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American Poetic Materialism from Whitman to Stevens


Part of Cambridge Studies in American Literature and Culture

  • Date Published: March 2015
  • availability: Available
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781107084506

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About the Authors
  • In American Poetic Materialism from Whitman to Stevens, Mark Noble examines writers who rethink the human in material terms. Do our experiences correlate to our material elements? Do visions of a common physical ground imply a common purpose? Noble proposes new readings of Walt Whitman, Ralph Waldo Emerson, William James, George Santayana and Wallace Stevens that explore a literary history wrestling with the consequences of its own materialism. At a moment when several new models of the relationship between human experience and its physical ground circulate among critical theorists and philosophers of science, this book turns to poets who have long asked what our shared materiality can tell us about our prospects for new models of our material selves.

    • Introduces literary history to the history of science in original ways
    • Surveys an unusually broad range of philosophical materialisms
    • Argues that nineteenth-century American writers envisioned the vocation of the materialist poet in ways that anticipate today's theoretical materialisms
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    Reviews & endorsements

    '… Mark Noble offers an impressive reading of the materialist imaginations of Walt Whitman (1819–92), Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803–82), George Santayana (1863–1952), Wallace Stevens (1879–1955), and other poets, philosophers, and scientists. … Noble's work represents a serious engagement and wrestling with materialist philosophies and American poetics … Noble presents a history of complex and fluid materialisms. Noble traces a complex subject, but he presents his argument with clarity - often previewing and re-summarizing his claims, and with humor … I recommend American Poetic Materialism to a range of scholars - from those interested in nineteenth- and twentieth-century American poetry to historians of physics and modern science to anyone engaged in the emerging critical conversations about materialism.' James M. Cochran, Nineteenth Century Studies Association

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    Product details

    • Date Published: March 2015
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781107084506
    • length: 242 pages
    • dimensions: 236 x 150 x 20 mm
    • weight: 0.48kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Intimate atomisms: toward a history of aporetic materialism
    2. Whitman's atom: sex and death in the 'wide flat space' of Leaves of Grass
    3. Emerson's atom: the matter of suffering
    4. Santayana's Lucretius: the chance for an ethical atomism
    5. Matter at the end of the mind: Stevens and the call for quantum poetics.

  • Author

    Mark Noble, Georgia State University
    Mark Noble is Assistant Professor of English at Georgia State University, where he teaches American literature and critical theory. He received his PhD from The Johns Hopkins University in 2009. Noble's essays have been published in American Literature and Nineteenth-Century Literature.

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