Literature

Introduction

The introduction to The Politics of Shelley: History, Theory, Form begins by returning to a 2001 volume in the Romantic Circles Praxis Series that addressed Shelley's politics. Homing in on the complexity of the possibility of a poem intervening in its immediate political context, the introduction frames the volume as sustaining the necessity of seeing through and beyond the antinomy of commitment and autonomy by rereading and reimagining the political in Shelley’s writings and his legacy.

September 2015

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Shelley’s Aesthetic Dimension: The Politics of Resistance and Reform

Given the resurgence of interest in the relation between Shelley’s political essays and poetry, what concept of relationality can be posed to move beyond an old, entrenched opposition between the social commitment of prose and the abstract withdrawal of poetry to theorize a novel form of “political poetics”? In what ways do Shelley’s reflections on the history of modern revolution inform his ideas of literary experience and political subjectivity? How, moreover, does Shelley’s work provoke what he outlines in A Defence of Poetry (1821) as “a beneficial change in opinion or institution” through aesthetic experience, without falling prey to an escapist flight into inwardness? Taking these questions as points of departure, this essay traces within Shelley’s work a theory of aesthetic resistance by reading between his historical-political reflections on the British reform movement in A Philosophical View of Reform (1819-20) and his critical aesthetics. The essay also explores how Shelley’s appeal to an aesthetic dimension in politics creates new modes of experience that resist forms of inhumanity by making visible the otherwise invisible wrongs suffered by groups who remain excluded from participation in the public commons.

September 2015

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The Politics of Shelley: History, Theory, Form

This volume takes as its starting point a 2001 volume in the Romantic Circles Praxis Series, Reading Shelley’s Interventionist Poetry, 1819-1820, in which volume-editor Michael Scrivener, employing Theodor Adorno's terminology, interrogates a potential binary in our understanding of Shelley's "interventionist" work: the "antinomy of commitment and autonomy." Asking what it means for a work of art to intervene in its immediate political context, the present volume asserts the necessity of seeing through and beyond the antinomy of political commitment and artistic autonomy by rereading and reimagining the political in Shelley’s writings and his legacy. Indeed, the essays in this volume chart new political possibilities in our estimation of Shelley’s body of work—pathways that take us back to post-Peterloo repression through to the Victorian Shelleyans, and then forward to Jacques Rancière’s post-Marxism.

Date published: 

October, 2015

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Reviews & Receptions

September, 2015

The new Romantic Circles Reviews & Receptions section is an innovative venture in contemporary Romantic scholarship, comprising short reviews of recent work, live BookChats, BookLists, a forum for debate, and an evolving compendium of appearances of Romanticism in popular culture.

Jon Klancher on Transfiguring the Arts and Sciences: Knowledge and Cultural Institutions in the Romantic Age

A conversation with Jon Klancher (Carnegie Mellon University) about his text, Transfiguring the Arts and Sciences: Knowledge and Cultural Institutions in the Romantic Age (Cambridge UP, 2012).

Other participants in the interview include: Ross Wilson (University of Cambridge), Orrin Wang (University of Maryland), and Stefan Uhlig (University of California-Davis).

Romantic Circles BookChat: Romantic Globalism by Evan Gottlieb

Evan Gottlieb, Romantic Globalism: British Literature and Modern World Order, 1750-1830 (The Ohio State University Press, 2014). 214 pp. (Hdbk., $59.95; ISBN 9780814212547 ).

Siobhan Carroll​, James Mulholland​, Miranda Burgess​, and Evan Gottlieb​ discuss Romantic Globalism: British Literature and Modern World Order, 1750-1830 (Ohio State UP, 2014); Moderated by Roger Whitson.

This marks the first ever Romantic Circles Reviews and Receptions BookChat.

Jerome McGann - A New Republic of Letters: Memory and Scholarship in the Age of Digital Reproduction. Review by Brian Rejack.

Jerome McGann. A New Republic of Letters: Memory and Scholarship in the Age of Digital Reproduction (Harvard University Press, Cambridge: 2014). 256 pp. (Hdbk., $39.95; ISBN 9780674728691).

Brian Rejack
Illinois State University

Dometa Wiegand Brothers - The Romantic Imagination and Astronomy: On All Sides Infinity. Review by Kurtis Hessel

Dometa Wiegand Brothers. The Romantic Imagination and Astronomy:  On All Sides Infinity (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2015). 216 pp. (Hdbk. and ebook, $90.00; cloth ISBN 9781137474339, ebook ISBN 9781137474346).

Kurtis Hessel
University of Colorado Boulder

Nancy Yousef - Romantic Intimacy. Review by Aaron Ottinger.

Nancy Yousef, Romantic Intimacy (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2013). 192 pp. (Hdbk. or digital, $55.00; cloth ISBN: 9780804786096, digital ISBN: 9780804788274).

Aaron Ottinger
University of Washington

In 2010, the Museum of Modern Art in New York hosted Marina Abramović’s performance, The Artist is Present. For seventy-five days, Abramović sat in a chair while a succeeding rotation of museumgoers sat parallel to the artist and gazed into her face. Some patrons stared at Abramović for hours at a time; meanwhile, no words were exchanged. How can we characterize this strange encounter between artist and audience?

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