Chapter One traces philosophical treatments of habit from Aristotle and Burke through Walter Pater and Viktor Shklovsky. It examines pragmatism’s distinctively modern contributions to this genealogy and offers extended readings of the role of habit in Dewey and William James. The chapter argues that pragmatic modernism shares with the historical avant-garde a focus on the relation between habit and shock, and that-despite meaningful differences in tone and emphasis-both consider the consequences of this relation for social change. The chapter concludes with a consideration of the surprising affinities between representations of habit in André Breton’s Nadja (1928), Walter Benjamin’s essays on Surrealism, and Deweyan pragmatism.
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