By Paul Hurh

ISBN-10: 0804791147

ISBN-13: 9780804791144

If the US is a country based upon Enlightenment beliefs, then why are such a lot of of its so much celebrated items of literature so darkish? American Terror returns to the query of yank literature's special tone of terror via an in depth research of 3 authors—Jonathan Edwards, Edgar Allan Poe, and Herman Melville—who not just wrote works of terror, yet who defended, theorized, and championed it. Combining up-to-date ancient views with shut analyzing, Paul Hurh exhibits how those authors constructed terror as a distinct literary impact expert incidentally the concept that of pondering turns into, within the wake of Enlightenment empiricism, more and more outlined by means of a suite of austere mechanic procedures, comparable to the medical process and the algebraic capabilities of analytical common sense. instead of looking for a sense that may go beyond pondering by way of subtending cause to emotion, those writers present in terror the sensation of pondering, the unusual feeling of reason's authority over emotional schemes. In so doing, they grappled with a shared set of putting up with questions: what's the distinction among considering and feeling? after we comprehend whatever, how will we be aware of that we all know it? Why does it appear very unlikely to cause oneself out of an irrational worry? And what turns into of the liberty of the desire after we become aware of that has effects on can push it around?

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Additional info for American Terror: The Feeling of Thinking in Edwards, Poe, and Melville

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In other words, if “a metaphysics of greater fullness” is taken as Edwards’s contribution, that metaphysics must constantly be reminded of the hole at its heart, the vital site of nothingness that not only drives its fricative unfolding but also, considered rigorously, renders that fullness finally and categorically inaccessible to us as persons. AWA K E N I N G T E R R O R 37 This chapter builds on Colacurcio’s and Cameron’s case by exploring how Edwards’s negative “opposite sort of power” develops through a historical and theoretical engagement with the affect of terror.

19 It is to find the feeling of what George Levine has identified as the narrative of scientific epistemology, that “continuing aspiration to get it straight, to understand what it means, to transcend the limits imposed by the limiting self ” which curiously, “depends on the elimination of the self ” (2). Levine’s study seeks to recuperate the objective demand that the knower get outside himself or herself—“dying to know”—by showing how Victorian narratives reveal how that bleak demand “is a condition of intellectual exchange and of social life; and it is a perilously saving condition toward which the intellectual, moral, and aesthetic ventures of Western society have occasionally inched” (15).

Symptomatic horror is different from terror in that it relies 16 INTRODUCTION upon some perceived deviation; one can feel horror by being confronted by a hideous, many-tentacled, and drooling monster, just as one can feel horror by hearing about atrocities committed by a dictator upon his people. Horror is thus closely associated with outrage in its normative assumptions, the sense that something is out of place and that the anomaly must be assimilated or destroyed. Once manifest or projected as an identifiable threat, the horror of that anomaly consequently becomes available for symptomatic interpretation.

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American Terror: The Feeling of Thinking in Edwards, Poe, and Melville by Paul Hurh

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