These challenging essays defend Romanticism against its critics. They argue that Romantic thought, interpreted as the pursuit of freedom in concrete contexts, remains a central and exemplary form of both artistic work and philosophical understanding. Richard Eldridge traces the central features of Romantic thinking and shows that Romanticism is neither emptily literary and escapist nor dogmatically optimistic and sentimental. The first serious philosophical defense of the ethical ideals of Romanticism, this volume will appeal particularly to all professionals and students in philosophy, literature and aesthetics.
"What is impressive about Eldrige's work is that he is able to keep an eye on the important literary legacy of Romanticism without failing to provide sharp analysis of the central philosophical commitments that shaped early German Romantic philosophy, for example, anti-foundationalism and mediality." Philosophy Today, Elizabeth MilliÂn-Zaibert
1. Introduction: the persistence of Romanticism; Part I. Kant and Post-Kantian Romanticism: 2. Kant, Hölderlin, and the experience of longing; 3. Kant and the value of absolute music; 4. How is the Kantian moral criticism of literature possible?; 5. Hölderlin's ethical thinking: 'the processes of the actual' in 'Heidelberg'; 6. Internal transcendentalism: Wordsworth and 'a new condition of philosophy'; Part II. Twentieth Century Philosophical Romanticisms: Wittgenstein, Cavell and the arts: 7. Hypotheses, criterial claims, and perspicuous representations: Wittgenstein's 'remarks on Frazer's The Golden Bough'; 8. How can tragedy matter for us?; 9. Althusser and ideological criticism of the arts; 10. 'A continuing task': Cavell and the truth of skepticism; 11. Plights of embodied soul: dramas of sin and salvation in Augustine and Updike; 12. Cavell and Hölderlin on human immigrancy.