Lines of thought: 1983-2015
This book brings together twelve essays published between 1983 and 2015. They reveal the author’s continuing interest in what is argued here to be the central, although subversive and recessive line of thinking in American and western society. This romantic thread is followed mainly from Ralph Waldo Emerson through Emily Dickinson to Martin Heidegger and Stanley Cavell. The book contains an opening section of six essays focussing on Emerson and Dickinson and many of their underlying connections with Heidegger’s philosophy. Its second section contains three essays that examine some of the branches from this main line in Sarah Orne Jewett, William S. Burroughs and Thomas Pynchon, and Timothy Steele. And the third section offers three essays on the contemporary English poet, Richard Berengarten, whose work is read as a prime expression of the continuing presence of romantic thinking in the 21st century. The aim of this collection is not so much to trace a linear series of causal influences, but a deeper general current of concepts and attitudes that underpin our culture and contribute to the way we formulate our images of what we are.