The Politics of Enchantment: Romanticism, Media, and Cultural Studies


200 pages
Contains Bibliography, Index
ISBN 0-88920-404-7
DDC 306'.01




Reviewed by Susan McKnight

Susan McKnight is an administrator of the Courts Technology Integrated Justice Project at the Ontario Ministry of the Attorney General.


J. David Black is an assistant professor of communication studies at
Wilfrid Laurier University. The central thesis of his book is that
today’s culture represents a return to the early German
Romantics—the poets, artists, and philosophers who sought to restore
art and beauty to a world bereft of esthetic principles. For Black, the
Romantics were not just dreamers living in a fantasy world: “Art was
life because culture was the means to directly fashion a conscious world
within which one lived.”

In discussing the role of the Romantics in the 18th century, Black
draws clear distinctions between the serious-minded early German
Romantics and the more utopian-minded English Romantics who followed
them. He discusses the treatment of Romantics by culture critics such as
Raymond Williams, Stuart Hall, F.R. Leavis, E.P. Thompson, and Terry
Eagleton. He applies his own theories to communications, language,
media, and politics.

Black concludes this well-documented and inspiring book with the
observation that “reviving and adapting key romantic concepts for
cultural criticism might make a small difference toward restoring to the
world a little of its lost, ancient magic.”


Black, J. David., “The Politics of Enchantment: Romanticism, Media, and Cultural Studies,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed May 21, 2024,