The Cavellian Turn

Lawrence F. Rhu

in The Oxford Handbook of Transcendentalism

Published in print April 2010 | ISBN: 9780195331035
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks

 The Cavellian Turn

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The article is all about the works and viewpoints of Stanley Cavell, an American philosopher who increasingly followed his vocation through the examples of Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau. Responsiveness amounts to the primary virtue in Cavell's Transcendental philosophy: a willingness to hear and heed the summons of thought and feeling as it becomes manifest in the unfolding of our lives. The article describes the way Cavell followed Emerson. He pointedly put Emerson first among the philosophers under review in Cities of Words (2004). For Cavell, Platonic forms and other definitive features of Platonic idealism were secondary in the epistolary instruction that he offered in “documents of a certain intimacy,” which constituted the chapters of his book. The article states that there were many turns in the plot of the story of Cavell's inheriting and transmitting American Transcendentalism.

Keywords: Cities of Words; Stanley Cavell; Transcendental philosophy; Platonic idealism

Article.  4922 words. 

Subjects: Literature ; Literary Theory and Cultural Studies

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