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date: 21 September 2018

Abstract and Keywords

This article considers some romantic themes in the philosophies of James and Dewey, their relations to Emerson, and the appropriation of Emerson by a contemporary American philosopher not in the pragmatist tradition, Stanley Cavell. Romanticism is too complex a phenomenon to be defined adequately in a few pages, let alone a few paragraphs, but we can think of it as a long process that began in late eighteenth-century Europe and that we are still engaged in: of casting off what Northrop Frye calls ‘an encyclopaedic myth, derived mainly from the Bible’, according to which God is the origin of all creation. In the new romantic myth, human creativity assumes a central place.

Keywords: romanticism, American pragmatism, Stanley Cavell, eighteenth-century Europe, human creativity, encyclopaedic myth

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