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The impact of Wittgenstein’s work on lyric poets, literary critics, and philosophers has been well documented. Philosophers and literary scholars, including Charles Altieri Stanley Cavell, Richard Eldridge, Michael Fischer, Walter Jost, and Joshua Wilner, have drawn on Wittgenstein to consider poetry from the Romantics to the present. Numerous poets from the mid-twentieth century on – among them Barbara Köhler, Marjorie Perloff, Lyn Hejinian, John Koethe, Charles Bernstein, and Ingeborg Bachmann – discuss or reference Wittgenstein, to say nothing of the authors like Perloff, David Rozema, Christopher Norris, or Benjamin Tilghman who contend that Wittgenstein’s writing is itself “poetic.” This chapter takes a different approach: it argues that Wittgenstein’s work illuminates the central questions of the theory of the lyric, namely questions about what lyric poetry is and what it does. As questions of essence and existence, these are the kinds of question Wittgenstein helps us understand – not, primarily, by answering them but by prompting us to consider why and how we ask them. Moreover, Wittgenstein’s attention to the ways poems use language and what we do with them shows how both poetry and the ways we respond to poems rest on his view of language as emerging from and constituting a form of life.
The Romantic theory of war described in this chapter is the product of a group of highly educated Prussian officers trying to grasp the new conditions of politics and warfare that emerged in the wake of the French Revolution. They had studied the philosophy of enlightenment, the history of warfare, and the mathematics of probability, they had read the works of the Classical and Romantic poets of their time, and they had fought in the Revolutionary and the Napoleonic wars. In order to define the nature of war, one of the most eminent of these thinkers, Carl von Clausewitz, relied on Immanuel Kant’s transcendental philosophy. Describing the reality of war, he also relied on three new sciences that had played a role in Kant’s philosophy: the science of static and mechanics, the science of electro-magnetism, and the science of population statistics. The chapter argues that while Clausewitz was not a precursor of Claude Shannon’s mathematical theory of communication, one of the most consequential moments of the digital revolution, he does, however, remain relevant to this day as one of the first theorists of irregular warfare.
Was demythologization a response to the Third-Century Crisis? With the empire reeling from the combined pressures of civil war, barbarian invasion, plague, and economic depression, perhaps Rome’s elite were drawn to bucolic, seasonal, and philosophical scenes for the allegorical tranquility they offered, as a form of refuge from the turmoil of real life? This chapter interrogates this thesis, with far-reaching implications for how we understand similar arguments launched about other periods in world art.
This view of the relationship between philosophy and history has been remarkably enduring. It flourished in the early-modern period, as I show in the case of Spinoza; but it also retained an influence within analytical philosophy, as some of Russell’s early work illustrates. I propose that contemporary advocates of the Separation Thesis remain motivated by the exclusive image of philosophy embodied in the Classical Conception, and the concomitant desire for a transcendent form of knowledge. As long as this is so, the relationship between history and philosophy will remain uneasy.
The introduction argues for a relation between the Swiss myth, Romanticism, and the development of modern liberalism. I notably explain and define the terms used in the book, including negative versus positive liberty, republicanism versus liberalism, and Ancient versus Modern liberty. This brings me to a more detailed discussion of the concepts of liberty, popular sovereignty, and representation in the writings of liberal Swiss intellectuals Benjamin Constant, Germaine de Stäel, and, more briefly, Rousseau. His Letters Written from the Mountain, published half-a-century before Constant’s famous speech, already accepts the passing away of Ancient Liberty, and embraces a modern, representative system in which private virtues supersede public ones and not everyone can participate in the res publica. The Genevan Citizen’s demystification of his own native republic and of Swiss republicanism in general attests to the constructed, ideologically-marked nature of the representations that I explore in the rest of this book. The fact that readers and writers wanted to continue believing in Rousseau’s community of equals in the Alps long after he had stopped doing so speaks to the strength of this Romantic desire, and to the lasting power of the Swiss myth.
