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"Aesthetics, Sovereignty, Biopower: From Schiller’s Über die ästhetische Erziehung des Menschen to Goethe’s Unterhaltungen deutscher Ausgewanderten"

Redfield argues that the very density of aesthetics means that biopolitics may not be exactly what contemporary theorists claim it to be. As much as aesthetics can be read as an extension of biopolitics, biopolitical sovereignty finds itself subject to the technicity of aesthetics. Explicitly a political response to and solution for the violence of the French Revolution, Friedrich Schiller’s Letters on the Aesthetic Education of Man outlines an aesthetic program that aims for nothing less than a body at one with the law. What Redfield focuses on, however, is not just the violence that sovereignty performs and disavows, but also the force that it exploits yet cannot control. To elaborate this claim, he turns to a text published in the same year (1795) as Schiller’s treatise, Goethe’s Conversations of German Refugees, seven stories that are intended by their refugee tellers to embody the promises of aesthetic culture to restore the moral and political order of the ancien régime after the violence of the French Revolution. The controlling figure for this order is, in the words of the leader of the refugees, the Baroness, der gute Ton, a literal translation of the French bon ton. Yet Ton in German also means “noise.” Exploiting this double meaning, Redfield traces a remarkably consistent pattern by which sovereign responses to shocking noises in the text reproduce rather than put an end to the revolutionary shock such noises are associated with. Insofar as Goethe’s text is itself an aesthetico-pedagogical effort to disseminate den guten Ton, it allegorizes its own inability to rigorously distinguish between the shock it to which it responds and the shock upon which it turns.
December 2012

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Clery and Shaffer, "The Corvey Project: Collaborative Excavation of the Professional Woman Writer, 1790-1840"

Digitizing Romanticism

"The Corvey Project: Collaborative Excavation of the Professional Woman Writer, 1790-1840"

Emma Clery, Sheffield Hallam University
Julie Shaffer, SHU/University of Wisconsin at Oshkosh

Prepared for "Digitizing Romanticism," Session chaired by Neil Fraistat, University of Maryland




North American Society for the Study of Romanticism 1998 Conference Program

Romantic Circles

NASSR Annual Convention, 1998

Note: The formatting of the following program follows the original. We have made only minor changes throughout, correcting obvious errors and making some listings more uniform to facilitate electronic searching.

1798 and its Implications


Archive of Comparative Romanticism Sessions at Modern Language Association Annual Conventions (1990- )

Romantic Studies at the MLA, 1990-
Comparative Romanticism Division Sessions

1990 | 1991 | 1992 | 1993 | 1994 | 1995 | 1996 | 1997 | 1998


Gender and Genre

Division on Comparative Studies in Romanticism and the Nineteenth Century. Presiding: Cynthia Chase, Cornell Univ.

1. "Mourning, Masochism, and Mothers: Felicia Hemans on the Origins of Poetry," Carol Barash, Rutgers Univ., New Brunswick
2. "'As I Am a Man': The Structures and Stakes of Masculinity in 'The Thorn,'" Philip Barrish, Cornell Univ.

Romanticism and Anti-Semitism: Texts, Contexts, Criticism