A collection of essays highlighting the pervasive, yet often unacknowledged, role of Romantic poetry and poetics on modern and contemporary innovative poetry
Literary history generally locates the primary movement toward poetic innovation in twentieth-century modernism, an impulse carried out against a supposedly enervated “late-Romantic” poetry of the nineteenth century. The original essays in Active Romanticism challenge this interpretation by tracing the fundamental continuities between Romanticism’s poetic and political radicalism and the experimental movements in poetry from the late nineteenth century to the present day.
According to editors July Carr and Jeffrey C. Robinson, “active romanticism” is a poetic response, direct or indirect, to pressing social issues and an attempt to redress forms of ideological repression; at its core, “active romanticism” champions democratic pluralism and confronts ideologies that suppress the evidence of pluralism. “Poetry fetter’d, fetters the human race,” declared poet William Blake at the beginning of the nineteenth century. No other statement from the era of the French Revolution marks with such terseness the challenge for poetry to participate in the liberation of human society from forms of inequality and invisibility. No other statement insists so vividly that a poetic event pushing for social progress demands the unfettering of traditional, customary poetic form and language.
Bringing together work by well-known writers and critics, ranging from scholarly studies to poets’ testimonials, Active Romanticism shows Romantic poetry not to be the sclerotic corpse against which the avant-garde reacted but rather the wellspring from which it flowed.
Offering a fundamental rethinking of the history of modern poetry, Carr and Robinson have grouped together in this collection a variety of essays that confirm the existence of Romanticism as an ongoing mode of poetic production that is innovative and dynamic, a continuation of the nineteenth-century Romantic tradition, and a form that reacts and renews itself at any given moment of perceived social crisis.
Dan Beachy-Quick / Julie Carr / Jacques Darras / Rachel Blau DuPlessis / Judith Goldman / Simon Jarvis / Andrew Joron / Nigel Leask / Jennifer Moxley / Bob Perelman / Jeffrey C. Robinson / Jerome Rothenberg / Elizabeth Willis / and Heriberto Yépez
Between the political revolutions of 1789 and 1848 no other subject so directly challenged the notion of "good taste" in literature as food. To be "in good taste," a work of the high style excluded references to literal taste; culinary allusions in tragedy and lyric poetry therefore represented an ironic attack on literary decorum and a liberation from the constraints of figurative taste.
In The Ambiguity of Taste, Jocelyne Kolb attempts to define changes in genre and metaphorical usage by undertaking close readings of six authors. She looks first at Molière and Fielding, whose culinary allusions herald poetic revolution but whose works do not themselves escape the limits of a neoclassical aesthetic. Byron and Heine, known as renegades, are treated in separate chapters and in the greatest detail. The penultimate chapter joins Goethe and Hugo as champions of poetic freedom, and in the final chapter Kolb briefly considers Thomas Mann and Proust, whose works display the gains of poetic revolution.
This book will be savored by students of comparative literature and European Romanticism. Its accessible style will tempt nonspecialists and food enthusiasts as well.
Jocelyne Kolb is Professor of German Studies, Smith College. This book was the winner of the 1995 American Conference on Romanticism Book Prize.
"This book can take its place on the shelf beside Henry Nash Smith's Virgin Land and Leo Marx's The Machine in the Garden."—Choice
"[Gilmore] demonstrates the profound, sustained, engagement with society embodied in the works of Emerson, Hawthorne, Thoreau and Melville. In effect, he relocates the American Renaissance where it properly belongs, at the centre of a broad social, economic, and ideological movement from the Jacksonian era to the Civil War. Basically, Gilmore's argument concerns the writers' participation in what Thoreau called 'the curse of trade.' He details their mixed resistance to and complicity in the burgeoning literary marketplace and, by extension, the entire ' economic revolution' which between 1830 and 1860 'transformed the United States into a market society'. . . .
"The result is a model of literary-historical revisionism. Gilmore's opening chapters on Emerson and Thoreau show that 'transcendental' thought and language can come fully alive when understood within the material processes and ideological constraints of their time. . . . The remaining five chapters, on Hawthorne and Melville, contain some of the most penetrating recent commentaries on the aesthetic strategies of American Romantic fiction, presented within and through some of the most astute, thoughtful considerations I know of commodification and the 'democratic public' in mid-nineteenth-century America. . . . Practically and methodologically, American Romanticism and the Marketplace has a significant place in the movement towards a new American literary history. It places Gilmore at the forefront of a new generation of critics who are not just reinterpreting familiar texts or discovering new texts to interpret, but reshaping our ways of thinking about literature and culture."—Sacvan Bercovitch, Times Literary Supplement
"Gilmore writes with energy, clarity, and wit. The reader is enriched by this book." William H. Shurr, American Literature
The Arbiters of Reality: Hawthorne, Melville, and the Rise of Mass Information Culture disrupts our critical sense of nineteenth-century American literature by examining the storytelling strategies of both Nathaniel Hawthorne and Herman Melville in light of an emerging information industry. Peter West reveals how these writers invoked telegraphic and penny press journalism, daguerreotypy, and moving panoramas in their fiction to claim for themselves a privileged access to a reality beyond the reach of a burgeoning mass audience.
