Stylists in the american grain

Wallace Stevens, Stanley Cavell and Richard Rorty

Aine Kelly

Writing on the death of Jean Baudrillard in March 2007, Julian Baggini dismissed Anglo-American philosophy (as compared to its French counterpart) as utterly without style, as “the literary equivalent of Alan Partridge’s sports-casual fashion collection.” A damning indictment, indeed. Contesting Baggini’s claim, this article proposes an American poet and two American philosophers – Wallace Stevens, Stanley Cavell and Richard Rorty – as supreme stylists of the philosophical. Combining elegance and verve with an edifying mix of philosophical dedication and critique, the chosen trio are philosophical stylists in the best sense of the term. With due attendance to their inheritance of the transcendentalist and pragmatist legacies, I propose an engagement with their writing styles as opening instructively to a broader consideration of philosophical writing in America, including the possibility of a distinctively American philosophical style.

Publication details

DOI: 10.4000/ejpap.918

Full citation:

Kelly, A. (2010). Stylists in the american grain: Wallace Stevens, Stanley Cavell and Richard Rorty. European Journal of Pragmatism and American Philosophy 2 (2), pp. n/a.

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