The literary context of Tolstoy matters because his works not only emerged in concrete literary and historical circumstances, but expressed in their own ways shared concerns, ideas, fears, and aspirations, characteristic of the respective periods and, in particular, of the generation affected by the humiliating outcome of the Crimean War, the collapse of the decades-long isolationist conservative “scenario of power” of Nicholas I, and a series of forthcoming profound social and political reforms that changed the emotional and ideological outlook of Russian culture. The chapter primarily focuses on Tolstoy’s epic novel War and Peace within its actual literary and ideological contexts, including fierce contemporary debates on the most pressing issues of the 1860s, unleashed in powerful, tendentious “thick” journals. To paraphrase Tolstoy’s final sentence of the novel, the epistemological value of seeing Tolstoy in conversation with his contemporaries (Turgenev, Chernyshevsky, Dostoevsky, Leskov, Saltykov-Shchedrin, Grigoriev, Dmitry Pisarev, Surikov, Musorgsky, etc.) lies both in the renunciation of vision of his “unreal immobility in space” (generally taken for granted) and concurrently in the recognition of his dependence on other writers and literary contexts “of which we are unaware.” Gulliver is determined by his bonds.
The chapter outlines the impact of romantic philhellenic and Slavophile thought on the emerging grand narratives in southeastern Europe. Its focus is the formative phase in the national historiographical canons of Greece, Bulgaria, Serbia and Romania during the nineteenth century and the interpretations of Byzantium intrinsic to these narratives. The Greek historiography devoured the empire and its cultural heritage wholesale, turning it into an integral part of national continuity and assimilating the canonical (and teleological) European division of history into classical, medieval and modern periods. For the Bulgarians, Byzantium, which they equated with contemporary Greeks, featured as the main adversary in confrontation with whom the Bulgarian national state and identity crystallised and were sustained. The Serbian historians foregrounded the significance of the medieval empire of Stefan Dušan as an actual heir and improved version of the Eastern Roman empire. Romania, the latecomer on the medieval political scene, reconfirmed its claims to represent the Latin West in the (post-)Byzantine East.
The first detailed treatment of Switzerland in British literature and culture from Joseph Addison to John Ruskin, this book analyzes the aesthetic and political uses of what is commonly called the 'Swiss myth' in the parallel development of Romanticism and liberalism. The myth merged the country's legends going back to the Middle Ages with the Enlightenment image of a happy, free nation of alpine shepherds. Its unique combination of conservative, progressive, and radical associations enabled writers before the French Revolution to call for democratic reforms, whereas those coming after could refigure it as a conservative alternative to French liberté. Integrating intellectual history with literary studies, and addressing a wide range of Romantic-period texts and authors, among them Byron, the Shelleys, Hemans, Scott, Coleridge, and, above all, Wordsworth, the book argues that the myth contributed to the liberal idea of the people as a sublime yet sleeping sovereign.
A network of Enlightenment-era intellectuals debated processes still with us, such as industrialization. The endurance of their ideas reflects their status as mostly privileged white European men. They debated the big questions. Some saw socio-environmental relationships as subject to natural laws. Malthus and Liangji argued that human populations will outstrip food supplies, Ricardo that population growth will increase land rents, and Jevons that efficiency will increase natural resource use. Marx favored historical explanations, considering food poverty and soil degradation to be alterable and functions of linked social and environmental systems. Romanticism vied with materialism. Von Humboldt glorified nature as being in harmony which humans could disrupt. His voyages inspired Darwin, who viewed nature as instead emerging from Malthusian logic, with organisms evolving in conflict over resources. Though inspired by Humboldt, Marsh rejected a view of nature as all-powerful given the environmental destruction he documented. Ultimately, these authors debated whether a better world is possible, a topic still timely as climate change, extinction, and disease threaten us.
The intellectual excitement of nineteenth-century Germany was reflected by the Romantic and Existential movements, although both had international aspects as well. Both movements were to some extent reactions against the dominant idealism of rationalism, coming primarily from Kant’s views on the active mind, constructing reality. Fichte, von Schelling, and Hegel explored the implication of Kant’s philosophy, with Hegel coming to dominate the age. Romanticism found its roots in Jean-Jacques Rousseau, and exerted tremendous influence in art, literature as well as philosophy, particularly in the first half of the nineteenth century. Recognizing the complexities of human experience, particularly in the dimensions of emotions, passions and desires, romanticism explored those aspects not readily explained by rational, intellectual processes. Existentialism was a direct reaction against rationalism and found initial expression in the nineteenth century by Kierkegaard, in Theology, and Dilthey, in psychology. Further, the Kantian notions of the strivings of the will and the unconscious were explored more fully by Schopenhauer and von Hartmann.
