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Reviews379 balance between rational demonstration and persuasiveness. Hume, that selfavowed "man of letters," is an obvious case in point and two interesting essays are devoted to texts by him. Donald T. Siebert's is on the manner of the Treatise and argues that style and meaning are not neady separable in that work, for there we see Hume in theprocessofdiscoveringhis philosophy. RobertGinsberg's detailed analysis of the essay "Of the Standard of Taste" shows how Hume's literary strategy there is to cause the reader to experience what the author is talking about. Mary Wollstonecraft's rhetorical situation was, according to Laurie A. Finke's interpretation, even more intricate. For she was forced to address men on die issue of women's liberation in a language created by men for the oppression of women. On this reading some of her apparent infelicities of style can be explained as part of her challenge to the patriarchal rhetoric of her time. The picture Finke presents of eighteenth-century male philosophers as uniformly elevating reason (masculine) over the passions (feminine) is historically oversimplified ; consider Hume's position, for instance. But the general argument is stimulating and helps us better understand Wollstonecraft's achievement. Kant is not an obvious candidate for literary analysis (though John A. McCarthy's essay cites him as seminal for the development of the philosophical essay as a German genre). However, a fine piece by Stephen F. Barker provides a succinct account of Kant's philosophical project in the first Critique and its connection with several aspects of his expository style, including an amusing and illuminating representation of the faculties of the mind as protagonists in a soap opera. The remaining essays are perhaps not quite so direcdy connected with the philosophical rhetoric theme, though they too are concerned with philosophical writingas writing. WulfKoepke offers an overview ofHerder's career as a search for a language fit for enlightenment; Harry M. Solomon discusses metaphor in Pope'sEssayonMan, proposingaconceptof"regulative metaphor" (analogous to Kant's regulative idea); and Robert Markley locates Shaftesbury's Characteristicks in its historical stylistic context. Overall this is an interesting collection which includes several particularly good essays. It should be of relevance not only to those in eighteenth-century studies, but also to anyone concerned with the literary dimension of philosophical writing. Massey University, New ZealandRoy W. Perrett Emerson and Skepticism: The Cipher ofthe World, by John Michael; xvii & 186 pp. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1988, $22.95. In Emerson and Skepticism John Michael argues that even in Emerson's early works his famous self-reliance was more a dream than an achievement. For Michael this dream dates from Emerson's initial quarrel with Unitarianism. In 380Philosophy and Literature Emerson's "The Lord's Supper," the skeptical arguments that Unitarians had turned against orthodox Christianity come back to haunt Unitarianism itself. We are presumably left with the autonomous individual, the Emerson who can confidendy say to his Unitarian teachers, "This mode ofcommemorating Christ is not suitable to me. That is reason enough why I should abandon it" (p. 17). But, as Michael points out, this supposedly self-justified individual still seeks approbation from others. Although freed from the doctrinal constraints that bind a preacher, Emerson as a writer needed an audience. Even as Emerson thus longed for approval, he distrusted the negative reaction he got. But he also worried about his right to censure his critics. In short, Emerson could neither dispense with an audience (and still count himself a writer) nor could he trust his reviewers, whether friends or foes. Michael shows how this dilemma not only informs Emerson's other early writings, but also accounts for his ambivalence toward Hume, Wordsworth, and Montaigne. No book does a betterjob of demonstrating how deeply Emerson's "imagination was engaged with what was said about him." Michael does get repetitive, perhaps because he wants to show that Emerson's difficulties with his readers were a constant in his work, not the by-product of any late loss of faith. And Michael can overstate his otherwise carefully presented case, as when he describes Emerson's reluctant discovery that he "must remain at the mercy of the use his readers...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1086-329X
Print ISSN
0190-0013
Pages
pp. 379-381
Launched on MUSE
2011-10-05
Open Access
No
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