By Michael H. Whitworth
Starting with influential points of nineteenth-century physics, Einstein's Wake qualifies the proposal that Einstein by myself used to be answerable for literary "relativity"; it is going directly to learn the nice aspect of his legacy in literary appropriations of clinical metaphors, with specific awareness to Virginia Woolf, D. H. Lawrence, Wyndham Lewis, and T. S. Eliot.
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Additional info for Einstein's Wake: Relativity, Metaphor, and Modernist Literature
Reflect[s] the emotions and ideas that are associated with the chief institutions of social life” (AE, 6). Bürger’s discussion of Dadaist shock, and the avant-garde response to institutions, recalls the more general problem of institutionalization—a problem that modernism, with its emphasis on rupture, revolution, and freedom from social norms, has struggled with from the start. What becomes of modernism when it enters the canon? How do we institutionalize the shocking and oppositional? How might it be possible to communicate the force and power of a set of writings so revolutionary and original that they seem to constitute a fundamental challenge to the social order—and to do so from within the very institutions such works of art had sought to challenge or destroy?
H. 6 Yet not only did the pragmatists take the questions of modern life into account in their development of a theory of habit, but their version of habit lay at the very heart of their own complex negotiations of modernity. Pragmatist habit does draw from the great philosophical treatments of the past, including those offered by Aristotle, Hume, and Burke, among others. 7 Pragmatism attempted to capture the full complexity and dynamism of the term. The pragmatist dialectic of habit presented it for the first time as at once the enemy of, the prerequisite for, and the very agent of transformative social action.
According to Kaufmann, this impoverished understanding of habit as a “minor automatism or as a biological reflex” (E, 110) was to shape understandings of the term in the twentieth century. The new “behaviorist” direction in psychology is perfectly captured by the development of the “reflex arc,” which was essentially a simplified version of habit adapted to fit the needs of a newly mechanized culture. The reflex arc, understood as a neural pathway’s growth in efficiency as a result of repeated actions, constituted an even more automated and unconscious version of habit, one that limited itself to the functioning of stimulus-response circuits in the body.