Exorbitant Enlightenment: Blake, Hamann, and Anglo-German Constellations
Exorbitant Enlightenment: Blake, Hamann, and Anglo-German Constellations

Exorbitant Enlightenment: Blake, Hamann, and Anglo-German Constellations

by Alexander Regier

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Exorbitant Enlightenment compels us to see eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century literature and culture in new ways. This book reveals a constellation of groundbreaking pre-1790s Anglo-German relations, many of which are so radical âso exorbitantâ that they ask us to fundamentally rethink the ways we grasp literary and intellectual history, especially when it comes to Enlightenment and Romanticism.

Regier presents two of the great, untold stories of the eighteenth century. The first story uncovers a forgotten Anglo-German network of thought and writing in Britain between 1700 and 1790. From this Anglo-German context emerges the second story: about a group of idiosyncratic figures and institutions, including the Moravians in 1750s London, Henry Fuseli, and Johann Caspar Lavater, as well as the two most exorbitant figures, William Blake and Johann Georg Hamann. The bookâs eight chapters show how these authors and institutions shake up common understandings of British literary and European intellectual history and offer a very different, much more counter-intuitive view of the period. Through their distinctive conceptions of language, Blake and Hamann articulate âin different yet deeply related waysâ a radical critique of instrumental thought and institutional religion. They also argue for the irreducible relation between language and the sexual body. In each case, they push against some of the most central cultural and philosophical assumptions, then and now. The book argues that, when taken seriously, these exorbitant figures allow us to uncover and revise some of our own critical orthodoxies.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780198827122
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Publication date: 02/06/2019
Pages: 272
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Alexander Regier is Associate Professor of English at Rice University and editor of the scholarly journal SEL Studies in English Literature 1500-1900. He is the author of Fracture and Fragmentation in British Romanticism (Cambridge University Press, 2010), the co-editor of Wordsworth's Poetic Theory: Knowledge, Language, Experience (Palgrave, 2010), and has edited special journal issues on "Mobilities" and "Genealogies". Dr Regier has published widely on William Blake, Johann Georg Hamann, William Wordsworth, Walter Benjamin, ruins, contemporary poetry, and the aesthetics of sport. He has been the recipient of numerous awards, including an Alexander von Humboldt Fellowship for Experienced Researchers.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Troubling Enlightenment
1. Unexpected Anglo-German Connections in Pre-1790s Britain
2. Blake and Hamann: Exorbitants
3. Crossing Channels: Fuseli, Hamann, and Lavater
4. Blake and Hamann: Poetry as Mother Tongue and the Fight against Instrumental Reason
5. The Polyglot Moravians in Eighteenth-Century London
6. A Critique of Habit: Blake and Hamann on Religion, Matrimony, and Pedagogy
7. Hybrid Hymns: Anglo-German Voices in Blake's Songs
8. Every Letter Has a Body: Blake and Hamann on the Sexuality of Language

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