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Henry Crabb RobinsonRomantic Comparatist, 1790-1811$
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Philipp Hunnekuhl

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781789621785

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: January 2021

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781789621785.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM LIVERPOOL SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.liverpool.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Liverpool University Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in LSO for personal use.date: 27 June 2022

‘matters of Religion & Morality’: Herder, Wordsworth, and Blake

‘matters of Religion & Morality’: Herder, Wordsworth, and Blake

(p.159) Chapter Six ‘matters of Religion & Morality’: Herder, Wordsworth, and Blake
Henry Crabb Robinson

Philipp Hunnekuhl

Liverpool University Press

Chapter six aims to elucidate the decisive overall agreement, as well as the subtle nuances, that Robinson discerned in the works of Herder, Wordsworth, and Blake, and according to which he disseminated them, both among these poets and wider audiences in England and Germany. Robinson found these three poets to be advancing idiosyncratic forms of aesthetic free play that kindle the moral imagination of their readers. The chapter reads Robinson’s three articles on Herder in the Unitarian Monthly Repository (1808–09) and his German article on Blake in Friedrich Perthes’s Vaterländisches Museum (1811) against the informal critiques of Wordsworth and Coleridge’s Lyrical Ballads that Robinson elaborated in a series of letters in late 1802. These critiques are so ground-breaking since they constitute a profound, autonomous development of Kantian and post-Kantian notions of aesthetic autonomy into a distinctive conceptualization of literature’s cross-cultural ethical relevance, and thus provide the clearest definition of Robinson’s critical principle of ‘Free Moral Discourse’. According to this principle, art has a bearing on morality through their shared aspiration to disinterestedness, while the ultimate unattainability of such reciprocal disinterestedness creates a dynamic interplay between its two constituents.

Keywords:   aesthetic autonomy, Johann Gottfried Herder, literary criticism, literary ethics, literary transmission, Monthly Repository, Unitarianism, Vaterländisches Museum, William Blake, William Wordsworth

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