The Triumph of Imperfection: The Silver Age of Sociocultural Moderation in Europe, 1815-1848

Overview

In this sequel to his Harry Levin Prize-winning The Taming of Romanticism, Virgil Nemoianu expands his survey of the intellectual and literary movement that swept Europe in the early and middle decades of the nineteenth century to include rarely studied paraliterary texts in historiography, travel writing, and religious exposition. With The Triumph of Imperfection, Nemoianu traverses literary terrain beyond the canon to gauge the impact of late romanticism's moderate tone on the upheaval, revolution, and ...
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1570035938 New book with publisher's mark on edge. We are a tested and proven company with over 900,000 satisfied customers since 1997. We ship daily M-F. Choose expedited ... shipping (if available) for much faster delivery. Delivery confirmation on all US orders. Read more Show Less

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Overview

In this sequel to his Harry Levin Prize-winning The Taming of Romanticism, Virgil Nemoianu expands his survey of the intellectual and literary movement that swept Europe in the early and middle decades of the nineteenth century to include rarely studied paraliterary texts in historiography, travel writing, and religious exposition. With The Triumph of Imperfection, Nemoianu traverses literary terrain beyond the canon to gauge the impact of late romanticism's moderate tone on the upheaval, revolution, and agitation associated with the advent of the modern era. He suggests that writers and scholars of the period 1815–1848 wielded tools of discourse in such a way as to integrate the new ideals of modernity peacefully and calmly into the normal evolution of society.

Subverting the conventional approach to romanticism, Nemoianu argues for a balance between works composed in Western and Central Europe. From this fresh starting point, he analyzes texts from authors both remembered and forgotten, including Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Francois Auguste-Renoir de Chateaubriand, and Robert Southey. He considers their approach to educational techniques, the aesthetics of religion, and the interplay of history writing with fiction and contends that, in dealing with the radical changes of their day, thinkers, writers, statesmen, and reformers of the period sought a practical accommodation between the avalanche of revolutionary ideas and the intellectual history that had shaped the past millennia. Nemoianu suggests that at the center of this reconciliation was an acceptance of the notion of imperfection, of partial victories, and of a deliberate search for moderation and balance.

Sure to spark scholarly debate, Nemoianu underscores the value and relevance of the moderating influences he finds in romanticism for the intellectual and social questions facing the current century.

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Editorial Reviews

Marshall Brown
"The Triumph of Imperfection reclaims a remarkable range of unconventional writings from historians, religious thinkers, travel writers and those who defy classification. Nemoianu shows us that, despite the evident intensities of high Romanticism's genius figures and political fanaticisms, the real tenor of the age was carried by a mass of lesser individuals and widespread literary forms and trends that diffused and moderated the conflicts of the era."
author of The Gothic Text and Preromanticism
Theodore Ziolkowski
"Awesome in intellectual breadth, profound in cultural ideas, and genuinely comparative in linguistic scope, The Triumph of Imperfection is a real triumph-a stunning complement to Nemoianu's earlier The Taming of Romanticism. Looking beyond the literature of 1815-1848, the author here shows how the implosion of romanticism in Europe and America manifested itself in historiography, religious thought, travel writing, multiculturalism, and the 'ethos of learning,' while exposing provocative parallels to many issues of our own times."
author of German Romanticism and its Institutions and Ovid and the Moderns
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781570035937
  • Publisher: University of South Carolina Press
  • Publication date: 12/28/2005
  • Pages: 256
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Table of Contents

1 The absent center of romantic prose : Chateaubriand and his peers 3
2 Absorbing modernization : the dilemmas of progress in Goethe's Faust II 37
3 From Goethe to Guizot : the conservative contexts of Goethe's Wilhelm Meisters Wanderjahre 53
4 From historical narrative to fiction and back : a dialectical game 64
5 J. F. Cooper and Eastern European and African American intellectuals : borders and depths of multiculturalism 85
6 Sacrality and aesthetics in the early nineteenth century : a network approach 111
7 The informative narration : from cultural packaging to psychological geography 135
8 Learning over class : the case of the Central-European ethos 175
9 National poets in the romantic age : emergence and importance 203
10 The conservatism of voracious reading : the case of Robert Southey's The doctor 212
11 Romanticism : beginnings, explosion, epidemic 231
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