Lonesome: The Spiritual Meanings of American Solitude - download pdf or read online

By Kevin Lewis

""There is one other loneliness,"" wrote the yankee poet Emily Dickinson: ""Not wish of buddy events it, yet nature occasionally, occasionally thought."" For Kevin Lewis, that ""other loneliness"" is uniquely expressive of a wealthy and resonant kingdom of being that's distinct to the yankee psyche in addition to crucial to the mythology of the United States itself. He calls this nation of being ""lonesomeness."" It inspires the luminous landscapes of the West and the cathedral-like house of the good Plains. It lies on the root of private id and is inseparable from notions of private discovery and of communion with the various topography of the us, even if it's rural hinterland or commercial city rustbelt. during this continually stimulating mirrored image, Kevin Lewis explores -- in faith, poetry, fiction, nation songwriting and paintings -- the a number of meanings of that mainly American concept of solitariness. Discussing integral American writers like Henry David Thoreau, Walt Whitman, Jack Kerouac and Ernest Hemingway -- artistic artists who've all embraced confident conceptions of solitude and barren region -- Lewis reveals the apex of yankee lonesomeness within the melancholic and reflective work of Edward Hopper. Lewis argues that during expressive works like Nighthawks and Morning Sun one sees Hopper's solitude redeemed by way of ""something more"": by means of the proposal that during isolation the person may perhaps but be touched via transcendence. Kevin Lewis argues that these echoes of 'something else' exhibit greatly concerning the American personality that we might do good to heed, in addition to deep rooted cultural attitudes in the direction of faith, individualism and self-belief.

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Additional info for Lonesome: The Spiritual Meanings of American Solitude

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Ricks persuasively demonstrates, without ever formally arguing the point, that the abstract language of social science and philosophy must yield in this particular matter to the privilege of poetic utterance. E. cummings, Larkin. Emily Dickinson, William Barnes, and Philip 12 Dickinson is Ricks’ major exhibit, and with good reason—we shall return to her poetry in Chapter Two to propose an alternative reading of a cluster of poems linked by the lonesome theme. Rather what I note here are Ricks’ exceptional if glancing observations on the difference between lonely and lonesome, throwaway observations unhelpful to our project, illustrating the divide in usage between the British and Americans.

The returning morning sun, rising from across the Atlantic in the east, “taught them” to “dote upon” the “Heaven” too obvious, “too sure,” “too miss”— reminiscent of Thoreau’s buoyant ave atque vale at the close of 36 02c_Lonesome_023-050 22/7/09 13:52 Page 37 The Poetic Imagination of Lonesomeness Walden (1854), “The sun is but a morning star” to steer by. Though the symbolic “Eastern Exiles” climb “in vain” ultimately, and though birds “Do fumble at the strain,” this poem, in its confident sense of connection to a “Blessed Ether” beyond the common “Heaven,” embodies the American lonesome capacity to be momentarily transfigured.

Neither Ricks nor apparently the expatriate Eliot “get” American lonesomeness, nor am I proposing that they 13 01c_Lonesome_001-022 22/7/09 13:51 Page 14 LONESO M E ought to. What I observe is that, just as the French have no exact word for what has come to be meant in English by “lonely,” the British do not connect with “lonesome” anything like the personal experience that Americans connect with it. ) Ricks’ disparagement of lonesomeness as a hopelessly sentimental, shallow, and self-indulgent feeling would perhaps not surprise students of comparative languages.

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Lonesome: The Spiritual Meanings of American Solitude by Kevin Lewis


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