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Anonymous LifeRomanticism and Dispossession$
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Jacques Khalip

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780804758406

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: June 2013

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9780804758406.001.0001

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Virtual Ruin

Virtual Ruin

Disinterested Agency in Hazlitt and Keats

(p.25) Chapter One Virtual Ruin
Anonymous Life
Stanford University Press

This chapter explores Hazlitt's belief that a concern for the imaginative capacities of ethical debate turns us to the virtuality of social relations, and that it is precisely in the dynamic between self-constitution and differentiation that an ethically charged social inquiry is formed. Indeed, it is by insisting on the tenuousness of our various conceptualizations of “self,” “subject,” “individuality,” and “reality” that Hazlitt comes to claim the most negating effects of the imagination as its most forceful facets. The chapter also discusses Keats's negative poetics of self-dissolution. It illustrates the connections between an ethics of disinterest or impersonal self-divestiture and an aesthetics of lyrical anonymity—what Keats would famously call “negative capability.”

Keywords:   social relations, social inquiry, self, subject, individuality, reality, imagination, negative poetics, self-dissolution

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