Romanticism has always been understood in relation to the upheavals and profound political changes of the time around 1800. Recent historical research, however, has considerably qualified putative certainties about the politics of the period. Not only has the “age of revolution” or the “age of reform” been subjected to new scrutiny, but these labels now have to contend with the designation “age of counter-revolution”. Moreover, literary scholars have redefined or even demolished the boundaries between political writings and the traditional Romantic canon. In this process, the conventions of how Romantic studies imposes certain political views on its subject matter have been revealed – and thus the political nature of the discipline as such. In concert with political propaganda and popular notions about Romanticism, the discipline has at times affirmed national discourses of organic unity, socialist visions of utopian community, and environmentalist ideas of reconciling humanity and nature. In the course of the last two centuries, romanticism – or what has been regarded as such – has had a remarkable political afterlife.
The conference presents contributions with regard to three focus areas:
- Politics in the Romantic period and the literature and art of the time
- The institutional politics of Romantic studies
- The legacy of Romanticism in the politics of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries and today
The conference will be held in English throughout.