Some new ambitions on this site. In the coming months I seek to refine and recall an old concept — romanticism. I take as my inspiration a book written by a colleague; J. David Black, The Politics of Enchantment: Romanticism, Media, and Cultural Studies (Waterloo, ON: Wilfred Laurier University Press, 2002). Theoretically inclined, it makes some convincing arguments about the power of romantic thought in a world dominated by the structural and rationalized shapes of an oft-misguided Enlightenment tradition. Romanticism in this light is seen as a critical force, something that can help us all recapture some enchantment in a social space dominated by dogma and the deep ideological chasms of global capitalism and post-industrial banality.
As all romantic projects should be, this is also personal. It’s not immediately apparent, but recently my life-force has been drained of youthful, spirited vitality. I feel anhedonic. The passage of time, a bad relationship, and the self-induced rigors of academia have conspired to sap some of my pep in recent years. But I’m coming out of it…New horizons, energized ambitions, a better outlook on things…All trickling into my soul-space like some secret alchemical elixir…
Thus this (admittedly ethereal) project serves a dual purpose — to attempt to shock both internal and external systems. Using language and image, harmoniously and discordantly, I seek to provide a spirited new tone and tenor to the archetype of the romantic and the idea of romanticism. A tall order…Towering even — but with time the moats of monotony can be crossed and (in)spired heights may be reached. We’ll see.
For now, I leave you with a quote, culled from an obscure, random source (the best kind) — Bruce Wilshire’s Romanticism and Evolution: The Nineteenth Century (New York: G.P. Putnam, 1968):
“The romantics teach us that there is no meaning without mind and no mind without imagination. To encompass the present and the actual we must range beyond it in the possible. Consciousness itself marks both center and periphery. So, then, what can balance it but itself?” (314).
Couldn’t have said (channeled?) it better myself.