Criticism

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Criticism
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Criticism
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Criticism

Shelley amid the Age of Separations: Romantic Sociology and Romantic Media Theory

In an effort to square today’s findings that Romantic poets are early media theorists with Raymond Williams’s older claim that Romantic poets were “poets or sociologists,” the essay reframes Percy Shelley’s writing—and even his sometimes obscure poetic style—as engaged in a cultural sociology alert to the aesthetics of imaginative media. Grounded in sociological thought from Romantic-era sciences of society to Émile Durkheim, “Shelley amid the Age of Separations” suggests that the problem of “Romantic media” does not ultimately involve greater or better connectedness but rather the feeling of social dissolution amid heightened infrastructural concentration. The essay concludes by reading Epipsychidion (1821) and some of Shelley’s other works as inquiries into how poetry might model a form of relationality fit for modern societies, an interaction that is neither principally commercial nor amatory.

November 2016

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Multi-Media Romanticisms

This introductory essay of Multi-Media Romanticisms explores the central concepts that emerge from the individual essays contained in the volume. These concepts include: the multiplicity of Romantic-era media technologies and theories; the conceptual models of network, assemblage, and ecology used by contemporary scholars to map the relations between media; Romantic valorizations of noise as a benign register of materiality, singularity, and finitude; and the turn to questions of affect and emotion as a way to describe the position of the subject within extended networks of mediation. These conceptual clusters seem to us the most knotty and generative issues within Romantic-era media studies today.

November 2016

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Multi-Media Romanticisms

This volume explores the multiplicity of the media concept during the Romantic age in England. The collection's central investigations include: the multiplicity of Romantic-era media technologies and theories; the conceptual models of network, assemblage, and ecology used by contemporary scholars to map the relations between media; Romantic valorizations of noise as a benign register of materiality, singularity, and finitude; and the turn to questions of affect and emotion as a way to describe the position of the subject within extended networks of mediation. Volume contributors reflect on the interactions among the diverse media forms of the Romantic age and explore the connections between those old media forms and today’s dynamic new media ecologies.

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November, 2016

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Gavin Hopps, ed. - Byron’s Ghosts: The Spectral, the Spiritual, and the Supernatural. Reviewed by Chris Washington

Byron’s Ghosts: The Spectral, the Spiritual, and the Supernatural, ed. Gavin Hopps (Liverpool University Press, 2013). 246 pp. (Hdbk., $99.95; ISBN 9781846319709).

Chris Washington
Francis Marion University

Rethinking Teachability through the Esoteric Blake

Date published: 

July, 2016

In this essay, I reflect on how my experience of teaching William Blake’s Milton (comp. ca. 1804-1811) to graduate students was retrospectively transformed by reading Silvan Tomkins and Baruch Spinoza’s Ethics (1677) in a seminar that I subsequently taught on affect theory. Engaging with Spinoza’s and Tomkins’s respective writings on negative affects (such as shame and fear) and positive affects (such as joy) allowed me to discover in what I had been thinking of as a pedagogical failure an exciting pedagogical opportunity to rethink my unreflected assumptions about teaching and what constitutes teaching success. The key breakthrough came when, through a shift of perspective, I began to see that the shame and fear of not understanding Milton that my students (and on occasion, I) experienced was a version of the affective dramas, or “Mental Fight,” in Blake’s works and thus an essential aspect of the reading process rather than an obstacle to it.

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Blakean Pedagogy: An Introduction to William Blake and Pedagogy

Date published: 

July, 2016

The present volume intervenes in the notion that pedagogy is of a secondary concern to Blake scholars by showing how William Blake’s work can invigorate the classroom. Contributors use Blake’s inspiration to create new teaching methodologies, propose new assignments, engage new public audiences, and critically explore the emergence of new technological modalities. Famously difficult, Blake nevertheless constructs crucial dialogues in fields from the digital humanities to manuscript history and affect theory. This volume shows how teachers can take advantage of his holistic approach to pedagogy—his insistence that teaching is entangled with every part of our lives—to contest standard approaches to Blake in the literature classroom.

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The Blake Society and Pedagogy Outside the Academy

Date published: 

July, 2016

This article explores what Blakean pedagogy can be through an examination of the United Kingdom’s Blake Society, a non-academic organization. The Blake Society works to promote greater recognition of William Blake’s life and activities but eschews the goals of scholarly knowledge production that often accompany academic Blake activities. Through an exploration of the Blake Society’s pedagogy, this article asks what resources and authority are necessary to do things with Blake.

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The Poems and the Books: Reading and Rereading Blake’s Songs

Date published: 

July, 2016

The first part of this essay suggests ways to teach the varying versions of William Blake’s Songs of Innocence and of Experience (1794) in order to highlight different types of interpretive coherence as well as Blake’s idea of what a book is.  The second part of the essay considers the implications of teaching the Songs for what we might call a “Blakean pedagogy.”

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Google Blake

Date published: 

July, 2016

This article outlines and models a simple web-browsing assignment and related research project designed to help students reflect critically on the propensity for William Blake’s illuminated books to break apart and circulate in pieces. The web-browsing assignment asks students to track how the present uses of a single Blake proverb call forth its potentials to mean different things, while the research project has them historicize some of those potentials. Together, the two assignments are designed to prompt classroom discussion of the ways that the semantic and situational instability of Blake’s proverbs might matter for thinking about the formal properties of the illuminated books as a medium, the culture that generated this medium, the cultures that continue to converge with it, and the complexity of the artistic project bound up with it.

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About this Volume

Date published: 

July, 2016

About this Volume

The present volume intervenes in the notion that pedagogy is of a secondary concern to Blake scholars by showing how William Blake’s work can invigorate the classroom. Contributors use Blake’s inspiration to create new teaching methodologies, propose new assignments, engage new public audiences, and critically explore the emergence of new technological modalities. Famously difficult, Blake nevertheless

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