Abstract

This essay contends that the poetic project of Anne Finch, Countess of Winchilsea, resonates with the “descriptive turn” of Bruno Latour. Reading Finch’s “Upon the Hurricane” alongside Latour’s attacks on critique, I demonstrate that the two writers share a resistance to ontologies that distinguish tidily between subjects and objects and that they each embrace a mode of modest, provisional description that explores the multifarious relationships between things (including people) in the world. I use these resonances to caution against common misreadings of early eighteenth-century nature poetry—misreadings that, I argue, implicitly rely on anachronistic ‘modern’ or Romantic assumptions about subjects and objects, language and reality. I also contend, in closing, that Finch’s poetry suggests rich resources for descriptive or new materialist projects in Latour’s mode; particularly, it suggests that we ought to take seriously figurative language as a tool for better understanding the world.

pdf

Additional Information

ISSN
1935-0201
Print ISSN
0193-5380
Pages
pp. 251-265
Launched on MUSE
2016-11-01
Open Access
No
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.