Faculty Book: Joan Richardson
A Natural History of Pragmatism: The Fact of Feeling from Jonathan Edwards to Gertrude Stein
(Cambridge University Press, 2007)
In this compelling account of the emergence of the quintessential American philosophy, Richardson demonstrates pragmatism's engagement with various branches of the natural sciences and traces the development of Jamesian pragmatism from the late nineteenth century through modernism, following it into the present. She combines strands from America's religious experience with scientific information to offer interpretations that break new ground in literary and cultural history. The work is a fine example of the value of interdisciplinary approaches to producing literary criticism. The author’s highly original readings of Edwards, Emerson, William and Henry James, Stevens, and Stein, track the interplay of religious motive, scientific speculation, and literature in shaping an American aesthetic. Joan Richardson is a professor of comparative literature and English at The Graduate Center.
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Submitted on: JAN 15, 2007