The chapter analyses Faust‘s work, situating their sound within the diverse Krautrock trend and outlining their history to explain their political and artistic aims as a German music group. Faust‘s music celebrates a disruptive, avant-garde approach to rock music, influenced by dada and fluxus artists to create musical cut-ups and sound collages that blur the difference between noise and music. This methodology positions the band outside the structures of civilization, as per the framework of the Romantic hero, and reflects their conflicted disruption of German identity through the coincident political, phenomenological, and spiritual anxieties present in their music, lyrics, and performances. Faust‘s experimentation and aesthetics have influenced the ways noise has been incorporated into popular music, anticipating the development of industrial music.
This chapter establishes the core concept of ‘Romantic surgery’ by exploring the distinctive emotional, intellectual, and performative dimensions of late eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century British surgery. It opens by considering how, building on the legacy of John Hunter, Romantic surgeons constructed their practice as ‘scientific’, grounded in the study of anatomy and physiology. This allegedly more scientific approach to surgery encouraged greater operative restraint, but so too did the emotional regime of Romantic sensibility, which valorised the feelings of the patient and stressed the need to temper personal ambition with emotional sensitivity. This had profound implications for the performance of surgery, as surgeons were encouraged to eschew operative bravura in favour of a more considered deportment. As this chapter demonstrates, such emotional considerations also extended to the spectacle of surgery, as surgeons were expected to manage not only their patients and themselves, but also their audience. The performative persona of the Romantic surgeon was not without ambiguities, however, and this chapter therefore concludes with a study of perhaps the era’s most contested figure, Robert Liston.
This chapter explores the beginning of the end of the emotional regime of Romantic sensibility and the origins of surgical scientific modernity. It illuminates this crucial period of transition through the juxtaposition of two distinct but conceptually and ideologically intertwined moments in surgical history. These are, firstly, the debates surrounding the practice of anatomical dissection that came to the fore in the 1820s and culminated in the passage of the Anatomy Act in 1832, and, secondly, the introduction and early use of inhalation anaesthesia in the later 1840s. In both instances it highlights the powerful influence of utilitarian thought in divesting the body, both as object and subject, of emotional meaning and agency. In the former instance it demonstrates how an ultra-rationalist understanding of sentiment was set in opposition to popular ‘sentimentalism’ in order to divest the dead bodies of the poor of emotional value. Meanwhile, in the latter, it considers how the emotional subjectivity of the newly anaesthetised patient was swiftly tamed by the operations of a techno-scientific rationale.
What can the emotions add to our understanding of the history of surgery? Opening with George Wilson’s account of the amputation of his foot in 1842, this Introduction suggests that ‘the black whirlwind of emotion’ that defined his experience of pre-anaesthetic operative surgery should prompt us to take the place of emotions in surgery seriously. It provides a brief account of the argument advanced by the book, the historiographical context in which it is situated, the theoretical framework it employs, the chronological and conceptual parameters that determine its focus, and the rich body of source material on which it draws. It also provides an overview of the chapters that follow in terms of content and argument. Overall, it establishes how Emotions and Surgery charts the changing place of emotions within British surgery across the long nineteenth century, from an emotional regime of Romantic sensibility to one of scientific modernity, demonstrating the ways in which emotions shaped surgeons’ and patients’ experiences and identities.
This chapter uses a close reading of The Lancet medical journal, and its radical, charismatic editor Thomas Wakley, to delineate the ‘high-water mark’ of Romantic sensibility as an emotional regime. It explores the ways in which Wakley and The Lancet leveraged the emotional politics of contemporary melodrama to critique the alleged nepotism and corruption of the London surgical elites. More especially, it analyses their campaign to expose instances of surgical incompetence at the city’s leading teaching hospitals, demonstrating the ways in which this strategy weaponised the emotions of anger, pity, and sympathy, and considering its implications for the cultural norms of an inchoate profession and for the ultimate stability of the emotional regime of Romantic sensibility.
