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By Paul Gilmore

Aesthetic Materialism: electrical energy and American Romanticism specializes in American romantic writers' makes an attempt to theorize aesthetic adventure in the course of the language of electrical energy. based on medical and technological advancements, such a lot particularly the telegraph, eighteenth- and nineteenth-century electric imagery mirrored the mysterious workings of the actual brain in addition to the doubtful, occasionally surprising connections among contributors. Writers comparable to Whitman, Melville, and Douglass drew on photographs of electrical energy and telegraphy to explain literature either because the manufactured from particular monetary and social stipulations and as a method of transcending the person decided through such stipulations. Aesthetic Materialism strikes among historic and cultural research and shut textual analyzing, difficult readers to work out American literature as right now formal and old and as a made from either aesthetic and fabric experience.

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Extra info for Aesthetic materialism : electricity and American romanticism

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While Coleridge’s romantic electricity illustrated an eternal law of structure and opposition that should be replicated in a traditional hierarchical society, spiritualists’ more sentimentalized telegraph revealed a vast egalitarian spiritual union. In both cases, however, the individual experiences of historical forces, social stratification, and lived bodily (sensuous, aesthetic) existence were sublimated in favor of the universal truth they suggested—either the universal law governing all relations or the reduction of human life and differences to a spiritual equality.

Extends itself not this way or that way only, but in all directions, [and] will . . be the means, under God, of extirpating all error and prejudice, and of putting an end to all undue and usurped authority. . ”14 As historian James Delbourgo century—to reincorporate ideas of free will and Christian theology with an emphasis on a mechanically determined physical world. Accounting for the intersection between a physical world and a spiritual realm—between mechanistic determinism and free choice—associationists frequently turned to electricity.

Soon thereafter, “the detestable maxims and correspondent measures of the late French despotism had already bedimmed the public recollections of democratic phrensy; had drawn off to other objects the electric force of the feelings which had massed and upheld those recollections; and that a favorable concurrence of occasions was alone wanting to awaken the thunder and precipitate the lightning from the opposite quarter of the political heaven” (7:1:199). Rather than representing both love and revolution, as in his youth, electricity came to signify the dangers of a materialistic view of the world in the sociopolitical sphere.

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