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In: Engendering Realism and Postmodernism
In: Der akute Herzinfarkt
In: Anthologies of British Poetry
In: Romantik erkennen – Modelle finden
In: Theorietheorie
In: Nominalism and Literary Discourse
In: Britain at the Turn of the Twenty-First Century


Starting from the premiss that a culture’s hopes and fears before a turn of the century are highly indicative of its frame of mind, this contribution takes a closer look at some ‘liminal projections’ both of the 1790s (notably Godwin and Coleridge) and of the 1990s (most prominently Maggie Gee and Julian Barnes), in order to assess the changes in outlook and the changes in the ‘flavour’ of the times. Equal room is given to the earlier period, for, as the essay argues, ‘we can only know ourselves in confrontation with what we are not, and we can only understand the present in confrontation with the past.’ Neither subscribing to models of linear or dialectical historical evolution, nor subscribing to naive, uncritical notions of utopianism (after all, the greatest political philosopher of the 1790s had no feasible concept of social change, and Coleridge’s emigration scheme came to nothing) this essay nevertheless reads the discernible lack of historical and Utopian imagination in the later decade as part of a much greater loss, viz. a general waning of qualitative, alternative thinking.

In: Britain at the Turn of the Twenty-First Century
In: Britain at the Turn of the Twenty-First Century