Friday, December 04, 2009

Idealismus, Emerson, and the Primordial Word

Emerson, in his essay "The Poet" said: "Language is a fossil poetry." The poet's role is to dig deep into the rock and "re-attach things to nature."

Robert D. Richardson in his new book--First We Read Then We Write--tells us that Emerson's method of archaeology devolves from first choosing the word and then constructing the sentence. In choosing the word, "a writer needs to get in as close as possible to the thing itself."

Emerson insisted that "words do not exist as things themselves, but stand for things which are finally more real than words." (Richardson 49)

This belief, of course, is a form of idealism; an idealism that flows from Plato through the German Idealists to Emerson.

In idealism ideas alone are real; man thinks the world; man is the center and nature is a form of dream or spirit of man. Emerson wrote: "the Universe is the externalization of the soul." When the poet writes he/she creates soul which gives birth to Nature.

My idea of the primordial word arises from my reading of Paul Celan and Martin Heidegger; however, of late, I have begun to see the skeleton of idealismus supporting their work and recognize it as fertile ground for my inquiry. Consequently, I am now studying the poet idealists to understand their thinking on the machination of the primordial word. The primordial word is a word that has become dead but through its use in its simplest form in a new way will somehow attach it to the original meaning. A dead word brought alive sometimes falls upon fertile soil (an ideal reader) and grows.