All thinking is analogizing, and it is the use of life to learn metonymy.

[Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Poetry and Imagination”]

What am I about?

This blog is my experiment: a database for my current work in progress, my research and writing around and about Emerson and education (with links to metonymy and digital literacies–as you will tell from my categoires). I am looking into learning metonymy (a phrase I glean from Emerson’s writing) as a subject and a topic; and I am working on and within that metonymy here, in these spaces, in this writing.

I am reminded of how Emerson frames the project of his work in the pages of his journal: how he sets out to build an encyclopedia of various entries, and fails in ever writing something new or different; always returning–or anticipating what critics will say, writing the same thing just under different names. To use terms now inflected by new media thinking: Emersonian thinking is, surely, distributed and emergent. Emerson, as Richard Poirier put it well in Renewal of Literature, emphasizing Emerson’s “incipient pragmatism,” is interested more in the ‘working’ rather than the ‘work’ of literature. I seek to trace that working by working, like-minded, here.

There is more to say. Should you find something here, and want to share  or find more of what I might know (we know more than we think, thinks Emerson), please comment and add to the emergence. For an earlier view of metonymic thinking, in Emerson and others, consider my book on nineteenth-century American autobiography and the emergence of photography, Mediating American Autobiography. For a recent seminar on Emerson and Whitman in which I put some of these ideas to work, look for Luminous Allusion.

When not working as Waldo, you might also find me teaching here or there. As an Emersonian poet once put it, I stop somewhere waiting for you.


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