“Modernity as Addiction in S.T. Coleridge and Walter Benjamin”

Apr. 4, 2024, 6:00 p.m.

Rockefeller Hall, Room 200

A Lecture by Andrea Timár (Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest, Hungary; Fulbright Scholar, Brown University) 

It is well known that Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772–1834) was addicted to opium. In this talk, Professor Timár discusses how the conservative Coleridge theorized his opium habit in the context of his post-Enlightenment take on what it means to be “human,” and she argues that independently from his discourse on opium, another discourse emerges from Coleridge’s writings, which she calls the discourse of addiction. Taking Walter Benjamin’s analyses of modernity and the addict as a “traumatophile type” for her starting point, Professor Timár shows how Coleridge relates his contemporaries’ craving for stimuli to the emergence of a “civilization in excess,” which poses a political threat to his Romantic ideal of “cultivated” humanity.

Andrea Timár is Associate Professor at the Department of English Studies, Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest, Hungary. Timár works at the crossroads of literature, philosophy, and politics. Her first monograph, A Modern Coleridge: Cultivation, Addiction, Habits was nominated for the First Book Prize by the British Association for Romantic Studies. Currently, she has a volume of essays in press, Figures of Contagion and Distance (In Hungarian: Fertőzés és a távolságtartás alakzatai), and is working on a book, in English, on Hannah Arendt, tentatively entitled Reading with Arendt.

Sponsored by the Department of English, Global Nineteenth-Century Studies Program, and the Dean of Faculty Office.

Campus community only, please.

Headshot of Andrea Timár
Andrea Timár