Locating Hawthorne and Melville in vivid and overlooked contexts—the Salem Murder scandal of 1830, which transformed Hawthorne's quiet city into a media-manufactured spectacle, and Melville's New York City of 1846–47, where the American Telegraph was powerfully articulating a nation at war—West portrays the romance as a reactive, deeply rhetorical literary form and a rich historical artifact.
In the early twenty-first century, it has become a postmodern cliché to place the word “reality” in scare quotes. The Arbiters of Reality suggests that attending to the construction of the real in public life is more than simply a language of critique: it must also be understood as a specific kind of romantic self-invention.
The critical literary world has spent a wealth of thought and words on the question of Hawthorne himself: Where does he stand in his works? In history? In literary tradition? In this major new study, G. R. Thompson recasts the "Hawthorne question" to show how authorial presence in the writer's works is as much a matter of art as the writing itself. The Hawthorne who emerges from this masterful analysis is not, as has been supposed, identical to the provincial narrator of his early tales; instead he is revealed to be the skillful manipulator of that narrative voice, an author at an ironic distance from the tales he tells. By focusing on the provincial tales as they were originally conceived--as a narrative cycle--Thompson is able to recover intertextual references that reveal Hawthorne's preoccupation with framing strategies and variations on authorial presence. The author shows how Hawthorne deliberately constructs sentimental narratives, only to deconstruct them. Thompson's analysis provides a new aesthetic context for understanding the whole shape of Hawthorne's career as well as the narrative, ethical, and historical issues within individual works. Revisionary in its view of one of America's greatest authors, The Art of Authorial Presence also offers invaluable insight into the problems of narratology and historiography, ethics and psychology, romanticism and idealism, and the cultural myths of America.
Art of Darkness is an ambitious attempt to describe the principles governing Gothic literature. Ranging across five centuries of fiction, drama, and verse—including tales as diverse as Horace Walpole's The Castle of Otranto, Shelley's Frankenstein, Coleridge's The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, and Freud's The Mysteries of Enlightenment—Anne Williams proposes three new premises: that Gothic is "poetic," not novelistic, in nature; that there are two parallel Gothic traditions, Male and Female; and that the Gothic and the Romantic represent a single literary tradition.
Building on the psychoanalytic and feminist theory of Julia Kristeva, Williams argues that Gothic conventions such as the haunted castle and the family curse signify the fall of the patriarchal family; Gothic is therefore "poetic" in Kristeva's sense because it reveals those "others" most often identified with the female. Williams identifies distinct Male and Female Gothic traditions: In the Male plot, the protagonist faces a cruel, violent, and supernatural world, without hope of salvation. The Female plot, by contrast, asserts the power of the mind to comprehend a world which, though mysterious, is ultimately sensible. By showing how Coleridge and Keats used both Male and Female Gothic, Williams challenges accepted notions about gender and authorship among the Romantics. Lucidly and gracefully written, Art of Darkness alters our understanding of the Gothic tradition, of Romanticism, and of the relations between gender and genre in literary history.
Mikhail Lermontov (1814-1841) is one of Russia's most prominent poets--and one of its most puzzling. In this radically new interpretation, David Powelstock reveals how the seeming contradictions in Lermontov's life and works can be understood as manifestations of a coherent worldview.
By bringing to light Lermontov's operative version of Romantic individualism, Powelstock is able to make sense of the poet's relationship to "romantic irony," his highly modern concept of the reader (both real, and implied in the text), and his vexed passion for his predecessor Alexander Pushkin--a relationship that is almost always treated sentimentally, but is here given its true competitive edge. Furthermore, Powelstock offers the most persuasive account ever given of Lermontov's exceptionally odd treatment of, and success with, women--both in real life and in fiction--and of his cruel overlapping of these two planes.
Clarifying what has remained perplexing for so long, and correcting what has been misinterpreted, Powelstock's work illuminates Lermontov's views of dignity, death, love, nature, society, and ethics--and, finally, gives us an intellectual biography that is deeper and more subtle than any written before.
In this abridgment of his monumental study, Berlioz and the Romantic Century, Jacques Barzun recounts the events and extraordinary achievements of the great composer's life against the background of the romantic era. As the author eloquently demonstrates, Berloiz was an archetype whose destiny was the story of an age, the incarnation of an artistic style and a historical spirit. "In order to understand the nineteenth century, it is essential to understand Berlioz," notes W. H. Auden, "and in order to understand Berlioz, it is essential to read Professor Barzun."
