S-Space College of Humanities (인문대학) Institute of Humanities (인문학연구원) Journal of humanities (인문논총) Journal of Humanities vol.46 (2002) (인문논총)
"문학"과 낭만주의: 문화론자들의 "문학" 비판 다시 읽기 : "Literature" and Romanticism: Rereading Culturalist Critique of Literature
- Issue Date
- 서울대학교 인문대학 인문학연구원
- 인문논총, Vol.46, pp. 113-132
- Terry Eagleton's demystification of the concept of literature has become a rallying point for the proponents of cultural studies. On the strength of this demystification, they have criticized the English department which have uncritically accepted the idealist concept of literature. The proponents of cultural studies have also demonstrated quite convincingly that the idealist concept of literature is thoroughly ideological. What has been taken for granted in this eager demolition of the concept of literature is its Romantic origin. This paper argues that the concept of literature as defined by the proponents of cultural studies cannot be attributed to the Romantic period. The traces of Romantic poets are there, but their idealistic tendencies were amplified by the lenses of German Romanticism which became influential in Britain only after the 1830s. It further argues that the so-called Romantic concept of literature was a Victorian rather than a Romantic cultural construct; 1. S. Mill, an eminent Victorian utilitarian, was more influential in propagating the concept of literature than the Romantic poets. In addition, there should be a distinction made between Romantic poets and the Romantic Artist: the former are particular individuals whereas the latter is a cultural construct which came hand in hand with the concept of autonomous and transcendental literature. In criticizing the concept of literature, the proponents of cultural studies have confined Romanticism to literature. This is not a wise move for cultural studies. Romanticism is a wide-ranging cultural phenomena which legitimates the search for pleasure, and, therefore, is closely related to the rise of consumer society. It will be much more rewarding for cultural studies to take interest in Romanticism in this larger context rather than to relegate it to the realm of "literature" as defined by themselves.