Catalogue


The shadow of death : literature, romanticism, and the subject of punishment /
Mark Canuel.
imprint
Princeton, NJ : Princeton University Press, c2007.
description
xii, 206 p. : ill.
ISBN
0691129614, 9780691129617
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
author
imprint
Princeton, NJ : Princeton University Press, c2007.
isbn
0691129614
9780691129617
catalogue key
6055247
 
Includes bibliographical references and index.
A Look Inside
Excerpts
Flap Copy
"Canuel's book is well researched and groundbreaking. Scholars of Romanticism are likely to know of scattered references to the death penalty, but few, I think, will have known before reading Canuel's provocative book of its pervasiveness as an issue of concern."--Celeste Langan, author of "Romantic Vagrancy: Wordsworth and the Simulation of Freedom"""The Shadow of Death" derives its strength and originality from pinpointing the persistent power--political and aesthetic--of punishment in British Romantic writing. In a series of energetic and ingenious readings of works written in an age pervaded by the rhetoric of penal reform, Canuel calls attention to various 'negotiations' between the logics of reform and sanctioned murder in order to show their inevitable mutuality. Another significant feature of Canuel's argument is the strong link between the exercise of the Romantic imagination and the exercise of corporal punishment. This is itself a forceful argument, and an original one, made in often unpredictable ways. The topic and major arguments of this book ought to be of interest not simply to scholars of the period, but also to those interested in the larger philosophical and political debates surrounding the death penalty."--Mary A. Favret, author of "Romantic Correspondence: Women, Politics, and the Fiction of Letters"
Flap Copy
"Canuel's book is well researched and groundbreaking. Scholars of Romanticism are likely to know of scattered references to the death penalty, but few, I think, will have known before reading Canuel's provocative book of its pervasiveness as an issue of concern."-- Celeste Langan, author of Romantic Vagrancy: Wordsworth and the Simulation of Freedom " The Shadow of Death derives its strength and originality from pinpointing the persistent power--political and aesthetic--of punishment in British Romantic writing. In a series of energetic and ingenious readings of works written in an age pervaded by the rhetoric of penal reform, Canuel calls attention to various 'negotiations' between the logics of reform and sanctioned murder in order to show their inevitable mutuality. Another significant feature of Canuel's argument is the strong link between the exercise of the Romantic imagination and the exercise of corporal punishment. This is itself a forceful argument, and an original one, made in often unpredictable ways. The topic and major arguments of this book ought to be of interest not simply to scholars of the period, but also to those interested in the larger philosophical and political debates surrounding the death penalty."-- Mary A. Favret, author of Romantic Correspondence: Women, Politics, and the Fiction of Letters
Flap Copy
"Canuel's book is well researched and groundbreaking. Scholars of Romanticism are likely to know of scattered references to the death penalty, but few, I think, will have known before reading Canuel's provocative book of its pervasiveness as an issue of concern."--Celeste Langan, author of Romantic Vagrancy: Wordsworth and the Simulation of Freedom " The Shadow of Death derives its strength and originality from pinpointing the persistent power--political and aesthetic--of punishment in British Romantic writing. In a series of energetic and ingenious readings of works written in an age pervaded by the rhetoric of penal reform, Canuel calls attention to various 'negotiations' between the logics of reform and sanctioned murder in order to show their inevitable mutuality. Another significant feature of Canuel's argument is the strong link between the exercise of the Romantic imagination and the exercise of corporal punishment. This is itself a forceful argument, and an original one, made in often unpredictable ways. The topic and major arguments of this book ought to be of interest not simply to scholars of the period, but also to those interested in the larger philosophical and political debates surrounding the death penalty."--Mary A. Favret, author of Romantic Correspondence: Women, Politics, and the Fiction of Letters
Reviews
Review Quotes
Canuel's book is well researched and groundbreaking. Scholars of Romanticism are likely to know of scattered references to the death penalty, but few, I think, will have known before reading Canuel's provocative book of its pervasiveness as an issue of concern.
