By Joel Faflak, Julia M. Wright
Addresses how Victorian receptions of Romanticism and Romantic writers have been formed via notions of anxiety.
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Extra resources for Nervous Reactions: Victorian Recollections of Romanticism (Studies in the Long Nineteenth Century)
As this nature begins to appear “red in tooth and claw” because of its overwhelming complexity, it is categorized as being Romantically ornate or exotic. The Empire’s power to Romanticize its own nature, that is, precludes its having to deal with what its Romantic past—or present—might otherwise mean. By collecting the heterogeneous artifacts of Empire, the Crystal Palace thus encrypts its culture’s Romanticism as a knowledge about itself which that culture cannot easily assimilate. From a confrontation with Romantic heterodoxy uncannily parallel to a later Victorian complexity emerges a Victorian ambivalence about editing Romanticism.
32 This “horrid inoculation upon each other of incompatible natures” demonstrates the pathology of Romantic imagination, through which the “dreamer finds housed within himself . . 33 Most disturbing is the mutation of this singular pathology into the cognate of the subject’s multiple personalities. Here De Quincey refigures Wordsworth’s Gothic church as the “mighty mists” (227) out of which emerges an “infinite cathedral” (232) containing a “vast necropolis” or “city of sepulchres” (230) within its recesses.
Clej writes, “More like an ‘interminable’ self-analysis than a rigorous confession, De Quincey’s discourse constantly transgresses its own boundaries and meanders away from its course, obliging the interpreter to follow what is often a vanishing trail” (20). In a manuscript entitled “Romantic Psychoanalysis and the Burden of the Mystery,” I argue that De Quincey’s Confessions is De Quincey’s attempt to contain the interminability of psychoanalysis, whereas Suspiria radicalizes psychoanalysis as a fundamentally interminable venture broached between psychic determinism and self-making.