By Lene M. Johannessen
Horizons of attraction is set the ordinary strength and remarkable pull of the imaginary in American tradition. Johannessen’s topic this is the virtually mystical American trust within the promise and strength of the person, or the reliance on a type of “modern magic” that may loosely be characterised as a basic and unwavering religion within the secular sanctity of the yankee venture of modernity. one of the varied themes and cultural artifacts she examines are the Norwegian American novel A Saloonkeeper’s Daughter through Drude Krog Janson, Walt Whitman’s track of Myself, Rodolfo Gonzales’s i'm Joaquín, Richard Ford’s The Sportwriter, Ana Menéndez’s In Cuba i used to be a German Shepherd, essays through Samuel Huntington and Richard Rodriquez, and the 2009 movie Sugar, a few Dominican baseball participant attempting to make it within the mammoth leagues. In either her subject material and standpoint, Johannessen reconfigures and enriches questions of the transnational and unheard of in American experiences.
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Additional resources for Horizons of Enchantment: Essays in the American Imaginary
9 “Creativity” here is related to what Castoriadis later refers to as radical imagination, denoting the human faculty to produce images, to create ex nihilo, a uniquely human ability that precedes and conditions everything else we are capable of: I call that imagination “radical” because the creation of representations, affects, and desires by the human imagination is subject to conditions, but never predetermined. . [It] is also at the root of another extraordinary ability of human beings; the ability to symbolize.
This enables a distinction between, on the one hand, the bounded national space of the United States (the nation), and, on the other, the compelling attraction and signification within the modern social imaginary that the American one projects and finds projected back onto it in turn. The already mythological or symbolic quality furthermore explains the unflinching perpetuation of this precise imaginary as we [ 28 ] The Imaginary have witnessed it throughout past centuries. Also, precisely because it is a structure of signification residing in both the symbolic (myth) and the real (the instituted imaginary), it accounts for the spawning of a slew of minor, alternative imaginaries which the extreme interpretative flexibility of the master imaginary at once instantiates and subsumes under its particular and universally resonant tenor.
The moral background is one of natural rights; these people already have certain moral obligations toward each other. The ends sought are certain common benefits, of which security is the most important. The underlying idea of moral order stresses the rights and obligations we have as individuals in regard to each other, even prior to or outside of the political bond. Political obligations are seen as an extension or application of these more fundamental moral ties. 12 In the reflections of both Crèvecoeur’s “Letter” and Janson’s protagonist Astrid, the “underlying idea of moral order” is already firmly in place, but it is geared toward a very particular space and direction that adds to Taylor’s imaginary one crucial element: the utter rejection of things past and the embrace of the new, a contract informed by more than the secular, moral economy that would come to frame the West.
Horizons of Enchantment: Essays in the American Imaginary by Lene M. Johannessen