By Michael Magee
Emancipating Pragmatism is a thorough rereading of Emerson that posits African- American tradition, literature, and jazz because the very continuation and embodiment of pragmatic concept and democratic culture. It lines Emerson's philosophical legacy in the course of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries to find how Emersonian suggestion keeps to notify problems with race, aesthetics, and poetic discourse.
Emerson's pragmatism derives from his abolitionism, Michael Magee argues, and any pragmatic notion that aspires towards democracy can't forget about and needs to reckon with its racial roots. Magee seems on the ties among pragmatism and African-American tradition as they appear themselves in key texts and events, similar to William Carlos Williams's poetry; Ralph Ellison's discourse in Invisible guy and Juneteenth and his essays on jazz; the poetic works of Robert Creeley, Amiri Baraka, and Frank O'Hara; in addition to the "new jazz" being solid at golf equipment just like the 5 Spot in long island.
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And even if we take “the constituents” to be “the voters,” the 22 democratic symbolic action complicated relation of this second term to American racism never really materializes. The shoe doesn’t drop. I would speculate that one explanation for the “resistance” of Dewey’s vocabulary is that Dewey himself—as a philosopher who equates the operations of language and the operations of culture—offers no speci¤c description of the role ethnicity plays in the formation of the American vernacular. Again, this is less a critique than a description of a gap that requires a transition.
The Embodiment of Knowledge is a pretty good rendering of the philosophic advances Dewey had made through the 1920s, which is to say, it is an attack on metaphysical feudalism in favor of a pragmatic approach to knowledge: “Philosophy has been the chief offender in this respect with its pursuit of ‘the Absolute’ which is nothing whatever—outside of philosophy,” Williams wrote. ”49 During this same period (1929, in this case), Williams would even gloss Burke’s writing with Dewey’s concept of Americanism and localism, writing, “One has to learn what the meaning of the local is, for universal purposes.
Your knees are a southern breeze—or a gust of snow. Agh! what sort of man was Fragonard? —as if that answered anything. — the sand clings to my lips— Which shore? Agh, petals maybe. How should I know? Which shore? Which shore? I said petals from an appletree. 32 democratic symbolic action The poem is an assault on English metaphor through dialogic interruption, though even before the irritating questioner (who I would like to read as the “Lady” herself) begins her obstruction, one is struck by the visual inadequacies of the metaphor and, soon, by its arbitrariness: “The sky / where Watteau hung a lady’s / slipper”—Williams has gotten his paintings mixed up (the speaker is thinking of Fragonard’s The Swing), but the nonchalance, the seeming randomness, of his answer suggests that it doesn’t matter much.