she came from or what she was before he married her, but of what she did for them after they were married." Nevertheless he felt obliged to add: "Mrs. Peirce's habit of concealing all names when she alluded to or told about her past is what makes everything so blind and dubious.... There is enough here to lay the foundations for a mystery story."
Joseph Brent portrays his eccentric subject as a manic-depressive, alcoholic, drug-addicted, debauched, debauching, Baudelairean dandy; difficult, but a genius. He blames the American mathematician-logician-philosopher's devotion to Juliette on the questionable influence of French fin-de-siècle poets and novelists. After all Peirce, a Francophile, was in Paris, where he presented a report of his discoveries on pendulum research at a meeting of the Permanent Commission of the International Geodetic Association during the turbulent autumn of 1875.
| 41-55; Lowell Institute lectures by, 298,|
317-325, 387n.276:42; marriage to Harriet
Melusina Fay ("Zina"), 199, 213, 250-254,
284-285, 291; marriage to Juliette, 213,
291-292; memorial service in Milford for,
| Peirce, Juliette Froissy Pourtalais (Fabiola|
de Lopez, third wife of CSP): at Arisbe
(Milford, PA), 6, 12, 47, 48, 49, 52, 66, 274;
background of, 274-275, 279-284; condolences
sent to, 14, 22, 32; courtship of,
Kenneth Laine Ketner presents his theory as to Juliette-Fabiola's genealogy in His Glassy Essence: An Autobiography of Charles Sanders Peirce, (1998). (FatherAdolphe Fourier de Bacourt, a distinguished French monarchist diplomat well known in French and German circles, and as the French ambassador to Washington during 1840-42, acquainted with Benjamin Peirce, George Bancroft, and other cosmopolitan American scholars, politicians, and ambassadors ((Fabiola was illegitimate)). Motherfamous Gypsy flamenco dancer and singer of cante jondo, or "deep song," a music unique to the Gitanos of Andalusia). Over the caption "Madame de Lopez / Would you care to see her photograph?" Ketner supplies the portrait of an exceedingly grim middle-aged woman dressed in what appears to be mourning. Her left hand clutches at her skirt as if she were on the verge of running away or had just been caught in the act. In the act of what, who can say? Her right hand grips what or may not be a deck of playing cards protruding from the end of an elaborately studded, casket-shaped box probably intended for jewelry. When Juliette-Fabiola met Peirce at the Brevoort House (the Charles Sanders Peirce Professor of Philosophy at Texas Tech University and director of its Institute for Studies in Pragmaticism says it was a Christmas costume party and that Benjamin Peirce, who may have been acting as one of her several elite guardians, introduced her to his son) she was a sickly 19-year-old Romany orphan living in an apartment off Washington Square, under the care of her duenna or governess, the Marquise de Chambrun. You will have to read His Glassy Essence to learn how Ketner reaches this compelling conclusion. It seems to be largely based on Victor Lenzen's "Babcourt hypothesis," written for Max H. Fisch in 1973. Lenzen suggests she may have been a Gypsy, then changes his mind. In 1966, Charles Gassman, the Peirces' close neighbor, told Fisch that Gypsies were often in the Milford area, and as Juliette was friendly with them, he believed she might have been one herself. Ketner cites the pack of cards she kept encased in an inlaid box and may have used to tell fortunes and a letter to Charles from Wendell Phillips Garrison, the editor of The Nation, after having visited the couple in 1902: "My late lamented friend Dean Sage who loved all outdoors and was a great Booravian [George Henry Borrow, former hack writer, traveling hedge-smith, and author of Lavrengo and its sequel, The Romany Rye, among other popular accounts of works about the Romany world of Great Britain and Spain] went daft on the gipsies who haunted Albany for a time. As for fortune telling your wife did me up brown on your porch one day, with tales of deception & perhaps matrimony which I did not take down in shorthand. I have more respect for palmistry than for cards...."
