The Will to Disbelieve: Pragmatism and Method in Literary Studies – Nicholas Gaskill – Séminaire A19

Publié le 17 janvier 2020

17 janvier 2020 - 14 h 00 min - 17 h 00 min

La prochaine séance de A19, le vendredi 17 janvier à 14h, en salle 830, bâtiment Olympes de Gouges, est organisée en conjonction avec un nouveau groupe de travail sur la littérature et le pragmatisme dont le descriptif suit.

Nous aurons le plaisir d’entendre Nicholas Gaskill (Oriel College, Oxford) dont la communication s’intitule : The Will to Disbelieve: Pragmatism and Method in Literary Studies.

Nicholas Gaskill’s research focuses on American Literature from around 1830 to the present, Pragmatism, Aesthetics, Philosophy and Literature, Critical Methods. His first book, Chromographia, looks at the ways that U.S. writers imagined color experience between 1880 and 1930. It reads a diverse array of writers – from Stephen Crane and Charlotte Perkins Gilman to L. Frank Baum and Nella Larsen – in light of the material history of chromatic technologies and all the things that bright color came to stand for at the turn of the twentieth century: commodity culture, “civilization,” racialized sensation, avant-gardism, the perceptual lives of small children, and much else besides.

More broadly, Nicholas Gaskill is interested in American pragmatism, both as a historical phenomenon and as a resource for thinking about literature and criticism. One branch of his research has focused on the philosophy of Alfred North Whitehead, not a pragmatist per se but an important figure in the reception and reinvention of pragmatism over the past several decades. Other strands include essays on the idea of aesthetic form (as opposed to other types of form), on pragmatist theories of experience and their relevance to methodological debates in the literary humanities, and on the uses of metaphysics and ontology in contemporary theory.

Nicholas Gaskill is currently in the early stages of writing a book about the ideas of reality and aesthetic construction that have shaped American literature, especially of the past hundred years. Tentatively titled Reality in America, the book will focus on novels and poems that explicitly question the relation between literary artifice and metaphysical reality, and it will ask what literary writers can teach us about the task of building a common world.

Le reste de la séance sera résolument collaboratif, et nous lirons ensemble des textes de Whitman en regard de quelques essais de William James.

Campus Paris Diderot,
bât. Olympe de Gouges,
salle 830
Place Paul Ricoeur
75013 Paris

Pour accéder à la salle 830, et surtout aux ascenseurs qui y mènent, il faut demander un badge à l’accueil en échange d’une pièce d’identité.

Textes sur lesquels portera la discussion :

William JAMES, “Is Life Worth Living?” (Part I); “The Sentiment of Rationality,” in The Will to Believeand Other Essays in Popular Philosophy, 1897. 

–, “On a Certain Blindness in Human Beings,” in Talks to Teachers on Psychology: And to Students on Some of Life’s Ideals, 1899.

–, “The Religion of Healthy-Mindedness,” in The Varieties of Religious Experience, 1902.

–, “Lecture 1: The Present Dilemma in Philosophy”; “Lecture 8 “Pragmatism and Religion,” in PragmatismA New Name for Some Old Ways of Thinking,  1907. 

Walt WHITMAN, “To You,” “Song of myself” (Sections 1- 5); “One Hour to Madness and Joy,” “Crossing Brooklyn Ferry”; “Song of the Broad-Axe,”  “Song at Sunset,” “So Long,” Leaves of Grass,  1891-2