CFP: [18th] "The Ineffable and English Aesthetics before Romanticism" ASECS 2009 (deadline 9/15)

full name / name of organization: 
William Knight
contact email: 

Below I offer a call for submissions for a panel at the annual conference
of the American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies in Richmond,
Virginia, March 26-29, 2009.

The long eighteenth century, caught as it was in a process of cultural
secularization, saw a series of changes in the connection between
aesthetics and the figure of ineffability. In France, the je ne sais quoi,
made visible by Corneille, Bouhours, and others, and the Longinian sublime,
made popular by Boileau, facilitate a history of the connection between
developments in poetics and the role of figures of ineffability (e.g.
Richard Scholar's recent work). But in England, despite the popularity of
Boilevian-Longinian sublimity, ineffability was at best a figure that
worked as a basis for aesthetics without being named. Whether it is a
product of protestant iconoclasm or English skepticism, ineffability before
the rise of romantic "genius" was an uncertainly articulated
phenomenonâ€"present in many theories of aesthetics and poetics, but always
obscured, never allowed to become explicit, and uncertainly related to the
aesthetic subject. Was ineffability a kind of secret or silence, a form of
resistance within the "explicitation" and theorization of aesthetics? This
panel will showcase work that examines the varying roles of ineffability as
a figure in English aesthetics during the course of the century, offering
an opportunity for the expansion of historical research on the
pre-Romantic, pre-Kantian understanding of literature that in significant
ways could not yet speak its own name.

Electronic versions of abstracts are preferable, and should be submitted to by September 15th, 2008. If necessary, paper copies may
be mailed to William Knight. 1413B North Mangum St., Durham, NC, 27701.

As usual, please include any details for audio-visual needs, as well as all
pertinent contact information.

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Received on Wed Jun 11 2008 - 11:55:06 EDT