Paper $27.50 ISBN: 9780226723020 Published October 2020
Cloth $95.00 ISBN: 9780226722979 Published October 2020
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Cartesian Poetics

The Art of Thinking

Andrea Gadberry

Cartesian Poetics

Andrea Gadberry

224 pages | 6 x 9 | © 2020
Paper $27.50 ISBN: 9780226723020 Published October 2020
Cloth $95.00 ISBN: 9780226722979 Published October 2020
E-book $10.00 to $27.50 About E-books ISBN: 9780226723167 Published November 2020
What is thinking? What does it feel like? What is it good for? Andrea Gadberry looks for answers to these questions in the philosophy of René Descartes and finds them in the philosopher’s implicit poetics. Gadberry argues that Descartes’s thought was crucially enabled by poetry and shows how markers of poetic genres from love lyric and elegy to the puzzling forms of the riddle and the anagram betray an impassioned negotiation with the difficulties of thought and its limits. Where others have seen Cartesian philosophy as a triumph of reason, Gadberry reveals that the philosopher accused of having “slashed poetry’s throat” instead enlisted poetic form to contain thought’s frustrations.

Gadberry’s approach to seventeenth-century writings poses questions urgent for the twenty-first. Bringing literature and philosophy into rich dialogue, Gadberry centers close reading as a method uniquely equipped to manage skepticism, tolerate critical ambivalence, and detect feeling in philosophy. Helping us read classic moments of philosophical argumentation in a new light, this elegant study also expands outward to redefine thinking in light of its poetic formations.
Contents
Introduction: Resultless Enterprises
Chapter One: Common-Sense Envy
Chapter Two: Lyric Disposition
Chapter Three: Bitter Satisfactions
Chapter Four: After Thoughts
Epilogue: “A Painful Feeling of Strangeness”
 
Acknowledgments
Notes
Index
Review Quotes
Jonathan Kramnick, Yale University
Cartesian Poetics is an original, hard-nosed, gorgeously written, and compelling book. For a book on the aesthetics of thinking, it is suitably beautiful and intelligent. . . . Gadberry’s artful reconstruction and probing of Descartes’s sentences reveal the poetry flowing beneath and within his philosophy.”
Gerard Passannante, University of Maryland, College Park
Cartesian Poetics brilliantly integrates historical sensitivity and speculative boldness. Tracing a ‘literary life of concepts’ through the riddle, the love lyric, the elegy, and the anagram, Gadberry gives us a new history of Descartes’s philosophical coming of age. Her nuanced close readings, which make dazzling use of wit as an engine of literary-critical investigation, awaken us to a conception of poetic form that lives in and between thoughts—that makes ‘thinking,’ in the largest sense, possible.”
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