Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Uncomplacent critic ...

... Richard Poirier: A Man of Good Reading. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

The principal hero of this struggle was Emerson, whose reputation Mr. Poirier did much to redefine, challenging the familiar view of him as a facile optimist, a woozy metaphysician or an enabler of laissez-faire capitalism. Nor would Emerson have embraced the modern notion of “the self as something put together by a person who is then required to express it and to ask others to confirm it as an identity.” Rather, he saw the self as something very much like what Frost called a poem: “a momentary stay against confusion.”

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