This essay responds to essays by Ian Balfour, David Ferris, and Karen Swann that examine the centrality of the question of the aesthetic both within Romantic studies and within the academic institution of literary and cultural criticism. They may also all three be said to exemplify the diverse legacy of deconstruction, and more particularly that of Paul de Man. David Ferris mounts for inspection de Man’s analysis of aesthetic education as founded in a violence it must also conceal. Karen Swann draws attention to those strange, beautiful human forms one encounters now and then in Shelley’s poetry—figures suspended between life and death, within landscapes of wreckage and loss—and she elaborates de Man’s severe emphasis on aesthetic monumentalization into a rich reading of the kind of biographical material—memoirs, anecdotes, letters—that is so often marshalled as an antidote to textual complexity. Ian Balfour emphasizes the way Kantian aesthetics and Romantic writing generally render inadequate psychological and individualist notions of the subject. These three essays all, in their different ways, show that the aesthetic fulfills itself in turning against itself; that it succeeds through failure; that it ruins even as it reproduces the monumental artwork, the monumentalized artist, the psychological subject, and the space of pedagogical and political formation within which modern subjects come to pass. These essays also suggest that the uncertain, conflicted phenomenon that we go on stubbornly calling “Romanticism” continues to have so much to tell us precisely because it names a literary-historical displacement of the aesthetic.