• Etherotopia or a country in the mind: bridging the gap between utopias and nirvanas

      Callow, Christos Jr; Birkbeck, University of London (Routledge, 2015-02-28)
      Joyce Hertzler concludes his History of Utopian Thought with the phrase ‘Utopia is not a social state it is a state of mind’. Other utopian scholars would argue that the truth is exactly the opposite, that utopia is a purely social matter. There seems to be a false dilemma here where one must choose between two, seemingly conflicting, schools of utopian thinking: social utopias and private ones. In John Carey’s words, ‘Whereas most utopias reform the world, some reform the self’. He says of the later that these ‘solitary utopians are Robinson Crusoes of the mind, inventing islands for themselves to inhabit’ and that they are very unlike ‘normal, public-spirited utopians’. In this essay Christos Callow Jr explores the potential of a utopia that reforms both world and self and proposes Etherotopia as its name.
    • The poet as sage, sage as poet in 1816: Aesthetics and epistemology in Percy Bysshe Shelley’s ‘Hymn to Intellectual Beauty’

      Whickman, Paul; University of Derby (Taylor & Francis, 2016-09-02)
      Philosophy and poetry for Shelley are considered as inter-related or even interchangeable. Nevertheless, critics have often struggled to reconcile the two sides of the figure of Shelley; the Romantic poet and the Enlightenment-inspired sceptical philosopher. If, in a Lockean sense, language is both an imperfect conveyor of knowledge and, as for Thomas Paine, the tool of tyranny, then this raises the question of how Shelley is to operate as a poet. Focusing on ‘Hymn to Intellectual Beauty’, this essay considers not only how Shelley’s philosophy is thematically an aspect of the poem but also how this manifests itself aesthetically. The philosophical problem of the relationship between language and knowledge, this essay contends, is an aesthetic one. Aesthetics and epistemology therefore intersect in the poem, overcoming the perceived tension between Shelley as poet and Shelley as philosopher.