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Gothic Romance

English Romantic Irony by Anne K. Mellor

By Anne K. Mellor

Anne Mellor the following bargains the conceptual framework for a greater figuring out of the Romantic writers. Her penetrating learn yields new interpretations of Byron, Keats, Carlyle, and Coleridge. The Romantics were obvious as expressing a secularized model of a divinely ordered universe. Mellor emphasizes one other pressure in Romanicism, one associated with the philosophical skepticism and social turbulence of the age: a notion of the universe as random movement, as a fertile chaos that often throws up new varieties.

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For Kant, this contradiction demonstrated the invalidity of pure reason's attempt to ascertain any truth about the noumenon. It is crucial to see here that Kant has accepted the Aristotelian principle of identity and contradiction (p = p; p # not-p) as not only a principle of thought or structural category determining the way the human mind functions but also a constitutive principle of reality or the noumenon itself. He has further assumed that the category of causality applies not only to the unending causal series of the phenomenal world but to the constitutive relationship between the noumenal and the phenomenal world (that is, the noumenal world, the thing in itself, causes our perceptions of it).

Cain thereby experiences to the full the contradictions of the human condition. Again like Manfred, Cain can understand those contradictions, the inevitable limitations of the human body and mind, only as a curse. Not even the companionship of his innocent child Enoch or the beauty of his beloved Adah can reconcile him to his existence. Fixated upon the limits of the self, Cain remains the archetypal murderer, the man who denies future possibilities and thus kills life. 16 Cain, then, is the pure ironist, for whom selfconsciousness is only a melancholy conviction of loss and death.

54 But Schiller's subsequent study of the sublime persuaded him that such a gratifying psychological reconciliation of the compulsions of duty (of reason and morality) and the compulsions of nature (of bodily needs and desires) through play occurs at the expense of rational truth. As Schiller acknowledged in On the Sublime (c. " The experience of freedom aroused by the aesthetic contemplation of beauty is therefore limited or naive and must historically give way to man's conscious and willed struggle to transcend his sensuous nature and physical limitations by becoming pure spirit or form.

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