Leonardo Alenza, "Satire of Romantic Suicide," ca. 1839, Madrid, Spain.

Leonardo Alenza, "Satire of Romantic Suicide," ca. 1839, Madrid, Spain.




Moving beyond readings of suicide as an index of Romanticism's fascination with tragic or mad genius, this monograph demonstrates how Romantic-era writers in England and across the Atlantic world engaged the idea suicide to interrogate the roots of racial inequality based in liberal political philosophies. Death Rights argues that the commonplace narrative of so-called Romantic suicide emerged, in part, as a reaction against the racialized narratives that this project brings forward. By reading the aesthetic and political interests of British Romanticism alongside literatures and cultures of the Black Atlantic, Death Rights allows us to understand anew transatlantic Romanticism, reorienting the field as conventionally and narrowly defined so as to open conversations with Black Studies, Critical Race Theory, and other scholarly fields with which the field has not traditionally engaged.

Early parts of this project were recognized with awards from the International Conference on Romanticism and the North American Society for the Study of Romanticism. Essays from this ongoing work appear in European Romantic Review and Essays in Romanticism.

This project is supported by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this book, do not necessarily represent those of the NEH.