Review of Experience and Experimental Writing: Literary Pragmatism from Emerson to the Jameses

Michael Schreyach, Trinity University


In his provocative discussion of “experience as experiment,” Paul Grimstad wonders how it is that “life may be created out of words,” that the “wording of the world [can become] something shareable and meaningful?” Answering that question involves an issue of paramount concern for those wishing to interpret literary or other kinds of works of art: namely, the relationship of “causes” to “meaning.” What is the proper way to understand the relationship between the causal antecedents of knowledge and the justifications for our claims about what we know–or in other words between nature considered as an order of causes, and language considered as a normative order in which we give reasons for our beliefs?