Romanticism Concept Note

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  Students’ Seminar on Rethinking Romanticism Concept Note The Romantic Movement in British literature is said to have initiated with the publication of WilliamWordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s Lyrical Ballads   in 1798. The preface added to the secondedition of this seminal text, and greatly expanded in the subsequent third edition of 1802, has beenwidely regarded as the manifesto of the movement. Although the publication of Lyrical Ballads marksa watershed in the history of European literary and aesthetic thought, a gamut of critical opinions positthat the Romantic Age had begun much earlier; its roots could be traced back to the dawn of theeighteenth century. Nor was the pluralistic Romantic   ethos conned to the peripheries of Britain; itowered in dierent forms and times across the geo-political boundaries of Europe. Indeed it was anage of enormous sound and fury. A series of engagements on aesthetics by Enlightenmentphilosophers such as Anthony Ashley Cooper, David Hume, Edmund Burke, Immanuel Kant, JohnLocke, and Alexander Baumgarten, among others, prepared a fertile ground for what we dene as Romantic   literature to ourish. Such negotiations with what construed or did not construe beauty manifested in literary outputs across genres. The evolving notion of the sublime contributed to the riseof the Gothic novel. The rigidity of reason was combated with the freeowing imagination of thehuman psyche. While the spirit of the French Revolution inspired the spearheads of the Romanticmovement to liberate literature from the monotony of eighteenth century convention, the ecologicaleects of industrialisation compelled them to rediscover nature in all its bounty. The Romanticsubject, being at odds with himself and the world around him, sought to experiment with, if notdismantle, the structures that enclosed him. Incessant articulations of individual and collectivedissidence went on to shape the literary imagination of the age. This was, however, not withoutbacklashes. Shelley’s radical treatise on atheism resulted in his expulsion from the University ofOxford. Coleridge’s fresh interpretation of Milton’s Paradise Lost   blurred the line between moralityand transgression. The Byronic anti-hero, embodying the courage to desire, seeked to unravel thedarker side of human nature and interrogated the societal formulations of censorship premised on abinary between the acceptable and the vulgar. Overlooking the Kantian debate on the public and theprivate, the Romantic subject lived what he wrote and wrote what he lived. Such a spirit of redemptiveliberation from the clutches of tradition was not merely restricted to men. A visible surge of womenwriters at the turn of the eighteenth century—such as Mary Wolstonecraft, Amelia Opie, Mary Lamb,Jane Austen, Charlotte Smith, Dorothy Wordsworth, and Mary Shelley, among an elaborate list oflong neglected gures—challenged the hegemonic presence of patriarchy in both society andliterature. It also needs to be made clear that Romanticism was not just a literary phenomenon but amajor paradigmatic shift in almost every form of art, be it music, painting, or drama. The tenets of Romanticism was disseminated by the expanding contours of the British Empire in itscolonies across the nineteenth century. Inspired by the ideals of eighteenth century Enlightenment andthe spirit of Romantic poetry. Henry Louis Vivian Derozio, a young poet and a teacher at theerstwhile Hindu College, instilled a rebellious zeal of breaking apart from tradition in his students thatculminated in the Young Bengal movement. Nineteenth century reformers and educationists in Indiasuch as Raja Rammohan Roy, Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar, or Debendranath Tagore, were propelledby the social, political, and cultural developments of eighteenth century Europe in carrying outattempts of evoking an egalitarian milieu of liberty, equality, and fraternity in their respective  societies. It is impossible to conceive the emergence of the novel in the Indian literary eld during thesecond half of the nineteenth century without taking into account the corpus of Walter Scott. Nor is itfeasible to deconstruct the canons of stalwarts such as Michael Madhusudan Dutt or RabindranathTagore without understanding the ways in which these literary giants were inuenced by the lyricalethos of Blake, Wordsworth, Shelley, and Keats. Adaptations, translations and transcreations of theworks of European Romantic writers into Indian vernacular languages throughout the nineteenth andtwentieth centuries played a crucial role in bringing modern Indian literature into being. The inclusionof Romantic   texts in the curriculams of universities, schools, and colleges across the empire still castsa profound impact on the production of contemporary literature. What arrests our interest in this seminar are these numerous transactions on varying aspects ofRomanticism within the historical framework of the empire in the course of the last two hundredyears and beyond. We perceive Romanticism as the facilitation of a dialogue between the orient andthe occident in an attempt to re-imagine the cultural histories that dene us. The seminar proposes tonot only reread the Romantic   canon but also rethink and reconceptualise how the Romantic   age andphilosophy continues to mould the discursive experiences in India. We invite papers, audio-visualpresentations, performances, and posters from postgraduate students and research scholars on, thoughnot limited to, the following topics ã Foundations of Aesthetic Theory in 18 th  and 19 th  Century Europe ã Romantic imaginations of the Orient ã The Romantic (Anti)-Hero ã Romanticism across languages ã Romanticism across genres: Poetry, Prose, Architecture, Theatre, Music, Art, and Cinema ã Legacy of Romanticism in 20 th  and 21 st  Centuries ã Indian Responses to Romanticism ã Romantic Imagination and Political Thought ã Afterlife of the Romantic Movement ã Romanticism and Gender


Sep 22, 2019
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