This 2003 study sheds light on the way in which the English Romantics dealt with the basic problems of knowledge, particularly as they inherited them from the philosopher David Hume. Kant complained that the failure of philosophy in the eighteenth century to answer empirical scepticism had produced a culture of 'indifferentism'. Tim Milnes explores the way in which Romantic writers extended this epistemic indifference through their resistance to argumentation, and finds that it exists in a perpetual state of tension with a compulsion to know. This tension is most clearly evident in the prose writing of the period, in works such as Wordsworth's Preface to Lyrical Ballads, Hazlitt's Essay on the Principles of Human Action and Coleridge's Biographia Literaria. Milnes argues that it is in their oscillation between knowledge and indifference that the Romantics prefigure the ambivalent negotiations of modern post-analytic philosophy.
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(228mm x 152mm x 17mm)
Cambridge University Press
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
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Author Biography - Tim Milnes
Tim Milnes is Senior Lecturer in English Literature at the University of Edinburgh. From 1998 to 2001 he was British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow at University College, Oxford. He has published articles on Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Jeremy Bentham, William Hazlitt, Percy Bysshe Shelley, William Wordsworth and Charles Lamb, and is the author of William Wordsworth: The Prelude (Palgrave, 2009) and The Truth about Romanticism: Pragmatism and Idealism in Keats, Shelley, Coleridge (Cambridge University Press, 2010). He is also the co-editor, with Kerry Sinanan, of Romanticism, Sincerity, and Authenticity (Palgrave, 2010) and is a consulting editor for the journal Hazlitt Studies.