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New Romanticisms

New Romanticisms

Copyright Date: 1994
Pages: 304
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  • Book Info
    New Romanticisms
    Book Description:

    Designed to provide an indication of the different directions that Romantic studies are currently headed in, beyond the totalizing opposition which could see deconstruction secede to historicism, New Romanticisms emphasizes the plurality of critical positions available to the contemporary scholar.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-7764-7
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Illustrations
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xi-xii)
  5. Introduction

    • Discriminations: Romanticism in the Wake of Deconstruction
      (pp. 3-24)

      About the notion of a plurality of ‘Romanticisms,’ there is in fact nothing ‘new.’ Indeed, the argument that the term ‘Romantic’ names a multiplicity of conceptual positions, critical questions, and literary styles can be traced back to Arthur O. Lovejoy’s largely polemical address to the History of Ideas Club at Johns Hopkins University in 1923, in which he argued ‘that we should learn to use the word “romanticism” in the plural’ and ‘begin with a recognition of aprima-facieplurality of Romanticisms, of possibly quite distinct thought-complexes’ (68). By insisting upon ‘the discrimination of Romanticisms,’ as he put it, Lovejoy urged...

  6. I Narrating the Subject

    • ‘The Web of Human Things’: Narrative and Identity in Alastor
      (pp. 27-51)

      Labyrinths, weavings and related figures are ubiquitous in Shelley’s texts, whether they are used to characterize language or other ways of grasping the world, such as thought, vision, or emotion. Thus inPrometheus Unboundlanguage rules with ‘Daedal harmony a throng / Of thoughts and forms’ whose complexity it does not so much eliminate as contain within its own labyrinthine structure (4.416–17). In an essay on imagery the mind is described as ‘a wilderness of intricate paths ... a world within a world’ (Shelley 1911, 2:102). Perhaps the most famous of such images occurs inThe Revolt of Islamwhere Cythna...

    • Baffled Narrative in Julian and Maddalo
      (pp. 52-68)

      Thus begins Shelley’sJulian and Maddalo.The dichotomy between Julian’s simultaneous freedom of movement – on horseback with his powerful Byronic friend the count – and his situation at a point of interruption – on ‘the bank of land whichbreaks the flow/ Of Adria towards Venice’ – prefigures the poem’s shifting narrative sands.

      The poem’s subtitle, ‘A Conversation,’ appears to refer to that held between Maddalo and Julian as they ride on the Lido. The ride and the conversation share a certain freedom of movement: ‘So, as we rode, we talked; and the swift thought, / Winging itself with laughter, lingered not, / But...

  7. II The World, the Text, the Reader

    • Keats’s ‘Realm of Flora’
      (pp. 71-100)

      An obvious feature of Keats’s poetry that has often been noted, both by his contemporaries and modern critics, but has not been adequately studied, is his extensive use of floral imagery. It is hard to miss in the early poetry, thePoemsof 1817 andEndymion,where poetry is likened to a luxurious bower where the poet can feed at leisure on floral pleasure. In ‘Sleep and Poetry,’ Keats’s early poetic manifesto, the ‘realm of Flora’ is depicted as a space of poetic beginnings, one that must be passed if he is to write a greater poetry that deals with ‘the...

    • The Politics of Reading and Writing: Periodical Reviews of Keats’s Poems (1817)
      (pp. 101-132)

      Given that Marjorie Levinson’sKeats’s Life of Allegoryhas been the most celebrated and controversial study of Keats in the last decade, and given its entirely unwitting attempt – as indicated in the epigraph – to undermine the validity of my current project before it was even begun, I must agonize over this text at the outset. Such agonistic encounter will, I hope, assist in representing our situation as readers of Keats, for ‘Keats’ remains today as much a construction of his critics and their ideological projects as he was when he first published his poetry.

      For all her Marxist stress on...

  8. III The Scene of Displacement

    • Symptom and Scene in Freud and Wordsworth
      (pp. 135-163)

      In his 1896 paper ‘The Aetiology of Hysteria,’ Freud presented for the first time a fully developed analytic model based on a binary trope of what he calls ‘symptom’ and ‘scene’ (SE3:187–221). This archaeological figure, which contains layers upon layers of memories, defences, and repressions, offers both a historical view of the development of the unconscious and a structural design of how the various layers fit together in a model that is at once diachronic and synchronic. At each level of Freud’s palimpsestic figure is a ‘scene of reading,’ to borrow Paul de man’s phrase (Allegories162) – a...

    • Against Theological Technology: Blake’s ‘Equivocal Worlds’
      (pp. 164-222)

      Blake no doubt felt strangled by the Great Chain of Being, and by the myriad onto-theological systems whose underlying purpose it was to promote the dead certainties of essence at the expense of the liveliness of existence. He resists the coercive force of these systems, not because he thinks that eternity is an illusion or that the world in its present condition is all that is the case, but because he believes that ‘metaphysics’ (MHH19, E 42)¹ – in Hegel’s definition, the ‘range of universal thought-determinations ... the diamond-net into which we bring everything in order to make it intelligible’ (Petry...

  9. IV Gender, Language, Power

    • Promises, Promises: Social and Other Contracts in the English Jacobins (Godwin/Inchbald)
      (pp. 225-250)

      ‘Society indeed is a contract,’ These blunt words come not from Rousseau or Locke but from Edmund Burke in his epoch-makingReflections on the Revolution in France.¹ They display none of the laboured eloquence one comes to expect from the premiere political rhetorician of his day. The pronouncement is not even as nuanced as something like ‘society is founded on a contract’ or ‘society is structured like a contract’: simply ‘societyisa contract.’

      In an essay entitled ‘Of the Original Contract,’ Hume noted how Tory and Whig political philosophy could be distinguished according to doctrines of passive obedience and...

    • Romanticism’s Real Women
      (pp. 251-272)

      In the first part ofDon Quixote,that brilliantly parodic work of romance so admired by the Romantic writers (Close 29–67), we are told the story of the student Grisóstomo, who dies of love for the ‘cruel and ungrateful’ Marcela, a proud, disdainful creature of ‘matchless beauty.’¹ One of the best moments in this highly ironic account of unrequited love involves the unexpected appearance of the object of desire: ‘Marcela herself,’ so the text reads, ‘more beautiful even than she was reputed to be’ (103). The ‘real’ woman, then, whose beauty ironically, impossibly, exceeds all idealized portraiture, goes on...

  10. Coda

    • Romanticism Unbound
      (pp. 275-288)

      I find myself in the curious position of offering a concluding cadence to essays which deliberately eschew the temptations of harmony for the risks of productive dissonance. I have made, then, a promise I cannot hope to keep, that I perhaps never intended to keep, or one in the very keeping of which I inadvertently betray. How, then, can I address the promise of these essays or, if I may be pardoned one more metaphoric indulgence, cash in the promissory notes that constitute this text of criticism? I write this piece in a shared spirit of resistance to resounding finales...

  11. Notes on Contributors
    (pp. 289-292)
  12. Index
    (pp. 293-303)