Aesthetic Transcendentalism is a philosophy endorsing the qualitative and creative aspects of nature. Theoretically it argues for a metaphysical dimension of nature that is aesthetically real, pluralistic, and prolific. It directs our attention to the rich complexity of immediate experience, the possibility of discovering new aesthetic features about the world, and the transformative potential of art as an organic expression. This book presents the philosophy in its relationship to its historical roots in the philosophic and artistic traditions of nineteenth-century North America. In this multidisciplinary study, Nicholas L. Guardiano brings together a philosophic and literary figure in Ralph Waldo Emerson, the scientifically minded philosopher Charles S. Peirce, and the plastic arts in the form of American landscape painting. Guardiano evaluates this constellation of philosophers and artists in global perspective as it relates to other historical theories of metaphysics and aesthetics, while simultaneously performing a cultural analysis that identifies an essential feature of the American mind. Aesthetic Transcendentalism thus possesses abiding significance for our vital interactions with nature, daily experiences, and contemplations of great works of art.
in Emerson, Peirce, and Nineteenth-Century American Landscape
Painting will be of interest to scholars of American
philosophy and American art history, especially specialists of
Charles S. Peirce, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and the Hudson River School
painters. It will also appeal to philosophers working on systematic
metaphysical theories of nature.