ϟ
 
DOI: 10.1353/ncr.2002.0056
OpenAccess: Closed
This work is not Open Acccess. We may still have a PDF, if this is the case there will be a green box below.

Dis-Figuring Reproduction: Natural History, Community, and the 1790s Novel

Tilottama Rajan

Dialectic
Romance
Reproduction
2002
Given an almost total forgetting of certain Romantic novels by standard literary histories, what were the epistemic shifts that made their writing possible at the time? What new configurations of the aesthetic and the social emerged in the late eighteenth century, invisibly, and at an archeological rather than manifest level? And what developments in Continental philosophy and theory have made it more possible to read these novels now? With such questions in mind, this paper explores the dis-figuration of reproduction in radical novels of the Romantic period that focus on women. It does so in the context of a larger reorganization of knowledge from Hegel and Schelling to Benjamin and Nancy which, I argue, unfolds from the philosophical study of nature that began in the late eighteenth century. The economy—or anti-economy—of ideas that subsists between these thinkers allows us to conceive the relation between art, history, and the social outside of the "reproduction" of culture. Inasmuch as history and literary history invisibly rely on a metaphorics of (re)production, the disfiguration of aesthetic [End Page 211] production raises profound questions about the "work" of art in history: about whether these texts' melancholic abjection of the aesthetic makes them unassimilable into history and the Symbolic, 1 or whether it contributes to the dialectic of history conceived as natural history.
Loading...
    Cite this:
Generate Citation
Powered by Citationsy*
    Dis-Figuring Reproduction: Natural History, Community, and the 1790s Novel” is a paper by Tilottama Rajan published in 2002. It has an Open Access status of “closed”. You can read and download a PDF Full Text of this paper here.