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Thinking Through PoetryField Reports on Romantic Lyric$
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Marjorie Levinson

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780198810315

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198810315.001.0001

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Pre- and Post-Dialectical Materialism

Pre- and Post-Dialectical Materialism

Modeling Praxis without Subjects and Objects1

(p.93) 4 Pre- and Post-Dialectical Materialism
Thinking Through Poetry

Marjorie Levinson

Oxford University Press

This chapter argues for a changed concept of the relationship between the human and the natural. It mobilizes contemporary work in the fields of theoretical biology and post-anthropological, post-dialectical perspectives drawn from Spinoza. We get a very different picture of Romantic poetry when we read it in light of the efforts of today’s radical thinkers to reconceive both the practical and categorical relations between culture and nature, the human and the non-human, the biological and the mechanical. This project is to be distinguished from the ecological critiques of industrial and post-industrial capitalism that develop from a conservative humanist position—for example, from that of Jonathan Bate, who advocates a renewed reverential stewardship of the environment, in that way reviving the protectionist, primitivist, essentializing views of nature that arose in the early nineteenth century.

Keywords:   dialectical materialism, Jonathan Bate, Spinoza, theoretical biology, ecology, the human, literary theory, Romanticism, lyric poetry

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