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The Blind and Blindness in Literature of the Romantic Period$
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Edward Larrissy

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780748632817

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748632817.001.0001

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The Enigma of the Blind

The Enigma of the Blind

(p.1) Chapter 1 The Enigma of the Blind
The Blind and Blindness in Literature of the Romantic Period

Edward Larrissy

Edinburgh University Press

This chapter discusses the possible influence of the blind on the philosophical discussions and literary representations of Romantic-period writing, and supposes that the image of the blind man is relevant of the acute historical self-consciousness of the Romantic period. It also studies the ‘ancient’ topos of the blind seer, and considers Ann Batten Cristall's Poetical Sketches as an example of the use of the idea of inward vision. The chapter then studies John Milton's image of the inspired blind poet, and, finally, discusses auditory compensation, a recurrent topos of the Romantic and Enlightenment periods, and the importance of vision in accounts of experience and knowledge.

Keywords:   blind, influence, philosophical discussions, literary representations, Romantic-period writing, self-consciousness, blind seer, John Milton, auditory compensation, vision

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