Imagining the King’s Death: Figurative Treason, Fantasies of Regicide, 1793–1796, John Barrell, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000
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AbstractThis review essay has two divisions. In its first division it sets out a brief overview of recent Marxist research in the field of ‘Romanticism’, identifying two major lines of inquiry. On the one hand, the attempt to expand our sense of what might constitute a ruthless critique of social relations; on the other, an attempt to develop a materialist account of aesthetic disengagement. This first division concludes with an extended summary of John Barrell’s account of the treason trials of the middle 1790s, as set out in his book Imagining the King’s Death. It argues that Barrell’s book is the most significant recent work belonging to the second line of inquiry. In its second division the review responds to Barrell’s concluding discussion, in which the aesthetic consequences of the treason trials are established by means of a close reading of some of the poetry of Samuel Taylor Coleridge. The division finishes with some more general remarks on the subject of a materialist aesthetics of disengagement.
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Barrell John Imagining the King’s Death: Figurative Treason, Fantasies of Regicide, 1793–1796 2000 Oxford Oxford University Press
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