The afterword returns to the introduction’s engagement with Raymond Williams and Antonio Negri in order to think about how we should evaluate the anti-utilitarian, anti-instrumental conception of politics which is forwarded by Wordsworth in his engagement with the concept of the majesty of the people. It does so by turning to another Romantic apologist for poetry, Percy Bysshe Shelley. It explores the evolution of Shelley’s A Defence of Poetry from his earlier fragment ‘A Philosophical View of Reform’, arguing that here, too, we see the link between Romantic apologetics for poetry and Romantic apologetics for the ‘majesty of the people’, capturing the inter-reliance of these discourses. The ‘Afterword’ concludes by suggesting that Giorgio Agamben’s critique of biopolitics provides a useful model of an alternative to condemning such manoeuvres as suppressions of constituent power, or to the materialist critique of Romanticism which might understand it as an evasion of socio-economic reality.
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