Cover

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Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. iii-v

Contents

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p. vii

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Acknowledgments

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p. xi

It is a pleasure to acknowledge those who have read parts, or the whole, of this book over the years. I am especially grateful to Jerry Bruns, Greg Kucich, Al Neiman, Steve Watson, Ewa Ziarek, and Krzysztof Ziarek, who guided this project in its earliest stages at Notre Dame. Andy Auge, Chris Fox, Steve Fredman, Aaron Halstead, Dan Hoolsema, John Matthias, and Jay Walton offered encouragement, support, and...

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1. Setting Out: Toward Irony, the Fragment, and the Fragmentary Work

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pp. 1-27

The purpose of this book is to inquire into a conception of poetry that emerges with special clarity and force during the second half of the eighteenth century. This conception comes into particularly clear view in the 1790s in both German literary theory and English literary practice, although such a distinction between theory and practice is problematic as romantic theory is very much informed by early...

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2. Rethinking Romantic Poetry: Schlegel, the Genre of Dialogue, and the Poetics of the Fragment

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pp. 28-56

Philippe Lacoue-Labarthe and Jean-Luc Nancy open The Literary Absolute with an important observation concerning a watershed moment in the history of Western culture: “romanticism implies something entirely new, the production of something entirely new. The romantics never really succeed in naming this something: they speak of poetry, of the work, of the novel, or . . . of romanticism. In the end,...

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3. Nothing so Difficult as a Beginning: Byron’s Pilgrimage to the Origin of the Work of Art and the Inspiration of Exile

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pp. 57-104

In 1834, a decade after Byron’s death at Missolonghi in Greece, writer and civil servant Henry Taylor offered his assessment of the poet: “Had [Byron] united a philosophical intellect to his peculiarly poetical temperament, he would probably have been the greatest poet of his age.”¹ For much of the twentieth-century, critics have agreed, dismissing Byron’s obsession with the ironic negativity of poetic experience as the...

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4. Narrative and Its Discontents; or,The Novel as Fragmentary Work: Joyce at the Limits of Romantic Poetry

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pp. 105-150

Of all the works in the modernist literary canon, Joyce’s Ulysses best embodies the fragmentary work Schlegel calls romantische Poesie. However, such an observation immediately leads one away from one of the most long-standing and deeply entrenched assumptions about Joyce’s mature works: that the narrative structure of Ulysses—and to a lesser extent, Finnegans Wake—is based upon the foundation of epic poetry,...

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5. From the Fragmentary Work to the Fragmentary Imperative: Blanchot and the Quest for Passage to the Outside

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pp. 151-175

If the writings of Byron and Joyce are the apotheosis of romantic poetry’s fragmentary work, Blanchot articulates a further distinction between the fragmentary work and the fragmentary imperative.¹ In an essay on the German romantics, Blanchot registers his dissatisfaction with Schlegel’s tendency to pull up short when confronted with the most exacting demands of writing. In Schlegel’s case, says Blanchot,...

Notes

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pp. 177-200

Index

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pp. 201-204