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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 throughout the language of electrical energy. based on medical and technological advancements, so much 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 similar to Whitman, Melville, and Douglass drew on photos of electrical energy and telegraphy to explain literature either because the made from particular financial and social stipulations and as a way of transcending the person made up our minds by way of 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 ancient and as a manufactured from either aesthetic and fabric event.

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Peabody’s definition at first seems to refute the subjective nature of aesthetic experience. 10 But the subjective nature of the experience takes on a distinctly transcendent aura for it appears not to derive from the individual’s particular interests, desires, or needs. As Kant puts it, although based in subjective experience, a person’s liking of something he designates as beautiful appears as if it were universal because he “is conscious that he himself [feels so] without any interest.... because he cannot discover, underlying this liking, any private conditions, on which only he might be dependent” (54 §6).

To rest my arm ever so lightly round his or her neck for a moment . . what is this then? I do not ask any more delight . . I swim in it as in a sea. —Walt Whitman, “I Sing the Body Electric” Acknowledgments This book completes a long process that began as I finished my dissertation at the University of Chicago. Along the way, bits and pieces of the final project appeared in “The Telegraph in Black and White,” ELH 69 (2002) and “Romantic Electricity, or The Materiality of Aesthetics,” American Literature 76 (2004).

Finds itself pulled nevertheless towards closed generalizing systems: finds itself materialism or a materialism. There is thus a tendency for any materialism . . to suppose that it is a system like others, of a presumptive explanatory kind . . 19 I want to suggest that one of the problems with various materialist critiques of aesthetics is that they tend to ground themselves in the laws of their own version of materiality, in a reduction of the determining factors to a series of findings drawn on the investigation of one structure, process, or element above all others.

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