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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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Feeling for the Future

Feeling for the Future

The Ends of Sympathy

(p.97) Chapter Three Feeling for the Future
Anonymous Life
Stanford University Press

This chapter first traces the terminological complexity of sympathy as it appears in several texts that helped establish its currency in eighteenth-century moral and aesthetic theory: David Hume's Treatise of Human Nature, Edmund Burke's A Philosophical Enquiry into the Origin of Our Ideas of the Sublime and Beautiful, and Adam Smith's A Theory of Moral Sentiments. It then focuses on reading Shelley's Defence of Poetry and Prometheus Unbound as texts that reimagine traditional sympathy as a structure through which subjectivity is derealized by the “call” of an otherness it can neither anticipate nor adequately know. The chapter proposes a certain developmental trajectory for sympathy that will reach a nearly unique pitch in Shelley, for whom the “nothingness” of the relation between self and other, identity and agency, knowing and not knowing, is exposed and given new bearings.

Keywords:   Shelley, moral theory, aesthetic theory, David Hume, Human Nature, Edmund Burke, Sublime and Beautiful, Adam Smith, Moral Sentiments, Prometheus Unbound

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