A talk by Kirill Chepurin: Romantic Bliss: Wordsworth and Schelling

Lecture | March 19 | 5-6:30 p.m. | 300 Wheeler Hall

 Kirill Chepuin, Senior Lecturer, Higher School of Economics

 Department of English, Eighteenth-Century and Romanticism Colloquium

Through a reading of Wordsworth’s "Home at Grasmere" and "Tintern Abbey" and Schelling’s romantic novella Clara, this talk will expose the stakes of bliss and its afterlives in modernity at what is arguably its (idealist and romantic) high point. It will consider the relation in these texts between bliss, love, solitude and sovereignty, and why bliss turns out to be the point where romantic solitude and romantic love importantly coincide. I will also suggest that, when it comes to bliss, two logics clash that are both characteristic of modernity: what may be called the logic of the world – this, as Schelling puts it, “completely external world” that seeks to catch the soul in its nets of “centuries, large distances, [and] the intricacies of the world,” this world of negativity, temporality, accumulation and mediation, with its “dreary intercourse” and “weary weight” (Wordsworth) – and the logic of immanence, serving to unground the ways of the world. In this clash, I will argue, the violence of both of these logics is exposed, too – a violence and a conflict that lie at the heart of modernity itself.