Anonymous Life: Romanticism and Dispossession

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Stanford University Press, Oct 16, 2008 - Literary Criticism - 248 pages
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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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Contents

Rien Faire Comme une BÍte Of Anonymity and Obligation
1
Disinterested Agency in Hazlitt and Keats
25
Tracking the Anonymous in Godwins Caleb Williams
67
The Ends of Sympathy
97
Feminine Melancholy and Skeptical Dispossession
133
Romanticism and the Negative
173
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About the author (2008)

Jacques Khalip is Associate Professor of English and Modern Culture and Media at Brown University.

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