By Timothy Michael

ISBN-10: 1421418037

ISBN-13: 9781421418032

What function may still cause play within the production of a loose and simply society? will we declare to understand whatever in a box as advanced as politics? and the way can the reason for political rationalism be complex whilst it really is noticeable as having blood on its palms? those are the questions that occupied a gaggle of British poets, philosophers, and polemicists within the years following the French Revolution.

Timothy Michael argues that a lot literature of the interval is an ordeal, or a critique, of cause in its political capacities and a try of the types of data on hand to it. For Wordsworth, Coleridge, Shelley, Burke, Wollstonecraft, and Godwin, the old series of revolution, counter-revolution, and terror in France―and radicalism and repression in Britain―occasioned a dramatic reassessment of the way most sensible to strengthen the undertaking of enlightenment. The political considered those figures has to be understood, Michael contends, within the context in their philosophical inspiration. 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 publication bridges for the 1st time conventional pillars of Romantic stories: the period’s politics and its theories of the brain and data. Combining literary and highbrow background, it offers an account of British Romanticism within which excessive rhetoric, political prose, poetry, and poetics converge in a discourse of enlightenment and emancipation.

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The things of the highest value, for Burke, remain immune to the leveling impulse of po­liti­cal rationalism. Burke’s Reflections has a conflicted, even contradictory, attitude toward the faculty of reason, a tension reflected in the essay’s frequent use of paradox. The Burke of the Reflections, though, is one Burke of many. The chapter begins with a treatment of his 1783 speech on Fox’s East India Bill, discerning in the hypotactic language of that speech the judicious temperament that for Burke always stops short of knowledge in po­liti­cal contexts.

The energy of early Romantic literature, of which I take Words­worth’s Prelude of 1805 to be exemplary, largely derives from how it assimilates and synthesizes these two traditions. ”84 Just as Kant often describes his Copernican revolution in philosophy in the terms of freedom and justice, so does the po­liti­cal literature of the period represent the French Revolution as an epistemological break, a new claim about what kinds of knowledge are available to the po­liti­cal subject. Kant’s own views on the revolution in France, contained in The Conflict of the Faculties and other texts, suggest other important links between the historical event and Kant’s own philosophical project—­ for example, through his reflections on the “a priori” and “terroristic” manners of representing history.

Like other purported members of what used to be called the “Satanic” School of Romanticism, Byron modifies an inherited model of reason that he does not seek to do away with al­ together. ” The critiques of po­liti­cal reason undertaken by other Romantics similarly seek to correct the abuses of ration­ alism in order to ground certain po­liti­cal values more squarely on it. Where Russell is quite obviously hostile to the general project of Romanticism—­ with the possible exception of Shelley, with whom he, like Friedrich Engels, was obsessed as a young man—­Isaiah Berlin has a more conflicted relation to 20 British Romanticism and the Critique of Po­liti­cal Reason it.

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