Criticism

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Criticism
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Criticism
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Criticism

James Hogg and the Medium of Romantic Prose

A recent media turn in Romantic studies has foregrounded the ballad—and poetry more generally—as a privileged site for understanding how questions about medium and mediality feature in the writing of the period. But do such questions feature in the era’s prose genres, as well? And is it possible to talk about a medium of Romantic prose as Celeste Langan and Maureen N. McLane talk about a medium of Romantic poetry? In this essay, I suggest that the answer to both of these questions is “yes,” and to show this I turn to the prose tales of James Hogg, a Romantic-period writer who not only recognized bonds of affinity between metrical and prose composition, but also understood ballads and tales to be versions—interchangeable, in a sense—of each other. Like the ballad, I argue, the tale, too, can be understood as a “hybrid oral and textual practice” (in Paula McDowell’s words), a prose form that exhibits a subtle self-consciousness about its own medial status.

February 2017

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The Privatization of Public Life: Free Direct Discourse in Persuasion

"The Privatization of Public Life: Free Direct Discourse in Persuasion" argues for the importance of other narrative techniques beyond free indirect discourse in Jane Austen’s work, such as the related but in many ways opposed form, free direct discourse. Paying particular attention to such techniques, I contend, allows us to see the ways in which public discourse in a novel such as Persuasion is repeatedly converted into a medium for private feeling. The result is a strangely fractured view of public life, in which characters fail to share even something as fundamental as time itself.

February 2017

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About this Volume

About this Volume

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

February 2017

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English Romanticism in East Asia

This volume brings together essays from Japan, China, Taiwan, and Korea to offer an unprecedented view of English Romanticism’s presence in the modern literature and literary criticism of East Asia. Going beyond simply tracing the influence of English Romantic writing on East Asian writers and critics, each essay reveals an intrinsic and often surprising interconnectedness in the Romantic aesthetics and mode of thought across the borders of East and West. This collection’s reflection on English Romanticism through the historical particularities of East Asian nations at the onset of modernity sheds light on Romanticism as a still valid form of cultural critique against the shared yet divergent forms, experiences, and questions of modernity.

Date published: 

December, 2016

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About this Volume

About this Volume

This volume brings together essays from Japan, China, Taiwan, and Korea to offer an unprecedented view of English Romanticism’s presence in the modern literature and literary criticism of East Asia. Going beyond simply tracing the influence of English Romantic writing on East Asian writers and

December 2016

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Teaching Romanticism and Literary Theory

Date published: 

December, 2016

These essays reflect on the ways contributors integrate literary theory into their teaching of Romanticism and reflect on the continued importance of literary theory to Romanticism and the work of Romanticists. Collectively the essays broach a range of questions, but perhaps most importantly: why teach Romanticism and literary theory today? How does teaching Romanticism with literary theory alter our ideas of both?

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Romanticism as Method

Date published: 

December, 2016

Whether or not we believe the reports of theory's imminent or absolute demise, recent calls (from Latour, Sedgwick, Best and Marcus) to move beyond ideology critique invite us to rethink our teaching as well as our research practices. This essay asks what it would mean to exchange an emphasis on "theory" for one on "method." My suggestion is that focusing on method encourages a cultivation of knowledge as, specifically, a knowing-how, a form of intellectual labor that values adventurous collaboration over private virtuosity.

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Preface

Date published: 

December, 2016

Romantic texts have repeatedly played important roles in the development of what we call literary theory. For instance, all of the essays collected in the 1979 Deconstruction and Criticism volume, which did so much to announce deconstruction in the United States, were originally meant to focus on the poetry of P. B. Shelley. In the intervening decades, Romanticists have often been hired as literary theorists, and so the teaching of Romanticism has frequently been paired with the teaching of literary theory. For this special issue of Romantic Circles Pedagogy Commons I asked contributors to reflect on the ways they integrate literary theory into their teaching of Romanticism and to reflect on the continued importance of literary theory to Romanticism and the work of Romanticists. I did not define “literary theory” but left the term open to interpretation. Collectively the essays broach a range of questions, but perhaps most importantly: why teach Romanticism and literary theory today? How does teaching Romanticism with literary theory alter our ideas of both?

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On the Uses and Abuses of Theory (for Life)

Date published: 

December, 2016

This piece relates some strategies for creating a generative tension between theory and romanticism in the classroom. Its examples are Badiou's strident critiques of romanticism as the "philosopheme" of historicism and Kant's imbrication of "theory" and "practice." At stake more broadly is the problematic notion of use (and misuse), so common in recent discussions about the humanities: how to "use" literature—which literature, or which theory, and for what ends.

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Dissensus in Two Registers: “Tintern Abbey” in Taiwan

Date published: 

December, 2016

If a conversation between poetry and philosophy can be said to have inhabited the language and literature of Romanticism since its inception—and to have constituted the driving force of Romanticism-as-theory, what happens to this conversation when it crosses linguistic and cultural borders? What are the limits of the theory internal to Romanticism and of the theories that Romanticism generates beyond the confines of an increasingly monophone globalism? This paper engages with such questions by presenting and reflecting on passages of textual and cultural dissensus—à propos the specific difficulty of translating the very signifiers, “sense” and the “senses”—in the reading of “Tintern Abbey” in a non-Western context. It suggests that such sites of untranslatability may serve precisely as new grounds for restarting Romanticism’s theoretical potential in our contemporary global context of connected yet heterogeneous cultural traditions.

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