"With breathtaking scholarship, solid erudition, and distinctively clear prose, Richard Sha shows us the place of perversity in Romantic aesthetics. He links aesthetics and sexuality by showing how 'resistance to function can be the basis of a meaningful critique of society.' By linking these previously binarily opposed terms, Sha is able to embrace the perverse and show us how it becomes a central motivating force behind Romantic thought. As a result Romanticism is reimagined here, as Sha says, 'from the ground up.' This is a groundbreaking study that will change our understanding of the major Romantic writers and the field of Romanticism itself." -- George E. Haggerty, University of California, Riverside
"Sha addresses the ways in which Romantic literature advocated purposelessness in both aesthetics and sexual pleasure: art for art's sake and sex for the sake of sex. His analysis is original and insightful." -- Frederick Burwick, University of California, Los Angeles
"An impressive display of Sha's masterful grasp of a wide range of scholarly literature, and a provocative thesis that will be of interest to academics in all three fields." -- Katie Gray, H-Net Reviews
"Sha brings to these topics a keen intelligence buttressed by up-to-the-minute scholarship... He dazzles by the quantity and breadth of his reading and embodies the best interdisciplinary approaches so many scholars tout but rarely incorporate." -- George Rousseau, Social History of Medicine
"His theoretical insights come together with acute readings and strong historical research." -- Times Literary Supplement
"Richard C. Sha's fine study takes Byron's theme of 'perversion' in a different direction from the ethical, demonstrating how Romantic medical writing about the perverse influenced literary Romanticism.... Fascinating book." -- Byron Journal
About the Author
Richard C. Sha is a professor of literature at American University and author of The Visual and Verbal Sketch in British Romanticism.