The Shadow of Deathderives its strength and originality from pinpointing the persistent power--political and aesthetic--of punishment in British Romantic writing. In a series of energetic and ingenious readings of works written in an age pervaded by the rhetoric of penal reform, Canuel calls attention to various 'negotiations' between the logics of reform and sanctioned murder in order to show their inevitable mutuality. Another significant feature of Canuel's argument is the strong link between the exercise of the Romantic imagination and the exercise of corporal punishment. This is itself a forceful argument, and an original one, made in often unpredictable ways. The topic and major arguments of this book ought to be of interest not simply to scholars of the period, but also to those interested in the larger philosophical and political debates surrounding the death penalty.
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Summaries
Bowker Data Service Summary
'The Shadow of Death' argues that British novels and poetry of the Romantic period participated in the opposition to the death penalty and in the reform of penal law.
Main Description
The Shadow of Deathis a timely and ambitious reassessment of English Romantic literature and the unique role it played in one of the great liberal political causes of the modern age. Mark Canuel argues that Romantic writers in Great Britain led one of the earliest assaults on the death penalty and were instrumental in bringing about penal-law reforms. He demonstrates how writers like Percy Bysshe Shelley, Lord Byron, William Wordsworth, and Jane Austen defined the fundamental contradictions that continue to inform today's debates about capital punishment. Celebrated reformers like Sir Samuel Romilly and William Ewart campaigned against the widespread use of death to punish crimes ranging from murder to petty theft, but they were most influential for initiating a system of penalties built upon conflicting motivations and justifications. Canuel examines the ways Romantic poets and novelists magnified these tensions while treating them as uniquely aesthetic opportunities, seized upon contending rationales of punishment to express imaginative power, and revealed how the imagination fueled the new penal code's disturbing vitality. Death-penalty reform, Canuel argues, in fact emerged from a new way of thinking about punishment as a negotiation among rationales rather than a seamless whole, with leniency and severity constantly at odds. He concludes by exploring how Romantic penal reform continues to influence contemporary views about the justice--and injustice--of legal sanctions.
Main Description
The Shadow of Death is a timely and ambitious reassessment of English Romantic literature and the unique role it played in one of the great liberal political causes of the modern age. Mark Canuel argues that Romantic writers in Great Britain led one of the earliest assaults on the death penalty and were instrumental in bringing about penal-law reforms. He demonstrates how writers like Percy Bysshe Shelley, Lord Byron, William Wordsworth, and Jane Austen defined the fundamental contradictions that continue to inform today's debates about capital punishment. Celebrated reformers like Sir Samuel Romilly and William Ewart campaigned against the widespread use of death to punish crimes ranging from murder to petty theft, but they were most influential for initiating a system of penalties built upon conflicting motivations and justifications. Canuel examines the ways Romantic poets and novelists magnified these tensions while treating them as uniquely aesthetic opportunities, seized upon contending rationales of punishment to express imaginative power, and revealed how the imagination fueled the new penal code's disturbing vitality. Death-penalty reform, Canuel argues, in fact emerged from a new way of thinking about punishment as a negotiation among rationales rather than a seamless whole, with leniency and severity constantly at odds. He concludes by exploring how Romantic penal reform continues to influence contemporary views about the justice--and injustice--of legal sanctions.
Table of Contents
Illustrationsp. ix
Acknowledgmentsp. xi
Abbreviationsp. xiii
Introduction: Cain's Legacy, Nietzsche's Complaintp. 1
"The Horrors of My Dreams"p. 11
Uncertain Providence and Certain Punishment: Hannah Morep. 34
"Shuddering o'er the Grave": Wordsworth, Poetry, and the Punishment of Deathp. 55
Jane Austen, the Romantic Novel, and the Importance of Being Wrongp. 81
Coleridge, Shelley, and the Poetics of Consciencep. 115
The Two Abolitionsp. 142
Coda: The Culture of the Death Penaltyp. 168
Notesp. 177
Selected Bibliographyp. 193
Indexp. 203
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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