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Romanticism and the Heritage of Rousseau$
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Thomas McFarland

Print publication date: 1995

Print ISBN-13: 9780198182870

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198182870.001.0001

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The Instrument of Good

The Instrument of Good

(p.200) 5 The Instrument of Good
Romanticism and the Heritage of Rousseau

Thomas McFarland

Oxford University Press

This chapter discusses the extraordinarily rich texture woven by the Romantic preoccupation with imagination. It will trace its way into this texture by following a thread supplied by Shelley, combined with a longer thread previously described in the discussion of Rousseau, and it will follow them both in their intertwinement with the many strands eventuating in the focal pattern supplied by Coleridge. It talks about Shelley's insistence that all morality depends on imagination. It also discusses several Romantics during the ‘Age of Reason’ — Descartes and Pascal — who cast their lots wholly with reason, and not at all with imagination. It notes that the intertwinings of two ostensibly opposed views of imagination occur in Romanticism and are both constitutive of this hugely important Romantic texture.

Keywords:   imagination, Rousseau, Shelly, Coleridge, Descartes, Pascal, Romantic texture, Romanticism, Age of Reason

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