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Knowledge and Indifference in English Romantic Prose

£23.99

Part of Cambridge Studies in Romanticism

  • Date Published: May 2007
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521035958

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  • This 2003 study sheds light on the way in which the English Romantics dealt with the basic problems of knowledge, particularly as they inherited them from the philosopher David Hume. Kant complained that the failure of philosophy in the eighteenth century to answer empirical scepticism had produced a culture of 'indifferentism'. Tim Milnes explores the way in which Romantic writers extended this epistemic indifference through their resistance to argumentation, and finds that it exists in a perpetual state of tension with a compulsion to know. This tension is most clearly evident in the prose writing of the period, in works such as Wordsworth's Preface to Lyrical Ballads, Hazlitt's Essay on the Principles of Human Action and Coleridge's Biographia Literaria. Milnes argues that it is in their oscillation between knowledge and indifference that the Romantics prefigure the ambivalent negotiations of modern post-analytic philosophy.

    • Covers important Romantic writers, including Wordsworth, Hazlitt and Coleridge
    • Sheds light on the philosophical tensions underlying Romanticism's relation to knowledge
    • Will be of interest to philosophical historians as well as literary scholars
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'Milnes illuminates the relationship between Romantic philosophy and literature; in doing so, he affords new insights into contemporary approaches to cross-disciplinary criticism.' BARS Bulletin & Review

    'Milnes produces a very informed and erudite consideration … a very deep and at times taxing though rewarding study … the reader is rewarded by graceful turns of phrase that convey rich insight and understanding of the very constructs of knowledge.' European Romantic Review

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    Product details

    • Date Published: May 2007
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521035958
    • length: 292 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 17 mm
    • weight: 0.43kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Acknowledgments
    Introduction
    Romanticism's knowing ways
    1. From artistic to epistemic creation: the eighteenth century
    2. The charm of logic: Wordsworth's prose
    3. The dry romance: Hazlitt's immanent idealism
    4. Coleridge and the new foundationalism
    5. The end of knowledge: Coleridge and theosophy
    Conclusion: life without knowledge
    Notes
    Bibliography
    Index.

  • Author

    Tim Milnes, University of Edinburgh
    Tim Milnes is Senior Lecturer in English Literature at the University of Edinburgh. From 1998 to 2001 he was British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow at University College, Oxford. He has published articles on Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Jeremy Bentham, William Hazlitt, Percy Bysshe Shelley, William Wordsworth and Charles Lamb, and is the author of William Wordsworth: The Prelude (Palgrave, 2009) and The Truth about Romanticism: Pragmatism and Idealism in Keats, Shelley, Coleridge (Cambridge University Press, 2010). He is also the co-editor, with Kerry Sinanan, of Romanticism, Sincerity, and Authenticity (Palgrave, 2010) and is a consulting editor for the journal Hazlitt Studies.

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