This is an ambitious book. Its goal is to offer a reenchantment of the notion of literary experience, and it does so by attempting to bring in line with modern critical and theoretical sensibilities lost ideas from Kant, Hegel, and Schiller. This is a book that tries to wipe the idealism from German Idealism yet retain its basic aesthetic commitments, and it does so by looking to the poetry of Yeats and, surprisingly, John Ashbery to elaborate its central philosophical messages. Just as surprisingly, Reckoning with the Imagination uses the work of Ludwig Wittgenstein as an organizing principle, finding in his philosophy of mind and language a set of ideas and anxieties that aid Altieri in navigating this expansive and unusual terrain. If this seems an unlikely concatenation of philosophers and poets, it somehow works. Reckoning with the Imagination is at the very least...
Reckoning with the Imagination: Wittgenstein and the Aesthetics of Literary Experience by Charles Altieri
John Gibson is director of the Commonwealth Center for Humanities and professor of philosophy at the University of Louisville. He is the author of Fiction and the Weave of Life and is currently writing a book titled Poetry, Metaphor and Nonsense: An Essay on Meaning (forthcoming from Oxford University Press).
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John Gibson; Reckoning with the Imagination: Wittgenstein and the Aesthetics of Literary Experience by Charles Altieri. Twentieth-Century Literature 1 September 2017; 63 (3): 365–369. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/0041462X-4219972
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