Imagination under Pressure, 1789-1832: Aesthetics, Politics, and Utility


This ambitious study offers a radical reassessment of one of the most important concepts of the Romantic period--the imagination. In contrast to traditional accounts, John Whale locates the Romantic imagination within the period's lively and often antagonistic polemics on aesthetics and politics, focusing in particular on British responses to the French Revolution and the ideology of utilitarianism. Through detailed analysis of key texts by Burke, Paine, Wollstonecraft, Bentham, Hazlitt, Cobbett and Coleridge, this book seeks to restore the role of imagination as a more positive force within cultural critique.


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