Summary and Info
The dialectic between reason and imagination forms a key element in Romantic and post-Romantic philosophy, science, literature, and art. Inventions of the Imagination, Romanticism and Beyond explores the diverse theories and assessments of this dialectic in a collection of essays by philosophers and literary and cultural critics. By the end of the eighteenth century, an insistence on reason as the predominant human faculty had run its course, and the imagination began to emerge as another force whose contributions to human intellectual existence and productivity had to be newly calculated and constantly recalibrated. The attempt to establish a universal form of reason alongside a plurality of imaginative capacities describes the ideological program of modernism from the end of the eighteenth century to the present day. Are these two drives actually compatible with one another? Can a universal and monolithic form of reason tolerate the play, flexibility, and unpredictability of imaginative creativity? This collection chronicles some of the vicissitudes in the conceptualization and evaluation of the imagination across time and in a variety of intellectual disciplines, including philosophy, aesthetic theory, and literary studies. These essays analyze the work of a range of predominately German and British philosophers and poets, including Kant, Hegel, Schiller, Blake, Keats, and Goethe. Together they create a rich and nuanced dialogue on the roles literature, fictions, and works of art in general-understood as products of the imagination-play for and in philosophical systems. Richard T. Gray is the Byron W. and Alice L. Lockwood professor of Germanics at the University of Washington. Nicholas Halmi is University Lecturer in English Literature of the Romantic Period at the University College, Oxford. Gary J. Handwerk is professor of English and comparative literature at the University of Washington. Michael A. Rosenthal is associate professor of philosophy at the University of Washington. Klaus Vieweg is professor of philosophy at Friedrich Shiller University.