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Emily Rohrbach - Modernity's Mist: British Romanticism and the Poetics of Anticipation. Reviewed by Lauren Neefe

Rohrbach, Emily, Modernity's Mist: British Romanticism and the Poetics of Anticipation (Fordham University Press, 2015). xi +185 pp. (Hdbk., $85.00; ISBN: 978-0823267965; Paperback, $9.99; ISBN: 978-0823267972).

Lauren Neefe

Georgia Institute of Technology

Balancing Acts: Modes of Equilibrium in Romanticism and Nature Philosophy around 1800

This paper explores the concept of equilibrium around 1800, to understand its use, and to trace the different ways in which Schelling’s positioning of equilibrium at the beginning of reflection transforms a commonplace scientific concept into a philosophically powerful one. Focusing on the early nature philosophy of Schelling and Eschenmayer and the aphorisms of Novalis around 1800—before turning to Eschenmayer’s later work on psychology from 1814—these readings concentrate on two related tendencies in the discussion on equilibrium: the first relating to its ability to move between the immaterial and the material, the second relating to questions of visibility that such movement entails.

December 2016

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The Romantic Sentence

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.

December 2016

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Police Psychology: E.T.A. Hoffmann, Johann Beckmann, and Technological Narration

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.

December 2016

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Introduction

“What’s new with German Romanticism?”—the question gestures to the important contribution of German-language writing to our understanding of the period but also to the trenchant and suggestive interrogation of the category of “newness” by German Romantic writers. Anxiety about whether anything “new” can ever be said or written about anything is, one could argue, constitutive of both Romanticism and our relationship to it.

December 2016

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For † Friedrich Schlegel †

When, in his commentary on G.E. Lessing’s writings, Friedrich Schlegel describes his aim “to characterize the spirit of Lessing as a whole," he evokes the traditional distinction between spirit and letter that had come to form the point of departure for the hermeneutic enterprise, in and beyond biblical exegesis. Yet the meaning that this distinction assumes in Schlegel’s writings, from his earliest studies of Greek and Roman poetry, to his Conversation on Poetry, is not one that would promise interpretive closure of any kind. Instead, the distinction itself and the infinite demands for interpretation that arise from it can be traced to a dynamic particular to writing, which Schlegel outlines in his philological approaches to biblical scripture, Lessing, and poetry. In my contribution, I seek to draw out the implications of Schlegel's scriptural philology, looking back to its biblical precedents and forward to the kind of reading his intervention solicits.

December 2016

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New Work on German Romanticism

“What’s new with German Romanticism?” – the question gestures to the important contribution of German-language writing to our understanding of the period but also to the trenchant and suggestive interrogation of the category of “newness” by German Romantic writers. The essays in this collection represent some of the most important current trends in scholarship, but each also grapples in some way or another with the challenges that the literary, philosophical, scientific, and legal writings of Romanticism pose to received narratives about history, meaning, and power, including narratives about originality and newness, revolutionary breaks and fresh beginnings.

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December, 2016

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