CFP: [Romantic] Lyric and the Resistance to Work (4/15/08; ICR 10/16/08)

full name / name of organization: 
Eric Idsvoog
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Lyric and the Resistance to Work

A special session at the International Conference on Romanticism, Oct.
16-19 at Oakland University, Rochester, Michigan. More information at

In his Preface to the Lyrical Ballads, Wordsworth speaks ruefully of his
poems’ “feeble effort” against the “degrading thirst after outrageous
stimulation” caused by the working lives of men in cities. He locates one
form of this resistance in his poems’ emphasis on feeling over the
narrative teleology towards “extraordinary incident”; many of the ballads
juxtapose scenes of idleness against the Preface's larger claim for their
"worthy purpose." And while he specifies that purpose as the “illustration”
of how ideas and feelings are associated in a state of excitement, the
poems’ focus on reticent or inarticulate characters often seems to
illustrate only by way of obscurity, leaving the mind to “work” with what
Wordsworth will call in the Prelude “a dim an undetermined sense / Of
unknown modes of being.”
   Recent work on Romantic lyric in and beyond Wordsworth has often found
in the apparent weakness of its efforts, in its ineptitude rather than
sovereignty, its passivity, reticence, grace or insignificance, a source of
lyric’s resilience. In the face of instrumentalizing demandsâ€"for
sensation, lucidity, disclosure or expressionâ€"what we might call a lyric
resistance to work is bound up with the genre's present urgency. How do
lyric poems in the Romantic period resist such demands? How do they enable
the articulation of non-instrumental forms of agency or knowledge?
We seek papers on Romantic-period poets that address the lyric genre's
various relation to conceptual work. Proposals that treat the theoretical
work performed and resisted in the critical formations of romanticists
after de Man are also encouraged.

Submit abstracts or queries to Eric Lindstrom at and
Eric Idsvoog at Be sure to submit an additional
abstract to, indicating that you have submitted the
abstract to this session. Deadline is April 15.

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Received on Sun Apr 06 2008 - 21:54:33 EDT