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Philosophy and Romanticism

Philosophy and Romanticism





North American Society for the Study of Romanticism



To be left behind after the removal, use, or destruction of some part, number, or quantity.

To continue in the same place or with the same person; to abide, to stay.

The survivors of a war, battle, or other destructive event.

A relic of some obsolete custom or practice; a surviving trait or characteristic.

A part or the parts of a person’s body after death; a corpse.

The literary works or fragments (esp. the unpublished ones) left by an author after death



Romantic culture’s most familiar rhetorics of revolution are progressive, teleological, messianic, and apocalyptic. Building upon the etymology of the term “remain(s)” as a term that denotes survival and persistence as much as death and decay, “Romantic Remains” will consider the whole range of “remain(s)” in relation to “rights” (political, cultural, literary, scientific, environmental, corporeal, and otherwise). This panel will therefore theorize the era’s less critically prominent forms of protest such as stasis, resistance, delay, disappearance, survival, and/or endurance. In a moment whose most prominent poetic works, embodied individual lives, and grand political narratives focus on vigor, life, growth, evolution, and development — Wordsworth’s “Bliss was it in that dawn to be alive,” Barbauld’s “Little Invisible Being Who is Expected Soon to Become Visible,” and Shelley’s “Life, Joy, Empire, and Victory”—who or what gets left behind? What radical possibilities lie on the other side of Romanticism’s forward thinkingforms of enthusiasm, passion, utopianism, and optimism?

As the necessary consequence of works such as Wordsworth’s Tintern Abbey and Volney’s Ruins, Romantic critics have always taken an interest in Europe’s physical remains. Yet in our present moment of environmental catastrophe and ruin, a diverse array of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century scholars have drawn new attention to the possibilities and anxieties of contingent, biodegradable, unhurried, and uncertain forms of existence and aesthetics: Kevis Goodman and Jonathan Sachs (slow time), Jonathan Bate and James C. McKusick (Romantic ecology and green writing), Paul Fry (ontological radicalism), Anahid Nersessian (nescience), Anne-Lise François (recessive agency), Timothy Morton (dark ecology), and Jacques Khalip (anonymity and dispossession). In its focus on natural rhythms, formal omissions, and vanishing acts rather than developmental narratives or confident subjects, this panel will turn toward a critique of the idea that Romanticism always proceeds though rapid movement and productive presence. With this end in mind, we will study the period’s conservationist energies in the realms of ontology, politics, and aesthetics—how the positions of remaining behind, moving slowly, and entirely disappearing often allowed Romantic writers to contest the excesses of an increasingly accelerating age focused on imperial expansion, economic development, and sociocultural improvement.

Papers may consider “Romantic Remains” in relation to a wide range of formal, historical, theoretical, and critical concerns, that might include:

–necromanticism / material remains: corpses, ruins, relics, residues, wastes, wrecks, dust, rubble, and debris

–formal remains: elegies, epitaphs, scraps, elisions, gaps, fragments, caesurae, ellipses, and repetitions

–biological / natural processes: decomposition, defilement, deterioration, erosion, putrefaction, and decay

–the poetics of nostalgia / memory and ephemerality / forgetting

–outmoded, suspended, superseded, and left over genres, modes, and personae

–spatial remains: localism, dispossession, immovability, and immobility

–temporal remains: anachronism, haunting, and gradualism

–textual / authorial negotiations of invisibility, abjection, anonymity, disappearance, obscurity, and reanimation

–memorialization and categories of identity such as gender, race, class, sexuality, and disability

–biodegradable / sustainable aesthetics

–scientific and antiquarian analyses of extinction, rebirth, evolution, and survival

–the ruins of Romantic criticism and theory / the remains of Romantic literary history / the afterlives of Romantic writing


General Call for Papers:

Special Sessions Call for Papers:



North American Society for the Study of Romanticism (NSSR)

The 23rd Annual NASSR Conference Winnipeg, Manitoba, August 13-16, 2015

Sponsored by University of Manitoba and The University of Winnipeg, NASSR 2015 will meet at the historic Fort Garry Hotel near The Forks in downtown Winnipeg, Manitoba, from August 13 to 16, 2015.

The theme of the conference is “Romanticism & Rights,” broadly construed to include:

  • Human Rights (racial, indigenous, economic; right to freedom and autonomy [slavery])
  • Animal Rights; Natural Rights, Nature’s rights (the environment)
  • Sexual Rights (alternative genders, women’s rights, procreative rights)
  • Author or Authorial Rights (intellectual property, copyright)
  • State/Sovereign Rights
  • Children’s Rights
  • Right to be heard; Freedom of Speech
  • The Right to Philosophy / Thinking
  • Right to Religion
  • Rights and Wrongs
  • The Right to Die
  • What is left of Rights?

For information on the 2015 NASSR call for papers, including special sessions, click on the “Call for Papers” menu item above.
Conference Co-Chairs:
Michelle Faubert, University of Manitoba
Peter Melville, The University of Winnipeg

Conference Committee:
Linda Dietrick, The University of Winnipeg
Murray Evans, The University of Winnipeg
Joshua D. Lambier, Western University
Dana Medoro, University of Manitoba
Pam Perkins, University of Manitoba
Kathryn Ready, The University of Winnipeg
Armelle St. Martin, University of Manitoba
Contact NASSR 2015:

NASSR Main Website:



‘Human Herbs’ – a song by Cold Hands & Quarter Moon:

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