"There was nothing that Borrow strove against with more energy than the curious impulse, which he seems to have shared with Dr. Johnson, to touch the objects along his path in order to save himself from the evil chance. Walking through Richmond Park with the present writer he would step out of his way to touch a tree." In the article he contributed to the eleventh edition of The Encyclopaedia Britannica Theodore Watts-Dunton cautions readers against assuming George Borrow never created a character. Even if originals in his accounts seem easily recognizable, "the man who 'touched' to avert the evil chance has so many of Borrow's own eccentricities it could be called a portrait of himself." Rumor is a story passing from one person to one person without an original authorized relation. For Peirce sentiment comes from the heart, it must also be feigned. Demosthenes with his mouthful of pebbles had to talk without choking himself or allowing the pebbles to drop from his mouth. Verbal reverberations keep us safe, that is their interest. Emerson shows in the essay he titled "The Poet" how smallest things can serve for symbols, how every relation is picture-language. "Bare lists of words are found suggestive, to an imaginative and excited mind; as it is related of Lord Chatham, that he was accustomed to read in Bailey's Dictionary, when he was preparing to speak in Parliament." "If my name is a terror to evil doers," Noah Webster is rumored to have said to someone, "mention it."
In poetry all things seem to touch so they are.
After their marriage the Peirces lived in Manhattan. Juliette spoke French and German fluently, taught music and French, and was an accomplished pianist. Private theatricals were popular; she became a noted amateur actress and took singing lessons. She owned some valuable jewelry and received about 18,000 francs as a pension from somewhere. One reason the couple gave for hiding her identity was that if she didn't keep it a secret the payments would stop. Gypsies had been subjected to suspicion and penalties, hounded and persecuted throughout Western Europe: if she was half Romany, there would have been good reason never to trust anyone. They both enjoyed card tricks, word games, fortune-telling, charades. He drew a cartoon of her as "the bourgeoise Athena." Together they translated and performed in Medea.
MS 1572: A gentleman of reputation in science and philosophy (member of the U.S. Academy of Sciences) highly successful as a teacher (especially of those who are backward) will receive into his house in new York, and instruct, without the aid of accomplished assistants, in all or many branches, three or four strictly select pupils young gentlemen, extending some peculiar opportunities advantages for cultivation.
Drama of community never reached.
Phenomenology asks what are the elements of appearance. In my nature (cross out with) it is a sort of instinct toward (slash to) a solid (cross out visible) instinctive attraction for living facts. Microreproduction gives the trace of someone or something. Pens are noisy pencils quiet. What is the secret nature of fact? What is the fact that is present to you now? Between the law of the market and the law of exchange handwriting as noise cannot be enacted. Let y be y you cannot gasp at blue. On the one hand academic and antiquarian tendencies with lattice work in open gables on the other, Indianapolis. For most architects print modifications are silent. When I read an authorized edited Collected Work I read against original antiredness what ought to be seen, generally. Peirce calls secondness all naked feeling and raw life. Originality is in being such as thus this being is.
At that time] at time
Four years after his dismissal from Johns Hopkins, the couple pooled some money recently inherited from somewhere, and for one thousand dollars they acquired Thomas Quick's 140-acre farm on the western bank of the Delaware River ("the wildest county of the Northern States") two and a half miles from Milford, Pike County, Pennsylvania, seven miles below Port Jervis, New York. They covered the outer walls of Quick's original farmhouse with shingles in the then fashionable New England "summer cottage" style and added floors and rooms, including a library for his large book collection. Max Fisch says the Peirces probably called their property "Arisbe" after a city in Troas, the ancient colony of Miletus, the home of the early Greek philosophers, Thales, Anaximander, and Anaximenes, who first searched for the Arche, the Principle, the first of things. I think Peirce named the house for Homer's "brilliant" or "shining" Arisbe.
Arisbe mark of mortality.
Next Teuthras' Son distain'd the Sands with Blood,
Axylus, hospitable, rich and good:
In fair Arisba's Walls (his native Place)
He held his Seat; a Friend to Human Race.
Fast by the Road, his ever-open Door
Oblig'd the Wealthy, and reliev'd the Poor.
To stern Tydides now he falls a Prey,
No Friend to guard him in the dreadful Day!
Breathless the good Man fell, and by his side
His faithful Servant, old Calesius dy'd. [Iliad, VI. 15-24]
Alexander Pope was 25 when in spring 1714 economic necessity pushed him to begin the ambitious project of translating Homer into up-to-date English. As Roman Catholics he and his parents were unable to invest money easily, and their annuities from French rentes they depended on were in danger of default. The translation was to be published by subscription in the manner of Dryden's Virgil. Proposals were issued, the reaction was enthusiastic; 652 sets were reserved in advance. King George I and the Prince of Wales were among the subscribers. Only when he was sure of making a profit did Pope begin this work that for the next five years became his obsession. The first volume, containing the first four volumes of the Iliad of Homer, with a Preface, Essay, and Observations, printed by W. Bowyer for Bernard Lintot between the Temple-Gates, was delivered to subscribers in 1715 and established his reputation.
