Anglo-American Antiphony: The Late Romanticism of Tennyson and Emerson

By Richard E. Brantley | Go to book overview

Recapitulation and Cadenza

According to Stanley Fish, poststructuralist "theory" does not "govern practice from above" but "rests on induction from past experience,"1 and empiricism and evangelicalism, similarly, are not modes of abstract contemplation but ways of knowing. "Originally theoria meant seeing the sights, seeing for yourself, and getting a world view," and E. V. Walter adds that "the first theorists were 'tourists'--the wise men who traveled to inspect the obvious world. Solon, the Greek sage whose political reforms around 590 B.C. renewed the city of Athens, is the first 'theorist' in Western history." This theoria "did not mean the kind of vision that is restricted to the sense of sight. The term implied a complex but organic mode of active observation--a perceptual system that included asking questions, listening to stories and local myths, and feeling as well as hearing and seeing. It encouraged an open reception to every kind of emotional, cognitive, symbolic, imaginative, and sensory experience."2 Similarly, the "theories" of Tennyson and Emerson do not govern practice from above but, like the Wesleyan-Edwardsean, Anglo-American sensibility of which they form a part, rest on inductions from what this Anglo-American diptych of letters forcefully claims as its natural-spiritual experience. This "experience" appears palpable on the page.

The empirical-evangelical link between Tennyson and Emerson illustrates the tendency in England and the United States to set oneself apart from and even against Continental stripes of criticism and philosophy. The homegrown inductive character of Anglo-American philosophical the-

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Anglo-American Antiphony: The Late Romanticism of Tennyson and Emerson
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Prelude ix
  • Theme and Variations 1
  • Exposition the First - The Method of in Memoriam 25
  • One - Introit 27
  • Two - Empirical Procedures 33
  • Three - Evangelical Principles 51
  • Four - Philosophical Theology 65
  • Five - Spiritual Sense 90
  • Six - Theodiceal Impulse 97
  • Seven - Set Pieces 106
  • Eight - Language Method 115
  • Nine - Intra-Romantic Relationships 127
  • Exposition the Second - The Method of Emerson's Prose 151
  • Ten - Introit 153
  • Eleven - Perspective-By-Perspective Understanding 160
  • Twelve - Religious Methodology 166
  • Thirteen - Suspenseful Subjectivity 177
  • Fourteen - Experience and Faith 193
  • Fifteen - Roots of Theory 204
  • Sixteen - The Play of Skepticism 211
  • Seventeen - Language Method 236
  • Recapitulation and Cadenza 245
  • Notes 277
  • Works Cited 313
  • Index 337
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