**Change in Termcard**
He will be speaking on 'Romantic Entanglements'
The term “entanglement” comes from the Old Norse (tang) for a kind of seaweed. In
Middle English (tangil, tangyl) it became primarily a social or legal term; someone
“entangled” someone else by encumbering, hampering or embarrassing them in human
affairs—legal, financial, social. Entanglement thereby implies a connection both material
and immaterial, and that also does not form a unity. It is more often a kind of burden, a
half-unwanted but seemingly necessary connection; it therefore registers an anxiety or
unease largely absent from a more settled or conventional notion such as “Wholeness” or
In this talk I will trace a history of this trope which, I argue, becomes particularly amplified
in Romantic and proto-Romantic texts. If in Enlightenment discourses—from empiricist
philosophies of mind, to political theory, to medicine—entanglement is most often used
as a metaphor to describe confusion or metaphysical extravagance, in the Romantic era
entanglement becomes a self-consciously employed concept used to explore a range of
issues. I will focus, in particular, on work by Sterne, Rousseau, Shelley and Wordsworth.