Romanticism is notoriously hard to define. There are, indeed, those who believe that a concept which has by now been projected through so many perspectives has become so miasmic in the process that the very term should be dropped from the critical vocabulary. This volume demonstrates its continuing importance as a necessary point of focus.
In Questioning Romanticism, John Beer assembles eleven original essays which consider various aspects of contemporary critical practice and Romantic literature. While providing a coherent reconstruction of Romantic literary theory, the collection offers a diverse and expansive sense of Romanticism's concerns -- addressing topics such as mimesis, phenomenology, gender, language, metaphor and aesthetics. The contributors are Martin Aske, John Beer, Drummond Bone, Frederick Burwick, A. C. Goodson, Nigel Leask, Philip Martin, Anne Mellor, Lucy Newlyn, Tilottama Rajan, and Susan Wolfson.
"Questioning Romanticism is a very strong and important collection of essays by scholars of international reputation. They are focused on the attempt to rethink the philosophical, aesthetic, linguistic, and social grounds of Romantic theory. Rather than seeking to present Romanticism as a unified school of thought, the essays in this collection suggest that the Romantic desire to achieve a unified theory of life and literature must be read against an equally strong assertion of questioning, irony, and uncertainty. By drawing on the differing views of a wide range contemporary Romantic theorists (feminism, language theory, hermeneutics, reader-response, formalism, phenomenology, aesthetics), the collection provides a comprehensive, yet diverse focus on the broad-ranging concerns that shaped how Romantic writers theorized their writing. It is unique in its primary focus on reconstructing the historical complexities, the productive uncertainties, and the shifting ground of Romantic theory." -- Alan Bewell, University of Toronto