The politics of romanticism: The social contract and literature

Research output: Book/ReportBookpeer-review


Redefines Romantic sociability through a reading of social contract theory The Politics of Romanticism examines the relationship between two major traditions which have not been considered in conjunction: British Romanticism and social contract philosophy. She argues that an emerging political vocabulary was translated into a literary vocabulary in social contract theory, which shaped the literature of Romantic Britain, as well as German Idealism, the philosophical tradition through which Romanticism is more usually understood. Beenstock locates the Romantic movement's coherence in contract theory's definitive dilemma: the critical disruption of the individual and the social collective. By looking at the intersection of the social contract, Scottish Enlightenment philosophy, and canonical works of Romanticism and its political culture, her book provides an alternative to the model of retreat which has dominated accounts of Romanticism of the last century. Key Features Develops new understanding of Romanticism as political movement Offers fresh readings of canonical works by Coleridge, Wordsworth, Godwin, Mary Shelley and Carlyle by tracing their implicit dialogue with the political philosophy of Rousseau and other Enlightenment political theorists Shows that the philosophical routes of Romanticism and its ties to German Idealism originate in empiricism Carries important consequences for the contemporary understanding of the self, an understanding that is partly rooted in notions that originated with the Romantics.

Original languageEnglish
PublisherEdinburgh University Press
Number of pages228
ISBN (Electronic)9781474401043
ISBN (Print)9781474401036
StatePublished - 8 Apr 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Zoe Beenstock, 2016. All rights reserved.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Arts and Humanities


Dive into the research topics of 'The politics of romanticism: The social contract and literature'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this