Home » A transcendental trace: The impersonal poet and the American novel. by Steven Hymowech
A transcendental trace: The impersonal poet and the American novel. Steven Hymowech

A transcendental trace: The impersonal poet and the American novel.

Steven Hymowech

Published
ISBN : 9780549853473
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250 pages
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 About the Book 

This dissertation examines how Ralph Waldo Emersons quest for a representative writer as described in his essay The Poet influences representations of the writer-protagonist in three American novels: Herman Melvilles Pierre, Don DeLillos Mao IIMoreThis dissertation examines how Ralph Waldo Emersons quest for a representative writer as described in his essay The Poet influences representations of the writer-protagonist in three American novels: Herman Melvilles Pierre, Don DeLillos Mao II , and Paul Austers City of Glass. This romantic influence perpetuates the call and potential for a representative American writer by negating the writer-protagonist as eternally representative, which would impede the desire for proceeding writers to produce literature. Through select essays and lectures by Emerson, in addition to scholarship about American literature, language theory, and Emerson himself, I use the trope of an impersonal poet to describe how third person narration in the selected novels serves as the impersonal vehicle of positive negation, thereby maintaining the call for a person to embody Emersons poet today and moving forward. This dissertation thus challenges contemporary claims that the vitality of the novel and its practitioner are exhausted. If the national identity of America is always in flux due to perpetual demographic, ideological, and geo-political changes, then the American novel is also subject to such transformation. Consequently, American literature, as with America itself, is inherently a work in progress, which stands in contrast to literary and critical discourse that pessimistically codifies the American aesthetic though canonization and the American self through rigid definitions of identity.