The Byron Journal

Stories in Stones

The Byron Journal (2020), 48, (2), 101–117.

Abstract

Stones are everywhere in Romantic poetry. And they can stir as intentional objects when (to call on Coleridge for the animations of poetry) ‘there is a meditative and feeling mind to seek after them, or to notice them, when they present themselves’ (Biographia Literaria). Between psychological animation and stubborn materiality stirs yet another behaviour, a ‘vibrant materiality’ that has ethical philosopher Jane Bennett wondering about things (stones included) as actants independent of human wants and purposes. Yet it takes human agency, human purposes even (a Bennett-bend), to consider unconsidering things this way. ‘Stories in Stones’ is a story of Shelley, Wordsworth, Byron, and Keats all tuned into the paradox.

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Author details

Wolfson, Susan J.