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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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A Motion and a Spirit

A Motion and a Spirit

Romancing Spinoza1

(p.105) 5 A Motion and a Spirit
Thinking Through Poetry

Marjorie Levinson

Oxford University Press

Jonathan Israel’s Radical Enlightenment has established Spinoza’s general currency in the age of Romanticism. His study enables the recovery of the presence of Spinoza as a submerged philosophical context in a number of poets. The chapter accordingly lays out Spinoza’s system as developed in his Ethics. This reading of Spinoza—informed by contemporary work in the physical, biological, computational, and cognitive sciences, and brought to bear on Romantic poetry and poetics—reveals points of identity and difference across the materialist board. Given the multiple claims today on “materialism,” the aim is to restore the term’s precision or develop new kinds of reference, even as we take care to situate those new uses within the field of existing applications. The empirical value of the enterprise is then suggested by a reading of Wordsworth’s “A slumber did my spirit seal.”

Keywords:   Spinoza, Jonathan Israel, William Wordsworth, materialism, post-classical science, Romanticism, literary theory, lyric poetry

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