CFP Romantic Ethics and the ‘Woke’ Romantics

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By Emily Paterson-Morgan

Anglistik & Englischunterricht (2022)

Guest Editors: Marie Hologa, Sophia Möllers

The works of Romantic writers and political philosophers served a morally instructive purpose for the audiences and readerships of their time. In their pamphlets, speeches, plays and poetry, as well as narrative texts, dominant discourses on, e.g., socio-economic questions, child-rearing, self-management, interactions with marginalised individuals, and visions of democratised states and communities stabilised, commented on and potentially subverted what is now considered a Romantic belief system. The implicit hierarchy of authors of such instructive texts and their recommended moral regulations open a window into the social inequalities of the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Because these texts “appeared to have no political bias, these rules took on the power of natural law, and as a result, they presented readers with ideology in its most powerful form” (Armstrong 60). At the same time, it must be acknowledged that Romanticism as such “did create a great revolution in consciousness” (Berlin 20) insofar as Britain’s marginalised groups often became the central focus of Romantic works. Despite their normative character, these texts still left room to create counter-hegemonic discourses, allowed for alternative readings and subversive re-writings, and incited (sub-cultural) agency as a challenge to prevalent …read more