This essay explores post-Kantian challenges to the Aristotelian proposition and the rationalist model of proof. The first part focuses on Friedrich Schlegel’s efforts to develop a discourse that could reconcile the demand to speak freely with the demand to speak the truth. The second part shows how Edgar Allan Poe and Stéphane Mallarmé continue Schlegel’s project as they grapple with Romantic ideas about wit and the autonomy of poetic language.
This article links E.T.A Hoffmann's prose to the neglected Enlightenment university discipline Technologie as invented by the polymath Johann Beckmann. The connection between narrative and technology occurs not at the level of symbols or in diegesis but in the manipulation of form, which had consequences for the construal of life outside the constraints of emergent disciplines like medicine, forensic psychology, and the changing institution of the police. Narrative prose came to occupy the position of that police, producing the object of its own analysis—society—with intent to alter it.
Is Romantic prose a neutral instrument of representation? Does it struggle to engage questions of experience and sensation in new ways? How should prose be understood in relation to poetic expressiveness? The essays in this volume explore Romantic prose across multiple genres as a kind of performative utterance that redraws the boundaries between the private and the social.
Is there a place for the spiritual in literature? James Hogg's
long poem The Queen’s Wake and his sprawling prose
narrative The Three Perils of Manappear to literalize
an affirmative response by giving play to spirits and other supernatural
phenomena. And yet, Hogg’s answer may actually be no, if only because
“literature” as imagined by his friend and rival, Walter Scott, downgrades
spiritual intensities to the status of cultural differences from everyday life.
Hogg did not divide up the world in quite that way, a point with implications
not only for the idea of the spiritual, but also, and especially, for
This essay briefly explores two developments that produced a
remarkable turn in the relationship between philosophy and literature between
the publication of Hume’s Treatise in 1740 and the heyday of the Romantic
familiar essay in the 1820s: the socialisation of experience by Scottish
Enlightenment thinkers and the impact of belletristic periodical culture upon
philosophical discourse. These changes were interconnected, jointly exhibiting a
swerve away from systematic epistemology and towards a form of essayism. As the
literary genre of trusting intersubjectivity par excellence,
the familiar essay had functioned as a vehicle for philosophical experiments in
communication since the days of The Spectator. And yet,
Hume’s idea of an ‘easy,’ conversational philosophy grounded in social
correspondence increased the epistemological burden upon essayist beyond
anything envisaged by Addison or Steele. The Romantic familiar essay inherits
this burden while changing the stakes: thus, while the rewards of essaying for
Hume lay in the consolidation of consensus through philosophically indifferent
conversation, for Lamb and Hazlitt, they consisted in the promotion of a more
limited social solidarity through the production of modes of reading receptive
to the authenticity effects of singularity and transcendence.