Carl-Ludwig ConningPhD student
My thesis explores the notion of “the imperfect” in British and American Romantic literature. The project takes its outset in Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s and Ralph Waldo Emerson’s respective engagements with the discourse on the imperfect, one which can be traced back through the long eighteenth century’s British and German aesthetic and philosophical writings on the place of imperfection in literature, arts, science, and theology. My work seeks to establish the imperfect as a key term which can help us examine disparate shaping strands within Romanticism, particularly with regards to those continuously difficult areas of inquiry as the sublime, the beautiful, the fragment, the ruin, and the gothic. I am interested in thinking through the imperfect both backwards and forwards in history from the first generation of British Romantics, by reading them in relation to their British and Continental predecessors as well as in relation to the Romantic afterlives with the New England transcendentalists. This methodology provides an understanding of Romanticism as a cultural practice more nuanced and prevalent in Western history, yet at once less independent of earlier eighteenth century ideas, than what has usually been attributed to it.
I received my MA degree in English literature from Uppsala University in 2019, with a degree project on weather in the works of Percy Bysshe Shelley. I began as a PhD student of English literature at Stockholm University in the fall of 2020.