Material Transgressions reveals how Romantic-era authors think outside of historical and theoretical ideologies that reiterate notions of sexed bodies, embodied subjectivities, isolated things, or stable texts. The essays gathered here examine how Romantic writers rethink materiality, especially the subject-object relationship, in order to challenge the tenets of Enlightenment and the culture of sensibility that privileged the hegemony of the speaking and feeling lyric subject and to undo supposedly invariable matter, and representations of it, that limited their writing, agency, knowledge, and even being. In this volume, the idea of transgression serves as a flexible and capacious discursive and material movement that braids together fluid forms of affect, embodiment, and textuality. The texts explored offer alternative understandings of materiality that move beyond concepts that fix gendered bodies and intellectual capacities, whether human or textual, idea or thing. They enact processes – assemblages, ghost dances, pack mentality, reiterative writing, shapeshifting, multi-voiced choric oralities – that redefine restrictive structures in order to craft alternative modes of being in the world that can help us to reimagine materiality both in the Romantic period and now. Such dynamism not only reveals a new materialist imaginary for Romanticism but also unveils textualities, affects, figurations, and linguistic movements that alter new materialism’s often strictly ontological approach.
List of contributors: Kate Singer, Ashley Cross, Suzanne L. Barnett, Harriet Kramer Linkin, Michael Gamer, Katrina O’Loughlin, Emily J. Dolive, Holly Gallagher, Jillian Heydt-Stevenson, Mary Beth Tegan, Mark Lounibos, Sonia Hofkosh, David Sigler, Chris Washington, Donelle Ruwe, Mark Lussier.