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Romanticism and Disaster

About this volume


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This volume of Romantic Circles Praxis Series includes an editor's introduction by Jacques Khalip and David Collings, essays by Scott J. Juengel, William Keach, Timothy Morton, and Rei Terada.

Romanticism and Disaster considers and responds to the timely concept of devastated life by thinking about how the capacity to read, interpret, and absorb disaster necessitates significant changes in theory, ethics, and common life. What if the consequences or "experience" of a disaster were less about psychic survival than an unblinking desire to face down the disaster as a challenge to normative structures? The essays in this volume attend to the rhetorical, epistemological, political, and social effects of romantic critique, and reflect on how processes of destruction and reconstitution, ruination and survival, are part and parcel of romanticism’s grappling with a negativity that haunts its corners. Put in this way, "disaster" does not signal a referential event, but rather an undoing of certain apparently prior categories of dwelling, and forces us to contemplate living otherwise. In confronting the end of things, what are the conditions or possibilities of existence amidst catastrophe? What is a crisis, and what kinds of challenges does it occasion? What can be philosophically gained or lost by analyzing disaster in its multiple sites, contexts, and instances?

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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 most exciting critical writing of contemporary Romanticist scholarship.

About the Contributors

Jacques Khalip is Associate Professor of English and Modern Culture and Media at Brown University. He is the author of Anonymous Life: Romanticism and Dispossession (Stanford UP, 2009), and the co-editor of Releasing the Image: From Literature to New Media (Stanford UP, 2011). Currently, he is working on a book entitled Dwelling in Disaster, a study of romantic reflections on extinction and wasted life.

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David Collings is Professor of English at Bowdoin College. He is the author of Wordsworthian Errancies: The Poetics of Cultural Dismemberment (Johns Hopkins, 1994) and of Monstrous Society: Reciprocity, Discipline, and the Political Uncanny (Bucknell, 2009). He is co-editor of Queer Romanticisms (Romanticism on the Net 36-37) and author of essays on Godwin, Malthus, Bentham, Thelwall, Coleridge, Mary Shelley, and contemporary Romantic criticism.

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Scott J. Juengel is a Senior Lecturer at Vanderbilt University. He is presently working on several projects, including Catastrophe Enlightenment, which examines the role that disaster plays in reshaping the modern conceptions of time, eschatology, and the event. He is also editing a new edition of Daniel Defoe's A Journal of the Plague Year for Broadview Press.

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William Keach is Professor of English at Brown University. He is the author of Elizabethan Erotic Narratives (1976), Shelley's Style (1984), and Arbitrary Power: Romanticism, Language, Politics (2004), and has edited Coleridge: The Complete Poems for the Penguin English Poets series (1997) and Trotsky's Literature and Revolution for Haymarket Press (2004). His articles have appeared in Studies in Romanticism, European Romantic Review, The Keats-Shelley Journal, Left History, and other scholarly journals, and he contributed the section on "Poetry, after 1740" in volume 4 of The Cambridge History of Literary Criticism (1997).

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Timothy Morton is Professor of English (Literature and the Environment) at the University of California, Davis. He is the author of The Ecological Thought (Harvard UP, 2010), Ecology without Nature (Harvard UP, 2007), seven other books and over seventy essays on philosophy, ecology, literature, food and music. He is currently writing two books: Realist Magic and Hyperobjects. And he blogs regularly at http://www.ecologywithoutnature.blogspot.com

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Rei Terada is Professor of Comparative Literature at the University of California, Irvine. Her books include Feeling in Theory: Emotion after the 'Death of the Subject' (Harvard UP, 2001) and Looking Away: Phenomenality and Dissatisfaction, Kant to Adorno (Harvard UP, 2009).

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Published @ RC

January 2012

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