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Inventions of the Imagination

Romanticism and Beyond

The dialectic between reason and imagination forms a key element in Romantic and post- Romantic philosophy, science, literature, and art. Inventions of the Imagination explores the diverse theories and assessments of this dialectic in essays by philosophers and literary and cultural critics. By the end of the eighteenth century, reason as the predominant human faculty had run its course, and imagination emerged as another force whose contributions to human intellectual existence and productivity had to be newly calculated and constantly recalibrated. The attempt to establish a universal form of reason alongside a plurality of imaginative capacities describes the ideological program of modernism from the end of the eighteenth century to the present day. This collection chronicles some of the vicissitudes in the conceptualization and evaluation of the imagination across time and in various disciplines.

About the Authors

Richard T. Gray is the Byron W. and Alice L. Lockwood professor of Germanics at the University of Washington. Nicholas Halmi is University Lecturer in English Literature of the Romantic Period at the University College, Oxford. Gary J. Handwerk is professor of English and comparative literature at the University of Washington. Michael A. Rosenthal is associate professor of philosophy at the University of Washington. Klaus Vieweg is professor of philosophy at Friedrich Shiller University.

Reviews

"The essays in this volume are clearly written and stimulating, jargon-free despite the sometimes complex material, and the volume has made the transition from a collection of conference papers to a set of polished essays in an exemplary way."—John Guthrie, Modern Language Review

"This is a stimulating collection of papers, foregrounding the role of the imagination at a time when its lack can be almost palpably felt across the educational curriculum and in the political arena."—Paul Bishop, Journal of European Studies, 42 (2) 2012

"The collection as a whole provides ample material for thinking about the epistemic role of the imagination. . . . [I]t makes an important contribution not only to the history of philosophy and the study of romanticism, but also to contemporary questions in hermeneutics, theories of knowledge and aesthetics."—Dalia Nassar, Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews, Vol. 1538-1617 2012

University of Washington Press

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