Posts in "Romantic Politics"

Colin Jager, Unquiet Things: Secularism in the Romantic Age (U of Pennsylvania Press, 2014). 344 pp. (Hdbk. and ebook, $75.00; cloth ISBN 978-0-8122-4664-3, ebook ISBN 978-0-8122-9040-0).

Daniel Larson
University of Colorado Boulder

Secularism is not first and foremost about religion,” Colin Jager emphasizes early in Unquiet Things; more than its antipode, religion, secularism is concerned with “power—its consolidation and streamlining, its dispersal and diffusion” (7, emphasis original). Still, as Jager notes, one of the aims of secularism is to circumscribe religion, to confine it within a safe hermeneutic space. Unquiet Things spans secularism’s violent roots in the English Reformation to an imagined future after the secular/sacred binary, engaging the various subject positions, philosophical and linguistic constraints, and political structures that arise particularly in “romantic-era writers [who] were among the first to confront the secular world” (246). Drawing his primary metaphor from Coleridge’s “Frost At Midnight,” Jager likens the articulation of...

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