JOSEPH ADDISON: Reading the Iliad is like traveling through a Country uninhabited, where the Fancy is entertained with a thousand Savage Prospects of vast Desarts, wide uncultivated Marshes, huge Forests, misshapen Rocks and Precipices. On the contrary, the Aeneid is like a well ordered garden
Roman Catholics in England weren't allowed to own property, but the money Pope earned allowed him lease a country villa near London. Here "The Hermit of Twickenham," or "Twitnam" as he preferred to call it, practiced elaborate landscape gardening, constructed his fantastic grotto, and received a constant stream of brilliant visitors, including John Arbuthnot, Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, John Gray, Lord Bolingbroke, Sarah Duchess of Marlborough, Bishop Atterbury, Jonathan Swift, even Voltaire. The much celebrated house and grounds have been associated with the poet-philosopher's name ever since.
Can a name be a prediction?
In Book XII Asios leaves Arisbe and is swallowed by dark-named Destiny. In Book XXI, Lykaon, a bastard son of Priam, captured by Achilles in an earlier struggle, is sold into slavery and shipped to Lemnos fortress until Eëtion out of Imbros pays a princely ransom for the captive and sends him to Arisbe's shining walls. There he is well treated until he foolishly escapes. After many difficulties Lykaon returns to Ilion where he joins his half brother Hector's army. Not for long. Twelve days later Achilles runs across him again by accident. Time (take Zeno's flying arrow) sets out in a past we place ourselves in. If the present is connected to the past by a series of infinitesmal steps (The Law of Mind) a past cannot be wholly past.
Lykaon sits back and spreads his arms wide
Achilles catches him by the foot and slings him in the river Scamander
Xanthus chief river of the Trojan plain free blossoming meadows
and murmuring waters of Scamander
Charles and Juliette Peirce find themselves owning property in order to secure a bourgeois existence. The house fronts on the old Milford Road, which follows the contour of the Delaware River from Port Jervis to Milford. The scenery and delightful summer climate have made the nearby Delaware Water Gap a delightful summer resort.
Consult the Genius of the Place in all;
That tells the Waters or to rise or fall,
Or helps th'ambitious Hill the Heav'ns to scale
MS 1611: He resides at his wife's country seat `Arisbe,' near Milford, Pa., where he has a free school of philosophy, furnishing remunerative employment to such students as desire it. He also exercises the professions of chemist and engineer.
We are almost here but in a false position. There is no artificial grotto with an aquatic effect (plates of looking glass in an obscure part of the roof and sides of the cave, every object multiplied), no busts of Homer and Virgil to stimulate a visitor's thought. The picturesque in its late American stage is awkward and cut up. Something is wrong with the scale. Where are the visitors?
Arisbe imagined as a business transaction. The free school never materializes. The end of the Survey salary is shocking. Staring it in the face the material the unreal real thing that is in money enters into language by determining it. Recklessly they acquire more land, apple and nut orchards, a slate quarry. Both of them are very nervous very often very ill.
An authentic modern tragedy if we think of gold as being money.
A capitalist who loses everything is hurled headlong into the enormous wave of a money-fed river.
Forced to earn their support on what he could gain by various temporary means, Peirce produced an extraordinary number and variety of book reviews and essays (often anonymously) for a variety of journals, including The Nation, The Monist, and Popular Science Monthly. He gave occasional lectures, tutored students privately, worked on translations from the French and the German, collaborated on various encyclopedias and dictionaries (he composed most of the definitions on logic, mathematics, mechanics, astronomy, astrology, weights, measures, and all words relating to universities for W. D. Whitney's Century Dictionary and most of the articles on logic for J.M. Baldwin's the Dictionary of Philosophy and Psychology), served as a consulting chemical engineer for the St. Lawrence Power Company, gave lessons in elocution to Episcopal ministers, developed an invention for electrolytic bleaching, concocted a "Genuine Imitation/Cologne Water," joined well-heeled fellow members of the Century Club in New York in a venture to produce cheap domestic lighting from acetylene gas with a generator he invented and patented. But the national economic collapse during the 1890s left him bankrupt. Even the Century Club expelled him around 1898. After 1900 Peirce gave up trying to earn his living either by teaching or by science pure and applied and became the first American to list his profession as that of logician: a "bucolic logician," as he put it.
