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Transfiguring the Arts and Sciences
Knowledge and Cultural Institutions in the Romantic Age


Part of Cambridge Studies in Romanticism

  • Author: Jon Klancher, Carnegie Mellon University, Pennsylvania
  • Date Published: January 2016
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781316600962

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About the Authors
  • In this important and innovative study, Jon Klancher shows how the Romantic age produced a new discourse of the 'Arts and Sciences' by reconfiguring the Enlightenment's idea of knowledge and by creating new kinds of cultural institutions with unprecedented public impact. He investigates the work of poets, lecturers, moral philosophers, scientists and literary critics - including Coleridge, Godwin, Bentham, Davy, Wordsworth, Robinson, Shelley and Hunt - and traces their response to book collectors and bibliographers, art-and-science administrators, painters, engravers, natural philosophers, radical journalists, editors and reviewers. Taking a historical and cross-disciplinary approach, he opens up Romantic literary and critical writing to transformations in the history of science, history of the book, art history, and the little-known history of arts-and-sciences administration that linked early-modern projects to nineteenth- and twentieth-century modes of organizing 'knowledges'. His conclusions transform the ways we think about knowledge, both in the Romantic period and in our own.

    • A long-awaited major study by a leading scholar of the culture and ideas of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries
    • Gives us a new basis for understanding why and how literature became a more specialized discipline in the Romantic age
    • Offers a prehistory of the later social sciences by showing how economic, sociological, statistical and other social-scientific understandings were mobilized by the writers of this period
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    Reviews & endorsements

    '… one of the most ambitious and illuminating of recent studies …' Paul Keen, Huntington Library Quarterly

    '… Klancher establishes the prehistory to our current understanding of the liberal arts … [His] study allows us to see how crucial the Romantic era was to the development of the modern public sphere …' Adela Pinch, SEL Studies in English Literature 1500–1900

    'Consistently interesting and closely researched …' Adrian Tait, British Society for Literature and Science (

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    Product details

    • Date Published: January 2016
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781316600962
    • length: 324 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 17 mm
    • weight: 0.4kg
    • contains: 1 table
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Part I. Questions of the Arts and Sciences:
    1. From the age of projects to the age of institutions
    2. The administrator as cultural producer: restructuring the arts and sciences
    3. Wild bibliography: the rise and fall of book history in the nineteenth century
    4. Print and institution in the making of art controversy
    5. History and organization in the Romantic-age sciences
    Part II. Questions of the Literary:
    6. The Coleridge Institution
    7. Dissension in the arts and sciences
    Epilogue: transatlantic crossings

  • Author

    Jon Klancher, Carnegie Mellon University, Pennsylvania
    Jon Klancher is Professor of English at Carnegie Mellon University, Pennsylvania. His areas of research include Romantic and Victorian studies, the history of books and reading, and the sociology of cultural fields. He is editor of A Concise Companion to the Romantic Age (2009).

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