Book Section2022-01-04
Throughout his career, Stanley Cavell’s subject has been the ordinary: what Ralph Waldo Emerson would call ‘the near, the low, the common’. Cavell provides compelling insights into Emerson’s efforts to locate philosophy within the flow of everyday life. He examines how Emerson renews common thinking, citations, and fragments from the works of others by means of his ‘aversive thinking’: his technique of turning writing back upon itself. While taking Cavell’s Emerson readings as its point of departure, this essay switches Cavell’s philosophical angle for a philological one. I suggest that Emerson’s engagement with contemporary debates concerning the historical reading of sacred and secular literature (the Bible, Homer, Shakespeare) formed his own practice of reworking literatures of various origins and recasting aesthetics in major ways.
Keywords: Emerson, Ralph Waldo; Cavell, Stanley; philology; historicism; Grimm, Herman
Title
Everyday Aesthetics and the Practice of Historical Reenactment
Subtitle
Revisiting Cavell’s Emerson
Author(s)
Ulrike Wagner
Identifier
Description
Throughout his career, Stanley Cavell’s subject has been the ordinary: what Ralph Waldo Emerson would call ‘the near, the low, the common’. Cavell provides compelling insights into Emerson’s efforts to locate philosophy within the flow of everyday life. He examines how Emerson renews common thinking, citations, and fragments from the works of others by means of his ‘aversive thinking’: his technique of turning writing back upon itself. While taking Cavell’s Emerson readings as its point of departure, this essay switches Cavell’s philosophical angle for a philological one. I suggest that Emerson’s engagement with contemporary debates concerning the historical reading of sacred and secular literature (the Bible, Homer, Shakespeare) formed his own practice of reworking literatures of various origins and recasting aesthetics in major ways.
Is Part Of
Place
Berlin
Publisher
ICI Berlin Press
Date
4 January 2022
Subject
Emerson, Ralph Waldo
Cavell, Stanley
philology
historicism
Grimm, Herman
Rights
© by the author(s)
Except for images or otherwise noted, this publication is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
Language
en-GB
page start
113
page end
120
Source
Over and Over and Over Again: Reenactment Strategies in Contemporary Arts and Theory, ed. by Cristina Baldacci, Clio Nicastro, and Arianna Sforzini, Cultural Inquiry, 21 (Berlin: ICI Berlin Press, 2022), pp. 113–20

References

  • Cavell, Stanley, ‘An Emerson Mood’, in Cavell, Emerson’s Transcendental Etudes, pp. 20–32
  • Cavell, Stanley, ‘The Philosopher in American Life (Toward Thoreau and Emerson)’, in Cavell, Emerson’s Transcendental Etudes, pp. 33–58
  • Cavell, Stanley, ‘Aversive Thinking: Emersonian Representations in Heidegger and Nietzsche’, in Cavell, Emerson’s Transcendental Etudes, pp. 141–70
  • Cavell, Stanley, ‘Being Odd, Getting Even (Descartes, Emerson, Poe)’, in Cavell, In Quest of the Ordinary (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1988), pp. 105–30
  • Cavell, Stanley, Emerson’s Transcendental Etudes (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2003)
  • Emerson, Ralph Waldo, The Early Lectures of Ralph Waldo Emerson, ed. by Stephen E. Whicher, Robert E. Spiller, and Wallace Williams, 3 vols (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1959–1972)
  • Emerson, Ralph Waldo, The Journals and Miscellaneous Notebooks of Ralph Waldo Emerson, ed. by William H. Gilman and others, 16 vols (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1960–1982)
  • Emerson, Ralph Waldo, The Collected Works of Ralph Waldo Emerson, ed. by Alfred R. Ferguson and others, 7 vols to date (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1971–)
  • Grimm, Herman, Fünfzehn Essays, 3rd, rev. and enlarged edn (Berlin: Dümmler, 1884)
  • Grimm, Herman, ‘Ralph Waldo Emerson – Ein Nachruf’, in Der Briefwechsel Ralph Waldo Emerson / Herman Grimm und die Bildung von Post-mortem-Gemeinschaften, ed. by Thomas Meyer, trans. by Helga Paul, Europäer-Schriftenreihe, 14 (Basel: Perseus, 2007), pp. 64–78
  • Gura, Philip F., American Transcendentalism: A History (New York: Hill and Wang, 2007)
  • Mueller-Vollmer, Kurt, Transatlantic Crossings and Transformations: German-American Cultural Transfer from the 18th to the End of the 19th Century (Frankfurt a.M.: Peter Lang, 2015)

Cite as: Ulrike Wagner, ‘Everyday Aesthetics and the Practice of Historical Reenactment: Revisiting Cavell’s Emerson’, in Over and Over and Over Again: Reenactment Strategies in Contemporary Arts and Theory, ed. by Cristina Baldacci, Clio Nicastro, and Arianna Sforzini, Cultural Inquiry, 21 (Berlin: ICI Berlin Press, 2022), pp. 113-20 <https://doi.org/10.37050/ci-21_12>