Romantic Poetologies: Collaboration and Interdisciplinarity in early Anglo-German Romanticism
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This thesis reads seminal texts such as Wordsworth’s prose, Lyrical Ballads, The Prelude, and The Excursion alongside Coleridge’s poetic theory and practice and Novalis, Tieck and Friedrich Schlegel’s philosophical novels and fragments, as ‘poetologies’. My initial research aim is to test how successfully Wordsworth can be read as part of this Anglo-German comparative framework, from which criticism has tended to exclude him. This is done through demonstrating the centrality of irony and drama to the philosophical character of Wordsworth’s poetry. Drawing on the theory of the Frühromantiker, I demonstrate that Wordsworth’s revisionary habit and his use of ballads and epitaphs shape a poetics constantly ‘in the process of becoming’ (F. Schlegel), the vehicle of the poet’s aspirations to dramatize a potentially infinite self-consciousness. Secondly, my thesis investigates the ways of reading these seminal texts which give us a clearer idea of how Romantic writers internally situate their own work through their use of contrasting genres. This investigation expands to examine how the collaborative, interdisciplinary ventures proposed by Romantic writers elaborate the concept of ‘poetology’ as a practicable theory. This leads to my final research aim: to make apparent that these methodologies result in the Mischgedicht, the ‘mixed poem’ which Schlegel theorizes as the ultimate incarnation of modern, ‘Romantic’ literature. The thesis concludes by drawing theories, methodologies and texts together and making sense of that ultimate continuity sought by the Romantic project. I do this by turning to the poetologizing of immortality (which supersedes death as a Romantic preoccupation) and arguing that to poetologize immortality – to poeticize and philosophize it simultaneously – is the test-case for producing the infinite from the finite. I suggest the necessity felt by Romantic writers to achieve this transformation in order to legitimate the permeable philosophical poetry and poetic philosophy – ‘poetologies’ – which made it possible.
- Theses