Enthusiast!: Essays on Modern American Literature

Paperback | June 30, 2014

byDavid Herd

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Enthusiast! is a polemical history of American literature told from the point of view of six of its major enthusiasts. Complaining that his age was "retrospective", Emerson injected enthusiasm into American literature as a way of making it new. "What," he asked, "is a man good for without enthusiasm? and what is enthusiasm but the daring of ruin for its object?" This book takes enthusiasm to be a defining feature of American literature, showing how successive major writers - Melville, Thoreau, Pound, Moore, Frank O'Hara and James Schuyler - have modernized and re-modeled Emerson's founding sense of enthusiasm. The book presents the writer as enthusiast, showing how enthusiasm is fundamental to the composition and the circulation of literature. Enthusiasm, it is argued, is the way literary value is passed on. Starting with a brief history of enthusiasm from Plato to Kant and Emerson, the book features chapters on each of Melville, Thoreau, Pound, Moore, O'Hara, and Schuyler. Each chapter presents an aspect of the writer as enthusiast, the book as a whole charting the changing sense of literary enthusiasm from Romanticism to the present day. Lucidly written and combatively argued, the book will appeal to readers of American Literature or Modern Poetry, and to all those interested in the circulation of literary work.

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Enthusiast! is a polemical history of American literature told from the point of view of six of its major enthusiasts. Complaining that his age was "retrospective", Emerson injected enthusiasm into American literature as a way of making it new. "What," he asked, "is a man good for without enthusiasm? and what is enthusiasm but the ...

David Herd is Senior Lecturer in English and American Literature at the University of Kent.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:228 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 0.68 inPublished:June 30, 2014Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0719095840

ISBN - 13:9780719095849

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Table of Contents

Introduction: A Short Essay on Enthusiasm
1. Crowing
2. Spouting
3. Calling
4. Presenting
5. Circulating
6. Relishing
Afterword: Enthusiasm and Audit
Acknowledgements
Bibliography