'This book carves out a distinctive and important space in the border-zone between philosophy, literary theory, and cultural history.' Christopher Norris, Distinguished Research Professor in Philosophy, Cardiff University 'Swift's remarkable [book] stands out as a highly theoretical study in at least two respects: its engagement with figures who defined theory before the advent of the New Historicism and its forceful re-reading of texts by Kant and Rousseau that fostered deconstruction ...Swift's study is a major intervention in what might be described either as postdeconstructive philosophical criticism or theoretically advanced intellectual history.' Margaret Russett, Studies in English Literature 1500--1900 Romanticism, Literature and Philosophy proposes a radical re-visioning of Romantic literature by developing a new insight into its philosophical importance. It challenges both a number of recent attacks on philosophical reason, and new historicist readings of Romanticism, by arguing that they fundamentally misinterpret what reason is in strikingly similar ways.Engaging with the philosophical, political and literary writings of Rousseau, Kant and Mary Wollstonecraft, and with the deconstruction of Paul de Man and Gayatri Spivak, it suggests that postmodernism's recent assault on Enlightenment universalism, and on aesthetic autonomy, in the name of particularity and heterogeneity underestimates the capacity of reason to orient itself towards forms of anthropological and literary difference.
Simon Swift is Lecturer in Critical and Cultural Theory at the School of English, University of Leeds, UK. He is author of Hannah Arendt (Routledge, 2008).
Simon Swift is Lecturer in Critical and Cultural Theory at the School of English, University of Leeds, UK.
Acknowledgements; List of Abbreviations; Introduction: Kant, Romanticism and the Ethics of Thinking; Part I: Foregrounding Philosophical Anthropology; 1 Stating the Case: Rousseau, Kant, Wollstonecraft; 2 Reflective Judgement as Symbolic Cognition; Part II: Reason in Theory; 3 Kant, Herder, Gayatri Spivak and the Question of Philosophical Anthropology; 4 Paul de Man and the Rhetoric of Contemporary Criticism; 5 Mary Wollstonecraft and the 'Reserve of Reason' Conclusion; Notes; Bibliography; Index.