This chapter considers the emotional interiorities and intersubjectivities of Romantic surgery. It challenges the well-established stereotype of the pre-anaesthetic surgeon as dispassionate butcher by demonstrating the ways in which surgical identities and subjectivities were shaped by a culture of emotional expression and reflection. The emotional ‘authenticity’ of pre-anaesthetic surgery was rooted in the embodied experience of operative practice, and the huge challenges that came from dealing with death, disease, and disfigurement on a daily basis. But as well as encouraging emotional introspection, the experience of pre-anaesthetic surgery also demanded that the surgeon manage his patients’ emotions. After all, in this period, fear, despondency, and other states of mind were regarded as an immediate cause of death. For this reason, surgeons needed to monitor their patients’ moods and imagine themselves into their position in order to regulate their own conduct and promote optimal operative outcomes. These relations between surgeons and patients were structured by a range of factors, notably gender. For that reason, this chapter concludes with a consideration of Romantic surgical intersubjectivity in practice, utilising Astley Cooper’s casebooks to explore the ‘emotion work’ of womanhood in the elaboration and understanding of breast cancer.
This chapter considers Romantic surgery from the patient’s perspective. It uses Astley Cooper’s rich archive of personal correspondence to explore the complex emotions associated with the experience of surgical illness and its treatment, as well as the ways in which emotional expression functioned as a form of agency within the private surgical relationship. In addition to considering private patients, this chapter also examines how emotions expressed and mediated agency within what, following Michel Foucault, we might consider the ‘disciplinary’ space of the hospital. The pre-anaesthetic surgical patient was a deeply unstable and ‘messy’ ontological entity whose pre-operative health and post-operative recovery were determined by a complex melding of constitutional, nervous, and emotional factors. Thus, as this chapter demonstrates, the patient’s own body could exert an unconscious material agency, often frustrating both surgical intervention and the patient’s own will, something that was most evident in the associations between irritability and obstreperousness that characterised contemporary discourses on amputation and its discontents.
This book revives a contested moment in the history of aesthetic theory when Romantic-period writers exploit the growing awareness of irresolutions in Kant’s third Kritik, especially in his critique of judgements of the sublime. Read with hindsight, these openings can be seen to have generated literary opportunities for writings that explicitly embraced the philosophical significance delegated to the aesthetic by Kant, but then took advantage of the licence he had conceded. Romantic writing claimed a wider significance of its own that philosophy now had to learn to rationalise. Consequent aesthetic reorientations, in which splendours and miseries become interchangeable, reflect political instabilities already exploited by feminist and nationalist writing. Falling becomes a kind of rising, and literature’s unregulated power of metamorphosis persuasively challenges hierarchies of all kinds, including its own.
Exploring the experiments in individual and national self-consciousness conducted during the Romantic period, this essential comparative study of European literature, philosophy and politics makes original and often surprising connections and contrasts to reveal how personal and social identities were re-orientated and disorientated from the French Revolution onwards. Reviving a contested moment in the history of aesthetic theory, this study shows how the growing awareness of irresolution in Kant's third Kritik allowed Romantic writers to put the aesthetic to radical uses not envisaged by its parent philosophy. It also recounts how they would go on to force philosophy to revise received notions of authority, empowering women and subordinated ethnic groups to re-orientate existing hierarchies. The sheer range and variety of writers covered is testament both to the breadth of writing that Kant's philosophy so rashly legitimated and to the wider importance of philosophy to the understanding of Romantic literature.
New resources have led to new insights into the history of English vocabulary. The appearance of machine-readable corpora has made it possible to contextualise particular idiolectal usages much more comprehensively than was possible until recently. Such developments have allowed, through the harnessing of the large bodies of data to be found in the Oxford English Dictionary and other resources, a much better understanding of intertextual engagement: what might be called authorial invention, the focus of this chapter. The chapter focuses on authorial invention during the Romantic period, with reference to three writers whose imaginative outputs drew profoundly on their understanding of medicine: Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772–1834), Mary Shelley (1797–1851), and John Keats (1795–1821). As Richard Holmes has argued, Romanticism drew profoundly on its scientific inheritance, in the cases analysed here derived from direct or indirect encounters with thinkers such as Thomas Beddoes (1760–1808), Astley Cooper (1768–1841), William Cullen (1710–1790), and Erasmus Darwin (1731–1802). However, they transformed this inheritance through what Holmes terms ‘imaginative intensity’.