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Idleness and Aesthetic Consciousness, 1815–1900

$105.00 (C)

Part of Cambridge Studies in Nineteenth-Century Literature and Culture

  • Date Published: September 2018
  • availability: In stock
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781108424134

$ 105.00 (C)
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  • Charting the failure of the Romantic critique of political economy, Richard Adelman explores the changing significances and the developing concepts of idleness and aesthetic consciousness during the nineteenth century. Through careful analysis of some of the period's most influential thinkers, including John Stuart Mill, George Eliot, John Ruskin and Karl Marx, Adelman weaves together evolving ideas across a range of intellectual discourses - political economy, meditative poetry, the ideology of the 'gospel of work', cultural theory, the Gothic and psychoanalysis. In doing so, he reconstructs debates over passivity and repose and demonstrates their centrality to the cultural politics of the age. Arguing that hardened conceptions of aesthetic consciousness come into being at moments of civic unrest concerning political representation and that the fin-de-siècle witnesses the demonization of the once revolutionary category of aesthetic consciousness, the book demonstrates that late eighteenth-century positivity around human spirituality is comprehensively dismantled by the beginning of the twentieth century.

    • Traces changing perceptions of idleness and aesthetic consciousness across a wide range of intellectual discourses
    • Draws on a wide range of the nineteenth century's most influential thinkers, including John Stuart Mill, George Eliot, John Ruskin and Karl Marx
    • Reconstructs debates over passivity and repose and their influence on cultural politics between 1815 and 1900
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    Product details

    • Date Published: September 2018
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781108424134
    • length: 248 pages
    • dimensions: 235 x 158 x 16 mm
    • weight: 0.54kg
    • availability: In stock
  • Table of Contents

    Acknowledgements
    Abbreviations
    1. Idleness, moral consciousness and sociability
    2. Political economy and the logic of idleness
    3. The 'gospel of work'
    4. Cultural theory and aesthetic failure
    5. The Gothicization of idleness
    Epilogue: substitutive satisfaction
    Notes
    Bibliography.

  • Author

    Richard Adelman, University of Sussex
    Richard Adelman is Senior Lecturer in English at the University of Sussex. His previously published work includes Idleness, Contemplation and the Aesthetic, 1750-1830 (Cambridge, 2011), Political Economy, Literature and the Formation of Knowledge (2018; edited with Catherine Packham), as well as numerous essays on figures including Dante Rossetti, John Ruskin, William Wordsworth, Percy Shelley, John Keats and J. M. Coetzee.

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