Abstract

My essay on the "experimental" Romantic lyric situates this genre in a philosophical and scientific context. Reading Coleridge's "Frost at Midnight" in conjunction with contemporary depictions of scientific self-experimentation, I argue that the literary experiment poses a question, often associated with Immanuel Kant, of how, through self-reflection, one determines the basis for an aesthetic "common sense." Against the tendency of much recent historicist criticism to identify such forms of lyric inwardness with political escapism, however, I argue that Coleridge's lyric - and offspring such as Thomas De Quincey's opium memoirs - must be understood as efforts to conceive the aesthetic as the basis for imagining altered conditions of judgment and for communities based on the same.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1080-6547
Print ISSN
0013-8304
Pages
pp. 117-149
Launched on MUSE
2003-04-10
Open Access
No
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