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The Rhetoric of Disclosure in James Thomson's The Seasons ; or, On Kant's Gentlemanly Misanthropy

The Rhetoric of Disclosure in James Thomson's The Seasons ; or, On Kant's Gentlemanly Misanthropy Dennis Desroches St. Thomas University . . . the sun appears. In order to disappear. It is there, but as the invisible source of light, in a kind of insistent eclipse, more than essential, producing the essence--Being and appearing--of what is. One looks at it directly on pain of blindness and death. --Jacques Derrida1 I. INTRODUCTION One best begins a meditation on James Thomson's The Seasons with critical indictments of the fragmentary, unreadable, or otherwise less-than-fortuitous features of the poem--at least, this seems to have been the standard practice since A. D. McKillop's excavatory work of 1942, The Background of Thomson's Seasons. For a beginning, I will alter this lofty tradition only slightly by reproducing the indictments of others, rather than articulating any of my own. McKillop: we have seen that his [Thomson's] flights in science and philosophy can best be understood by allowing for the natural drift of his mind, the association, whether rigorously logical or not, of his ideas. . . .2 Patricia Meyer Spacks: It is manifestly impossible to "rescue" Thomson's diction for the modern reader: its remoteness, its air of contrivance, its frequently unjustified portentousness are all profound obstacles. Only in isolated passages is http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png The Eighteenth Century University of Pennsylvania Press

The Rhetoric of Disclosure in James Thomson's The Seasons ; or, On Kant's Gentlemanly Misanthropy

The Eighteenth Century , Volume 49 (1) – Apr 26, 2008

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Publisher
University of Pennsylvania Press
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Copyright © 2008 Texas Tech University Press
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1935-0201
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Abstract

Dennis Desroches St. Thomas University . . . the sun appears. In order to disappear. It is there, but as the invisible source of light, in a kind of insistent eclipse, more than essential, producing the essence--Being and appearing--of what is. One looks at it directly on pain of blindness and death. --Jacques Derrida1 I. INTRODUCTION One best begins a meditation on James Thomson's The Seasons with critical indictments of the fragmentary, unreadable, or otherwise less-than-fortuitous features of the poem--at least, this seems to have been the standard practice since A. D. McKillop's excavatory work of 1942, The Background of Thomson's Seasons. For a beginning, I will alter this lofty tradition only slightly by reproducing the indictments of others, rather than articulating any of my own. McKillop: we have seen that his [Thomson's] flights in science and philosophy can best be understood by allowing for the natural drift of his mind, the association, whether rigorously logical or not, of his ideas. . . .2 Patricia Meyer Spacks: It is manifestly impossible to "rescue" Thomson's diction for the modern reader: its remoteness, its air of contrivance, its frequently unjustified portentousness are all profound obstacles. Only in isolated passages is

Journal

The Eighteenth CenturyUniversity of Pennsylvania Press

Published: Apr 26, 2008

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