Russell, David J
“Our Debt to Lamb”: The Romantic Essay and the Emergence of Tact
Teil von
  • ELH, 2012, Vol.79(1), pp.179-209
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The first decades of the nineteenth century experienced unprecedented rates of growth in population and urbanization, and increasing confusion in social valuation.7 This confusion was at once anxious, as the truth about other people could not be grasped as firmly as before, but also full of potential, as many different truths, and ways of handling people, became plausible. in response, the romantic essay sought to succeed the conduct book, presenting social conventions as forms to be used and not doctrine to be obeyed. social convention remains, but it is no longer felt to be total and totalizing; there are gaps in it, room for the maneuver by which one might make social forms one's own.8 The OED credits stewart with the first use of "tact" to mean a practice of sociability in 1793.9 He observed that the french found a need for tact-for a person's capacity to "feel his way" among others- in the context of the immense upheaval of the french revolution and the ensuing Terror. stewart's use...
ISSN: 0013-8304
ISSN: 1080-6547
DOI: 10.1353/elh.2012.0004
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