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Originally published in 1986. The ghastly fate of a drowned man brought to a lake's surface in Wordsworth's "Prelude" typifies a fundamental pattern in Romantic writing, argues Cynthia Chase. Disfiguration involves not only a departure from representation but a disruption of the logic of figure or form, a decomposition of the figures composing the text. Ultimately it manifests the conflict between a work's meaning and its mode of performance. By means of an intense engagement with texts in the romantic tradition, Decomposing Figures rearticulates and recasts crucial concepts in recent literary theory, including the notion of the self-referential or self-reflexive nature of the literary work. Chase's readings show that, far from implying a privileged status, the work's self-reflexive structure entails its opacity, its inability to read itself, and the necessity of its decomposition.

Table of Contents

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  1. Cover
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  1. New Copyright
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  1. Half Title Page
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  1. Title Page
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  1. Copyright
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  1. Dedication
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  1. Contents
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  1. Acknowledgments
  2. p. ix
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  1. Introduction
  2. pp. 1-10
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  1. I. Mutable Images: Voice and Figure
  1. 1. The Accidents of Disfiguration: Limits to Literal and Figurative Reading of Wordsworth’s “Books”
  2. pp. 13-31
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  1. 2. The Ring of Gyges and the Coat of Darkness: Reading Rousseau with Wordsworth
  2. pp. 32-64
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  1. 3. Viewless Wings: Keats’s Ode to a Nightingale
  2. pp. 65-81
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  1. 4. Giving a Face to a Name: De Man’s Figures
  2. pp. 82-112
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  1. 5. Getting Versed: Reading Hegel with Baudelaire
  2. pp. 113-138
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  1. II. Past Effects: The Double Reading of Narrative
  1. 6. Mechanical Doll, Exploding Machine: Kleist’s Models of Narrative
  2. pp. 141-156
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  1. 7. The Decomposition of the Elephants: Double-Reading Daniel Deronda
  2. pp. 157-174
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  1. 8. Oedipal Textuality: Reading Freud’s Reading of Oedipus
  2. pp. 175-195
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  1. 9. Paragon, Parergon: Baudelaire Translates Rousseau
  2. pp. 196-208
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  1. Notes
  2. pp. 209-228
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  1. Index
  2. pp. 229-234
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Additional Information

ISBN
9781421434117
Related ISBN(s)
9780801831362, 9781421434100
MARC Record
OCLC
1122725393
Pages
250
Launched on MUSE
2019-10-10
Language
English
Open Access
Yes
Funder
Mellon/NEH / Hopkins Open Publishing: Encore Editions
Creative Commons
CC-BY-NC-ND

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