By Timothy Michael

What function should still cause play within the construction of a unfastened and simply society? do we declare to grasp something in a box as advanced as politics? and the way can the reason for political rationalism be complicated while it truly is obvious as having blood on its arms? those are the questions that occupied a bunch of British poets, philosophers, and polemicists within the years following the French Revolution.

Timothy Michael argues that a lot literature of the interval is a tribulation, or a critique, of cause in its political capacities and a attempt of the categories of data to be had to it. For Wordsworth, Coleridge, Shelley, Burke, Wollstonecraft, and Godwin, the historic series of revolution, counter-revolution, and terror in France―and radicalism and repression in Britain―occasioned a dramatic reassessment of ways most sensible to enhance the venture of enlightenment. The political considered those figures has to be understood, Michael contends, within the context in their philosophical idea. significant poems of the interval, together with The Prelude, The Excursion, and Prometheus Unbound, are during this analyzing an adjudication of competing political and epistemological claims.

This ebook bridges for the 1st time conventional pillars of Romantic experiences: the period’s politics and its theories of the brain and information. Combining literary and highbrow historical past, it presents an account of British Romanticism during which excessive rhetoric, political prose, poetry, and poetics converge in a discourse of enlightenment and emancipation.

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H. Abrams, Alfred Cobban, Geoffrey Hartman and other members of the Yale School, Thomas McFarland, Laurence Lockridge, and James Engell, among others, all share a commitment to the history of philosophy, especially philosophies of the mind and knowledge, as an indispensable tool in the study of Romanticism. 83 Historically oriented critics—­from Marilyn Butler and Nicholas Roe to David Bromwich and James Chandler—­have grounded the drama of ideas in Romanticism in social and po­liti­cal contexts, providing a salutary corrective to what can be a kind of intellectual formalism.

In the well-­k nown meta­phor with which he begins that work, Kant describes his project as “a court of justice, by which reason may secure its rightful claims while dismissing all its groundless pretensions, and this not by mere de- Kant and the Revolutionary Settlement of Early Romanticism 39 crees but according to its own eternal and unchangeable laws; and this court is none other than the critique of pure reason itself,”12 by which Kant means a critique of a priori cognition. ”13 There are limits, though, to what the a priori can do.

74 In the Eclipse of Reason, Horkheimer differentiates “objective” reason, concerned with ends, from “subjective” reason, concerned with self-­ preservation, self-­realization, and utility. ”75 Horkheimer frequently stresses the privileged role of Vernunft in reconciling contradictions. The contradiction between subject and object is especially important for Horkheimer, as the irrational domination of the object by the subject—­the problem, we might note in passing, at the core of “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner”—­extends beyond humans’ domination of nature into their relations with other subjects, who, as Kant had worried in his Critique of Practical Reason (1788), would be treated as means, objects, or commodities themselves.

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