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.

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14 Responses to “Recalled”

  1. Irina Says:

    Wow – I really love that quote…It is simple and yet has a depth beyond regular language….
    let’s hope summer will (re)vitalize you in all ways necessary:)

  2. The Necromancer Says:

    “A depth beyond regular language” should have been the title of the post. Damn. ;)

  3. anon Says:

    a) there is no depth beyond regular language
    b) an essential component of a new romanticism needs to be lack of judgment. A zen-like approach that all life experiences are neither bad nor good, they just are. Combine that with the passionate fury of the traditional romaticism and you’ve got something…

  4. The Necromancer Says:


  5. Irina Says:

    “there is no depth beyond regular language”
    Funny, I think there is.
    Everyday word usage can have meaning, but in this case I am referring to the larger context, the more underlying meaning – that which is not spoken, that which is implied, the words between the lines and the meanings that can be found beyond the everyday use of words…Disagree with me if you will, but I hold to my opinion that there is depth beyond regular language in this quote and in every word out of every mouth around the world.

  6. Stiletto Says:

    Not sure if this relates but upon waking minutes ago I was thinking about how sad it was that I sort of lost my sense of childlike wonder as I have started to believe just about everything can be explained.

  7. The Necromancer Says:

    It relates, completely.

  8. anxiousmofo Says:

    Stiletto, I suppose it depends on the explanation. Living things are incredibly complex and strange things, even at the level of individual cells, and they’re everywhere. Looking at insects, mammals, and humans with the understanding that we were produced by brute natural selection makes them (us) even more compelling and weird. The chickadee on the feeder in my front yard is the descendant of dinosaurs – how cool is that?

    Living things are much less wonderful and strange from the vantage point of total ignorance.

  9. Stiletto Says:

    Well, I was thinking how I used to believe in voodoo, mysticism, astrology, witchcraft…but now I think a large part of it can be explained. It’s called “patterns.” At least that’s what a stockbroker friend told me and ever since then it’s like he lifted the wools from over my eyes….and that fascination with the seemingly mysterious just went poof!

    Sort of took the wind of out my sails.

    I feel like…I feel like I need so witness a miracle.

    Maybe this is why people believe in God. Because everyday life can be so f-ing mundane and boring and repetitive and familiar.
    God is the ultimate mystery of all. And if there is a God, maybe he teases us because for him (or her) to actually reveal himself would really be the end of mankind and it’s inevitable longing to worship and uncover the unknown. It’s like being on a first date with a chick you really like and wondering what’s under that skirt..or whether it’s going to happen or not…Maybe religion is sort of like that…a high from a perpetual first date and an appetite never sated…

    Sorry I’m blabbering and not clarifying myself properly. I think you get what I am saying.

  10. Stiletto Says:

    Thus, when you feel that sense of joylessness., of utter despair, because you think it can all be explained and there is nothing really special or magnificent or complicated about the universe, when you view humans as animals who got the luck of the draw, maybe then “God is Dead.”

  11. The Necromancer Says:

    Maybe when you’re listening to “stockbroker friends” then perhaps God really is dead. Did I just say that? Ignore me, I’m clearly insane…Moving on.

  12. Stiletto Says:

    Oh damn…good point.

    You know, I think everything is going to be ok again.

  13. The Necromancer Says:

    Right on.

  14. A Light Dusting… « The Necromancer Says:

    […] – I welcome a new denizen to the blogroll, enreal, recently self- described as hopelessly “sarcastically” romantic. I jive. […]

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