MS 1613: Occupation, Digestion psycho- and physio-logical.
Positions or Offices held since leaving the University, with dates,
Was once on the Commission to Examine the Mints
Gave lectures at Bryn Mahr (I forget how to spell it)
The rest weren't worth a fig, far less a date
Membership in Scientific or other learned Societies, Have been an Honorary Member of the Athenaeum Club in London and the Garde Voltaire (I am not at all sure of remembering the name) in Paris.
I don't amount to a row of pins (according to any such more or any mode of estimation) The distinctions of which I am proudest is the devotion of friends, especially my wife & several women who I have never seen and probably never shall see.
While outlining the Pragmatic Principle in the North American Review, October (1871), he first coined the term pragmatism, but it went unrecognized or unacknowledged until William James publicly used the word in a lecture at Berkeley in 1898, titled "Philosophical Conceptions and Practical Results." James said he was presenting "the principle of Peirce, the principle of pragmatism." Their ideas on the definition and principle were never identical. In 1903, after attending Peirce's Lowell Lectures, James referred to the current thought of his friend as "flashes of light relieved against Cimmerian darkness." In 1905, Peirce, in a paper titled "What Pragmatism Is," announced the birth of the word pragmaticism, a name "which is ugly enough to keep it safe from kidnappers."
How are ideals maintained in the long story of responsibility? Secret.
The genteel American tradition is not to kill an original: we only remove the embarrassment.
MS 1611: Honors Conferred, Never any, nor any encouragement or aid of any kind or description in my life work, excepting a splendid series of magnificent promises.
Chief Subject of Research, Logic.
Where Chiefly Published, Not published except in slight fragments. See Schröeder's Logik.
Researches in Progress, In logic will continue as long as I retain my faculties & can afford pen and ink.
For the latter third of his life this philosopher's philosopher who once yearned to be hired as a professor somewhere drew and wrote (according to his own calculations) over 2,000 words, diagrams, algebraic formulas and/or existential graphs a day. His unpublished writings (including his correspondence) come to more than 100,000 pages.
Perhaps Peirce banished himself for logic's sake.
Juliette remains exactly who she never says she is she already burned her boats.
MS 1644: The robberies which have been going on at Arisbe Park, the large house of Madame Juliette Peirce on the Milford road, have reached a stage where drastic action is being sought. Sporadic burglaries and pettty thieveries have annoyed Mme. Peirce for several years, despite attempts to stop them and have frequently reached a stage where this talented lady, the widow of Charles Sanders Peirce the famous scientist, fears for her life.
In speaking of the recent robberies Mme. Peirce states that a very valuable ermine coat, with costly lining was stolen and as it represented a large amount of money and as well was valued for its usefulness, she feels its loss keenly. [THE MILFORD DISPATCH: Mme. Peirce's home robbed of valuables.]
Each of the 38 reels in the microfilm edition has the same brief preface far more brightly lit than the photocopied body:
This microfilm prepared during the years 1963-1966 with the cooperation of the Houghton Library and the Photographic Service of the Harvard University Library, includes all of the Peirce papers in the custody of the Harvard Department of Philosophy except a certain body of correspondence, personal and professional. It includes drafts of some but not all of Peirce's published writings, for many of which no manuscripts are extant. The papers here reproduced were for the most part acquired from Peirce's widow in the winter of 1914-15, less than a year after his death.
The arrangers, cataloguers, editors, and custodians don't give Juliette's name, nor do they tell us the Department of Philosophy probably paid her at the most five hundred dollars for the lot. She had tried unsuccessfully to interest Yale University in taking on Arisbe, possibly as a memorial to her husband, but got no response. After her death Gifford Pinchot's lawyer wrote to Yale, Harvard, and Columbia to ask if they were interested in acquiring Peirce's remaining books, papers, and scientific instruments. They weren't.
