Anonymous Life: Romanticism and Dispossession
Romanticism is often synonymous with models of identity and action that privilege individual empowerment and emotional autonomy. In the last two decades, these models have been the focus of critiques of Romanticism's purported self-absorption and alienation from politics. While such critiques have proven useful, they often draw attention to the conceptual or material tensions of romantic subjectivity while accepting a conspicuous, autonomous subject as a given, thus failing to appreciate the possibility that Romanticism sustains an alternative model of being, one anonymous and dispossessed, one whose authority is irreducible to that of an easily recognizable, psychologized persona. In Anonymous Life, Khalip goes against the grain of these dominant critical stances by examining anonymity as a model of being that is provocative for writers of the era because it resists the Enlightenment emphasis on transparency and self-disclosure. He explores how romantic subjectivity, even as it negotiates with others in the social sphere, frequently rejects the demands of self-assertion and fails to prove its authenticity and coherence.
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action Adorno aesthetic agency Anne Anne’s anonymous Austen Blakey Vermeule Burke Caleb Williams Cambridge University Press Cavell character conceive consciousness critical critique cultural defines Demogorgon disinterested dispossession effects eighteenth-century emotional Enlightenment Essay ethical evokes experience feelings female feminine fiction figure future gender Giorgio Agamben Godwin’s Hazlitt Historicism human Hume Hume’s identification identity imagination impersonal interest Jane Austen Jean-Luc Nancy Jerome McGann John Keats Keats Keats’s Keatsian kind language literary lyric Man’s Mary Mary Shelley’s Matilda melancholy mind Moneta moral narrative negative nothingness notion novel Ode on Indolence one’s Oxford philosophical poem poet poet’s poetic poetry political present radical reading reflection relation remarks romantic Romanticism Rousseau self’s selfhood sense sentiments Shelley Shelley’s skepticism Slavoj ŽiŽek Smith social Stanford University Press Stanley Cavell sublime suggests sympathetic sympathy temporal Theodor Adorno Theory things thought Tilottama tion trans Wollstonecraft words Wordsworth writing York