Literature

Brief Encounter: de Man on Wordsworth, or The Irony of “The Rhetoric of Temporality”

In “The Rhetoric of Temporality,” Paul de Man invokes allegory and irony as two distinct perspectives on the question on time: the former responding to an epistemological problem by transposing it into temporal sequence and the latter collapsing temporal sequence into simultaneity. This leads him, however, to imagine the possibility of texts that would “overcome irony.” When he examines “A Slumber Did My Spirit Seal” as an example of such an overcoming, de Man’s own text, however, encounters the accident of an irony that opens a window onto the instability of his pedagogical distinction between irony and allegory—an instability that hinges on the necessity of “reading” irony’s brevity in narrative terms.

May 2016

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Romantic Education: Romantic Pedagogies and New Approaches to Teaching Romanticism

Date published: 

May, 2016
These essays offer diverse ways of thinking about the intersections of Romanticism and pedagogy: both what Romantic-era figures themselves thought about the processes of learning and teaching and also what we as modern educators might consider as we present these texts and figures to our students. It is our hope that they will contribute to ongoing conversations among scholars and teachers of Romanticism about the history and future of humanities education, and in particular will foster cross-historical conversations.

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Romanticism and the Sciences by Robert Mitchell

Robert Mitchell collects and discusses eight wide-ranging approaches to the subject of Romanticism and the Sciences:

  1. Hannah Arendt, The Human Condition (Chicago, University of Chicago Press, 1998)
  2. Alan Bewell, Wordsworth and the Enlightenment: Nature, Man, and Society in the Experimental Poetry (New Haven, Yale University Press, 1989)
  3. Georges Canguilhem, “The Living and its Milieu,” Grey Room 3 (2001): 7-31
  4. Michel Foucault, Security, Territory, Population: Lectures at the College de France, 1977-78, trans. G. Burchell; ed. M. Senellart (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2007)
  5. Denise Gigante, “The Monster in the Rainbow: Keats and the Science of Life," PMLA 117 (2002): 433–448
  6. Friedrich Kittler, Discourse Networks 1800/1900 (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1990)
  7. Phillip Mirowksi, More Heat than Light: Economics as Social Physics; Physics as Nature's Economics (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989)
  8. Steven Shapin and Simon Schaffer, Leviathan and the Air-Pump: Hobbes, Boyle, and the Experimental Life (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1985)

      About this Volume

      Date published: 

      May, 2016

      About this Volume

      The Romantic era witnessed broad experimentation with and theorization of education at all levels, from efforts to make education available to child laborers to ideas about the role of nature in learning. Our own period is experiencing similarly intense debates about the best means of educating students in

      Universal Truths, Unacknowledged Legislators: Teaching the First Sentence of Pride and Prejudice

      Date published: 

      May, 2016

      The following essay replays a close-reading, word-by-word in-class exercise of Pride and Prejudice's opening sentence: "It is a truth universally acknowledged that single men in possession of good fortunate must be in want of a wife." In our close reading students and I explore how, in Austen's hands, her famed use of free indirect discourse and irony deflate transcendental assumptions about gender and class. With this deflationary gesture, Austen’s turning of these tropes allows us to see, in turn, how her work connects to the biopolitical imperative to extend the lifespan of the human species that Foucault sees emerging in the eighteenth century. On our reading, though, irony, as developed by Austen, provides a powerful tool for questioning such an imperative in our own time of planetary peril.

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