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The first full-length work devoted to Richard Rorty from the perspective of political theory, this book offers a fresh assessment of the promise of the renowned pragmatist's project. Framing Rorty's discourse as one of meaning and persuasion rather than truth and accuracy of representation, Voparil sheds new light on many of Rorty's most misunderstood and maligned stances, including his practice of "redescription" and disavowal of "getting it right," as well as his embrace of the novel and "sentimental education." As political theory, Rorty's perspective, not unlike Sheldon Wolin's, values the imagination, the ability to come up with new metaphors and angles of vision, and is driven by a deep desire to reinvigorate a moribund and detached contemporary left.

Voparil's account engages the full range of Rorty's intellectual forebears, grounding his thought in an American tradition that extends beyond the classical pragmatists to include Emerson, Whitman, Harriet Beecher Stowe, and James Baldwin, in addition to chapters that trace Rorty's connection to such diverse figures as Marx, Mill, Dickens, Isaiah Berlin, and Milan Kundera.

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