Knowing, Seeing, Being: Jonathan Edwards, Emily Dickinson, Marianne Moore, and the American Typological Tradition

Knowing, Seeing, Being: Jonathan Edwards, Emily Dickinson, Marianne Moore, and the American Typological Tradition

by Jennifer L. Leader


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Scholars no longer see Jonathan Edwards as the fire-and-brimstone preacher who deemed his parishioners "sinners in the hands of an angry god." Edwards now figures as caring and socially conscious and exerts increased influence as a philosopher of the American school of Protestantism. In this study, he becomes the progenitor of an alternative tradition in American letters.

In Knowing, Seeing, Being, Jennifer L. Leader argues that Edwards, the nineteenth-century poet Emily Dickinson, and the twentieth-century poet Marianne Moore share a heretofore underrecognized set of religious and philosophical preoccupations. She contends that they represent an alternative tradition within American literature, one that differs from Transcendentalism and is grounded in Reformed Protestantism and its ways of reading and interpreting the King James Bible and the natural world. According to Leader, these three writers' most significant commonality is the Protestant tradition of typology, a rigorous mode of interpreting scripture and nature through which certain figures or phenomena are read as the fulfillment of prophecy and of God's work. Following from their similar ways of reading, they also share philosophical and spiritual questions about language, epistemology (knowing), perception (seeing), and physical and spiritual ontology (being). In connecting Edwards to these two poets, in exploring each writer's typological imagination, and through a series of insightful readings, this innovative book reevaluates three major figures in American intellectual and literary history and compels a reconsideration of these writers and their legacies.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781625341808
Publisher: University of Massachusetts Press
Publication date: 02/11/2016
Pages: 240
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.90(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Jennifer L. Leader is a professor in the American Language Department at Mt. San Antonio College.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix

Introduction: A History of the Work of Typology 1

Part I Jonathan Edwards

1 Jonathan Edwards: A Reconsideration 15

2 Beauty and the Eye of the Beholder: Being and Desire in Jonathan Edwards's Natural Typology 34

Part II Emily Dickinson

3 Immersed in the Reformed Hermeneutic: Origins of Dickinson's Typological Imagination 61

4 Reading with "Compound Vision": Emily Dickinson and the Nineteenth-Century "Paper Wars" 78

5 "Myself- the Term between": Dickinson's Typology of Split Subjectivity 107

Part III Marianne Moore

6 Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth: Marianne Moore in Her Reformed Tradition 129

7 "Part Terrestrial, and Part Celestial": "The Real" and "The Actual" in Moore's Revisionist Typology 144

8 'Integration Too Tough for Infraction": Being, Ethics, and Aesthetics in Early and Late Moore 171

Notes 205

Works Cited 223

Index 237

What People are Saying About This

Jane Donahue Eberwein

A ground-breaking contribution to scholarship on three major writers and their roles in American Protestant poetics. It will introduce typology into literary conversations in a fresh and illuminating way while deepening appreciation for poetry.

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