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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

Chapter:
(p.97) Chapter Three Feeling for the Future
Source:
Anonymous Life
Publisher:
Stanford University Press
DOI:10.11126/stanford/9780804758406.003.0004

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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