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Robinson Jeffers and the American Sublime$
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Robert Zaller

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780804775632

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: June 2013

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9780804775632.001.0001

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Democratic Vistas

Democratic Vistas

Chapter:
(p.273) 6 Democratic Vistas
Source:
Robinson Jeffers and the American Sublime
Publisher:
Stanford University Press
DOI:10.11126/stanford/9780804775632.003.0007

The previous chapters examined Jeffers' construction of the American sublime under two principal aspects: as a privileged mode of access to the divine through the experience of natural grandeur, and as Oedipal praxis. This chapter considers a third aspect of the native sublime—the idea of America as a redeemer nation destined to give light to the world. In its Puritan incarnation, it represented a great collective enterprise composed of a myriad of self-enlightened, self-motivated individuals. This conception was sublimated into but hardly effaced by the secular republic created by the founding fathers. It manifested itself in the unresolved polarities of the American experience, at once materialist and millennialist.

Keywords:   Robinson Jeffers, American sublime, redeemer nation, Oedipal praxis

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