Abstract

Introduction: 'The Power is There': Romanticism as Aesthetic Insistence

In spite of the recent prevalence on historical and sociological concerns in Romantic scholarship, the aesthetic insists: indeed, its very mode is one of insistence. The essays by Balfour, Ferris, and Swann collected for this issue address the question of "Romanticism and the Insistence of the Aesthetic" by turning in various forms to Romantic versions of the relationship between the aesthetic and power, whether as a form of violence or a force of possibility. In readings that address Kant (Balfour, Ferris) and Shelley (Balfour, Swann, Pyle) and that include discussions of Keats, Wordsworth, and Schiller, these essays demonstrate that to read is not to take refuge from but to subject oneself to the adventures of power and force that are inextricable from the aesthetic. Redfield's response to these essays stresses their emphasis on the predicament of reading—the ways in which they "exemplify the diverse legacy of deconstruction"—and argues for the importance of their intervention in Romantic studies.