MS 1644: Mrs. Juliette Pierce has donated to the Milford Fire Depart. $20. from the $45, she netted the past summer telling fortunes. The balance has been given for various purposes. Mrs. Peirce was sorry the goal she aspired to was not reached but periodic attacks of bronchitis have precluded giving as much time as usual to fortune telling. [THE MILFORD DISPATCH.]
Between 1931 and 1935 Harvard published the first six volumes of what was hopefully called The Collected Papers of Charles Sanders Peirce. The general plan was for ten volumes, but money ran out after volume six. All the work for this edition was accomplished by a junior instructor and a graduate student volunteer. While the secondary scholarship on Peirce's work was steadily growing. Arisbe had no plumbing and no heat. Only two rooms remained furnished. Juliette lived in one of them alone with her husband's portrait, his unwanted scientific equipment, the remains of his book collection, other memorabilia (including his ashes in a silver urn), and a set of china. She died in October 1935, under "circumstances not suitable to sustain life or dignify death," according to the doctor who attended her. Trees and lilac bushes around the house had grown so high it was invisible from the road only 50 feet away. The property was left empty for two years until it was auctioned in 1936 for $3,600. Arisbe's new owners lit a bonfire in the neglected front garden and burned whatever relics burglers hadn't already carried off.
This was before the age of tag sales.
THOMAS WENTWORTH HIGGINSON: Look to the physical aspect of your manuscript, and prepare your page so neatly that it shall allure instead of repelling. Use good pens, black ink, nice white paper and plenty of it. Do not emulate "paper-sparing Pope," whose chaotic manuscript of the "Iliad," written chiefly on the backs of letters, still remains in the British Museum. If your document be slovenly, the presumption is that its literary execution is the same, Pope to the contrary, notwithstanding. ["Advice to a young Contributor," Atlantic Monthly, April, 1862.]
On the fifteenth of April 1862, Emily Dickinson sent a first letter to her future editor, probably in response to his "Advice." She enclosed four poems, including "We play at Paste," and a separate card bearing her name.
Lewis Mumford noted in The Brown Decades: A Study of the Arts in America 1865-1895 (1931 ) that the publication of Peirce's manuscripts had lagged for lack of a few thousand dollars to guarantee the initial expenses of his "Collected Works" and compared the situation to the concealment of Emily Dickinson's manuscripts by overzealous guardians. Martin Gardner wondered in Logical Machines and Diagrams (1982) if Peirce harbored unconscious compulsions toward cloudy writing that would enable him to complain later of his critics' inability to understand him. In "Communication, Semiotic Continuity, and The Margins of the Peircian Text" (1997), Mary Keeler and Christian Kloesel tell us the secondary lit- erature on Peirce demonstrates that only the hardiest scholars have made use of his manuscripts and even then only by way of photocopies, and that his work is unpublishable in print form. I wonder why manuscripts are so under- estimated in all academic disciplines, including science, mathematics, lin- guistics, semiology. It's 1999
I will print you a syllabus
Continuity probability even
the predictability of drift
Meet the Author
Author of more than a dozen books of poetry and two of literary criticism, Susan Howe's recent collection of poems That This, published by New Directions won the Bollingen Prize in 2011. Her earlier critical study, My Emily Dickinson, was re-issued in 2007 with an introduction by Eliot Weinberger. Three CDs in collaboration with the musician/composer David Grubbs, Thiefth,Souls of the Labadie Tract, and Frolic Architecturewere released on the Blue Chopsticks label (2005; 2011). Howe held the Samuel P. Capen Chair in Poetry and the Humanities at the State University New York at Buffalo until her retirement in 2007. The recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, she was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1999 and served as a Chancellor to the Academy of American Poets between 2000-2006. In fall, 2009 she was awarded a Fellowship to the American Academy at Berlin. Grenfell Press published a fine press edition of “Frolic Architecture with photographic prints by James Welling in 2009. Recently she was an Artist In Residence at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston. In October, 2013 her word collages were exhibited at the Yale Union in Portland, Oregon, and in the Whitney Biennial Spring, 2014. A limited press edition of Tom Tit Tot (the word collages which amount to a series poem) with art work by R.H. Quaytman has just been published by MoMA in New York, and Spontaneous Particulars:The Telepathy of Archives, (2014) published by Christine Burgin and New Directions.
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