Lost Intimacy in American Thought casts new light on a particular strand of American philosophical writing that includes Henry David Thoreau, Henry Bugbee, and Stanley Cavell. Against the strictures of an overly professionalized philosophy, these writers seek to regain intimacy with place, others, and oneself. Accordingly, they embrace literature and autobiography to convey the strands of
loss and restoration, grief and gratitude, that weave in and out of their writing, and that resonate with the thinking of so many others who take seriously the anxieties and delights of being human.
The effort to retrieve a recuperative place gives a somewhat religious cast to their work and to the writings of others who appear in this book: Henry
James, J. Glenn Gray, and Bruce Wilshire. The critical and restorative efforts of these writers mark a generosity of spirit that opens toward
lyrical discernments of wonder and worth. These discernments are a way of saving objects and persons from neglect or abandonment. Such saving
poetic perceptions soften oppositions between self and other, secular and sacred, seeing and beholding, holding and being held, rational and irrational.
Lost Intimacy in American Thought will spark interest in all who are ready to recover Thoreau, Emerson, and Bugbee for the sort of American tradition that Cavell has sought to retrieve and rejuvenate; the tradition, as Mooney puts it, of American Intimate.