Victorians Reading the Romantics: Essays by U. C. Knoepflmacher, edited by LindaM. Shires, offers a compelling new perspective on the long and influential publishing career and thought of Knoepflmacher, a leading critic of the novel and Victorian poetry. This volume draws together essays on nineteenth-century literature written between 1963 and 2012.An introductory essay and new scaffolding emphasize the interrelations among the essays, which together form a consistent approach to literary criticism.
Knoepflmacher’s vision of texts and readersstressesthe emotional knowledge afforded by reading, writing about, and teaching literary texts.Each chapter links Romantic texts to those of later writers. Shelley and Keats try to revise Wordsworth, but they are themselves recast by Browning and Hardy. Similarly, George Eliot and Virginia Woolf’s reliance on Romantic tropes are fruitfully examined. Above all, however, these chapters stress the impact of Wordsworth on his many contemporaries and successors. Knoepflmacher probes into their texts to find, as Wordsworth did, a momentaryfusionof opposites.He posits a reader who is flexible—able to move in multiple directions by paying attention to spatial, verbal, and imagistic coordinates, across and down a page.Given the attention paid tothe translation of affect into thought,this collectionwillcontribute to Victorian studiesas well as enhance our understanding of the affective dynamics of nineteenth-century literature.