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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter September 23, 2020

Archive Fever and British Romanticism: Blake, Byron, and Keats

David Kerler
From the journal Anglia

Abstract

The article explores the interrelation of archives, melancholia, and their (de)constructive features in British Romantic poetry. It will argue that the proliferation of archives and archival practices from the late eighteenth century on had a strong influence on the literary‑cultural output of the British Romantics. This shall be scrutinised by drawing on an extended reading of Jacques Derrida’s “Archive Fever” (1995) and Julia Kristeva’s Black Sun, focusing on two basal, closely related aspects: (1) the subject’s feverish desire to archive, and (2) the archive’s (self‑)destructive tendencies. A close reading of paradigmatic writers and their poems (William Blake, Lord Byron, and John Keats) shall illustrate that the notion of “archive fever” turns out to be especially determinant for Romantic subjectivity, aesthetics, and its sujets.

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Published Online: 2020-09-23
Published in Print: 2020-09-15

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