Imagination under Pressure, 1789-1832: Aesthetics, Politics and Utility

Overview

This ambitious study offers a radical reassessment of one of the most important concepts of the Romantic period—the imagination. In contrast to traditional accounts, John Whale locates the Romantic imagination within the period's lively and often antagonistic polemics on aesthetics and politics, focusing in particular on British responses to the French Revolution and the ideology of utilitarianism. Through detailed analysis of key texts by Burke, Paine, Wollstonecraft, Bentham, Hazlitt, Cobbett and Coleridge, ...

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Overview

This ambitious study offers a radical reassessment of one of the most important concepts of the Romantic period—the imagination. In contrast to traditional accounts, John Whale locates the Romantic imagination within the period's lively and often antagonistic polemics on aesthetics and politics, focusing in particular on British responses to the French Revolution and the ideology of utilitarianism. Through detailed analysis of key texts by Burke, Paine, Wollstonecraft, Bentham, Hazlitt, Cobbett and Coleridge, this book seeks to restore the role of imagination as a more positive force within cultural critique.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Imagination Under Pressure is a great rejoinder to such difficulties in discussing the imagination" Eighteenth-Century Life

"elegantly-writeen and lucid" The Wordsworth Circle

Pratt
An ambitious and engaging study...Imagination under Pressure draws attention to not just the multifaceted nature of cultural production in the Romantic period and to the vitality and variousness of current critical debates...In connecting politics and aesthetics, the ambiguities of the past with the anxieties of the present, it both participates in the ongoing renegotiation and reformulation of what was once called British Romanticism and manages to take this process one step further.
Times Literary Supplement
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Product Details

Table of Contents

Introduction; 1. Burke and the civic imagination; 2. Paine's attack on artifice; 3. Wollstonecraft, imagination and futurity; 4. Hazlitt and the sympathetic imagination; 5. Cobbett's imaginary landscape; 6. Coleridge and the afterlife of imagination; Afterword.

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