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Arbitrary Power : Romanticism, Language, Politics - William Keach

Arbitrary Power

Romanticism, Language, Politics

Hardcover

Published: 2nd May 2004
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This book explores previously unexamined links between the arbitrary as articulated in linguistic theories on the one hand, and in political discourse about power on the other. In particular, Willam Keach shows how Enlightenment conceptions of the arbitrary were contested and extended in British Romantic writing. In doing so, he offers a new paradigm for understanding the recurrent problem of verbal representation in Romantic writing and the disputes over stylistic performance during this period. With clarity and force, Keach reads these phenomena in relation to a rapidly shifting literary marketplace and to the social pressures in Britain generated by the French Revolution, the Napoleonic Wars, and the class antagonisms that culminated in the Peterloo Massacre.

The question of what it means to think of language or politics as arbitrary persists through postmodern thinking, and this book advances an unfinished dialogue between Romantic culture and the critical techniques we currently use to analyze it. Keach's intertwined linguistic and political account of arbitrary power culminates in a detailed textual analysis of the language of revolutionary violence. Including substantial sections on Blake, Wollstonecraft, Wordsworth, Coleridge, Byron, P. B. Shelley, Keats, and Anna Jameson, "Arbitrary Power" will engage not only students and scholars of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century literature but also those interested in critical and linguistic theory and in social and political history.

"I cannot think of a critical book that I have read in recent years that has impressed me more."--Richard Cronin, Wordsworth Circle

Prefacep. ix
Acknowledgmentsp. xiii
Abbreviationsp. xv
Arbitrary Powerp. 1
Words Are Thingsp. 23
The Politics of Rhymep. 46
Vulgar Idiomsp. 68
""'A Subtler Language within Language'""p. 95
The Language of Revolutionary Violencep. 122
Notesp. 159
Indexp. 185
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780691117669
ISBN-10: 0691117667
Series: Literature in History
Audience: Professional
Format: Hardcover
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 200
Published: 2nd May 2004
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 23.5 x 15.2  x 1.91
Weight (kg): 0.45