Defining the parameters of postmodern literature is a daunting task, due not only to disagreements about what texts can or can't be approached as postmodern, but also to the paradoxical and elusive nature of the postmodern movement. Paradoxical seems to be an effective word to invoke when approaching postmodern literature--as Barry Lewis points out in his … Continue reading What is Postmodern Literature?
In today's post, I will briefly discuss my interpretation of the character of Nehemiah in Melville’s epic poem Clarel, and I will contrast him with David Fenimore Cooper’s “parallel” character, David Gamut, in The Last of the Mohicans. At first glance, Nehemiah seems to be a typical stock character that serves as a foil to … Continue reading The Perils of Religious Stagnancy: Herman Melville’s “Clarel”
We are told that everything has a beginning and an end. This, of course, is due to the fact that the human mind is constructed to perceive the world through temporality and linearity. However, as Emerson posits, perhaps the reason why the human mind is unable to pinpoint the beginning and the end of the … Continue reading I Want to Believe: The Perpetual Circularity of Truth and Power
“Real knowledge is to know the extent of one’s ignorance” – Confucius In James Fenimore Cooper’s The Last of the Mohicans, I was particularly interested in a debate that occurs between David Gamut and Hawkeye concerning religious belief versus pragmatic/empirical knowledge. David, extremely thankful that Hawkeye has just saved his life, praises the scout, claiming … Continue reading On “Forgetting” Rifles and Sacred Texts
The following entry discusses some ideas that I plan to explore in a research paper that I will write for a course titled "Knowledge, Belief, and Science in Melville's America," which is being offered by Dr. Laura Dassow Walls at the University of Notre Dame during the fall semester of 2012. During my last semester … Continue reading Decoding the American Scholar: Towards a Distant Computational Reading of Emerson’s Prose
“Knowledge is knowing the tomato is a fruit, wisdom is not putting it in your fruit salad.” - Miles Kington Knowledge, as can be deduced from the morphological composition of the word, entails knowing: an awareness that is developed empirically. Wisdom, on the other hand, is concerned with the judgment, assessment, and use of knowledge … Continue reading On Wisdom, Experience, and Self-Reliance
Charles Taylor, in his discussion of Disenchantment and Reenchantment in his book titled Dilemmas and Connections, posits that in the premodern world, meaning can be found not only within the mind of the individual, but it can also be found in objects present within the external world (290). Ostensibly, what is being argued here is … Continue reading On Knowledge and Belief in Emerson’s XXXIX Sermon