Romanticism and the Insistence of the Aesthetic
In spite of the recent prevalence of 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.
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About the Romantic Circles Praxis Series
The Romantic Circles Praxis Series is devoted to using computer technologies for the contemporary critical investigation of the languages, cultures, histories, and theories of Romanticism. Tracking the circulation of Romanticism within these interrelated domains of knowledge, RCPS recognizes as its conceptual terrain a world where Romanticism has, on the one hand, dissolved as a period and an idea into a plurality of discourses and, on the other, retained a vigorous, recognizable hold on the intellectual and theoretical discussions of today. RCPS is committed to mapping out this terrain with the best and mo st exciting critical writing of contemporary Romanticist scholarship.
About the Contributors
Forest Pyle teaches in the Department of English at the University of Oregon. He is the author of The Ideology of the Imagination (Stanford, 1995) and other essays on nineteenth and twentieth century British and American literature and film, including "'Frail Spells': Shelley and the Irony of Exile" for Romantic Praxis. He is presently completing a book called "From Which One Turns Away": A Radical Aestheticism in the Romantic Tradition.
David Ferris is Professor of Comparative Literature and Humanities at the University of Colorado at Boulder. He is the author of Theory and the Evasion of History, Silent Urns: Romanticism, Hellenism, Modernity, and the editor of Walter Benjamin: Theoretical Questions and the Cambridge Companion to Walter Benjamin.
Marc Redfield is Professor of English and holds the John D. and Lilliam Maguire Distinguished Chair in the Humanitites at Claremont Graduate University. He is the author of Phantom Formations: Aesthetic Ideology and the Bildungsroman (1996) and of The Politics of Aesthetics: Nationalism, Gender, Romanticism (2003); he has coedited High Anxieties: Cultural Studies in Addiction (2002), .
Karen Swann is Professor of English and Chair of the English Department at Williams College. Her publications include essays on Wordsworth, Coleridge, Keats and Shelley. Her current project is "'Work Without Hope': Late Coleridge."