Lost Intimacy in American Thought: Recovering Personal Philosophy From Thoreau to Cavell


[Thanks to Bill Day for the tip]

We’ve just learned of a new book that looks very exciting, and which we thought would interest many readers of this blog: Edward Mooney’s Lost Intimacy in American Thought: Recovering Personal Philosophy from Thoreau to Cavell (Continuum 2009). Mooney is Professor of Philosophy and Religion at Syracuse University. He is also one of the speakers in the Cavelleria Siracusa series that is taking place this year at Le Moyne College. To visit the press’ webpage for the book, please click here.

Here is the publisher’s description of the book:

Lost Intimacy in American Thought casts new light on a strand of American philosophical writing that includes Thoreau, Bugbee, and Cavell. Against the strictures of an overly professionalized philosophy, these writers seek to regain intimacy with place, others, and oneself. Accordingly, they embrace literature and autobiography to convey the strands of loss and restoration, grief and gratitude, that weave in and out of their writing.

The effort to retrieve a recuperative place gives a somewhat religious cast to their work – and to the writings of others who appear in this book: Henry James, J. Glenn Gray, and Bruce Wilshire. The restorative efforts of these writers mark a generosity of spirit that opens toward lyrical discernments of wonder and worth. Such saving poetic perceptions soften oppositions between self and other, secular and sacred, seeing and beholding, rational and irrational.

This book will spark interest in all who are ready to recover the sort of American tradition that Cavell has sought to retrieve and rejuvenate; the tradition, as Mooney puts it, of ‘American Intimates’.

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