Chic Ironic Bitterness
R. Jay Magill, Jr. University of Michigan Press, 2007 Library of Congress E169.12.M15 2007 | Dewey Decimal 973
A brilliant and timely reflection on irony in contemporary American culture
“This book is a powerful and persuasive defense of sophisticated irony and subtle humor that contributes to the possibility of a genuine civic trust and democratic life. R. Jay Magill deserves our congratulations for a superb job!”
—Cornel West, University Professor, Princeton University
“A well-written, well-argued assessment of the importance of irony in contemporary American social life, along with the nature of recent misguided attacks and, happily, a deep conviction that irony is too important in our lives to succumb. The book reflects wide reading, varied experience, and real analytical prowess.”
—Peter Stearns, Provost, George Mason University
“Somehow, Americans—a pragmatic and colloquial lot, for the most part—are now supposed to speak the Word, without ironic embellishment, in order to rebuild the civic culture. So irony’s critics decide it has become ‘worthy of moral condemnation.’ Magill pushes back against this new conventional wisdom, eloquently defending a much livelier American sensibility than the many apologists for a somber ‘civic culture’ could ever acknowledge."
—William Chaloupka, Chair and Professor, Department of Political Science, Colorado State University
The events of 9/11 had many pundits on the left and right scrambling to declare an end to the Age of Irony. But six years on, we're as ironic as ever. From The Simpsons and Borat to The Daily Show and The Colbert Report, the ironic worldview measures out a certain cosmopolitan distance, keeping hypocrisy and threats to personal integrity at bay.
Chic Ironic Bitterness is a defense of this detachment, an attitude that helps us preserve values such as authenticity, sincerity, and seriousness that might otherwise be lost in a world filled with spin, marketing, and jargon. And it is an effective counterweight to the prevailing conservative view that irony is the first step toward cynicism and the breakdown of Western culture.
R. Jay Magill, Jr., is a writer and illustrator whose work has appeared in American Prospect, American Interest, Atlantic Monthly, Foreign Policy, International Herald Tribune, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Print, amongother periodicals and books. A former Harvard Teaching Fellow and Executive Editor of DoubleTake, he holds a Ph.D. in American Studies from the University of Hamburg in Germany. This is his first book.
City of the Soul critically examines how an international cast of visitors fashioned Rome’s image, visual and literary, in the century between 1770 and 1870—from the era of the Grand Tour to the onset of mass tourism. The Eternal City emerges not only as an intensely physical place but also as a romantic idea onto which artists and writers projected their own imaginations and longings. The book will appeal to a wide audience of readers interested in the history of art, architecture, and photography, the Romantic poets, and other writers from Byron to Henry James. It will also attract the interest of historians of urbanism, landscape, and Italy. Nonspecialists and armchair travelers will enjoy the diverse literary and artistic responses to Rome.
In this innovative new study, Sean Franzel charts the concurrent emergence of German Romantic pedagogy, the modern research university, and modern visions of the politically engaged scholar. At the heart of the pedagogy of Immanuel Kant, Johann Gottlieb Fichte, K. P. Moritz, A. W. Schlegel, Adam Müller, and others was the lecture, with its ability to attract listeners and to model an ideal discursive community, reflecting an era of revolution, reform, and literary, philosophical, and scientific innovation.
Along with exploring the striking preoccupation of Romantic thinkers with the lecture and with its reverberations in print, Franzel argues that accounts of scholarly speech from this period have had a lasting impact on how the pedagogy, institutions, and medial manifestations of modern scholarship continue to be understood.
"Sean Franzel’s archaeology illuminates both the bourgeois public sphere and discourse network 1800 by showing the romantic lecture to be the key cultural form in a pivotal moment of German intellectual history, a history long obsessed with the mediation of oral discourse and written text."—John Durham Peters, author of Speaking into the Air
In Culture, Genre, and Literary Vocation, Michael Davitt Bell charts the important and often overlooked connection between literary culture and authors' careers. Bell's influential essays on nineteenth-century American writers—originally written for such landmark projects as The Columbia Literary History of the United States and The Cambridge History of American Literature—are gathered here with a major new essay on Richard Wright.
Throughout, Bell revisits issues of genre with an eye toward the unexpected details of authors' lives, and invites us to reconsider the hidden functions that terms such as "romanticism" and "realism" served for authors and their critics. Whether tracing the demands of the market or the expectations of readers, Bell examines the intimate relationship between literary production and culture; each essay closely links the milieu in which American writers worked with the trajectory of their storied careers.
Dostoevsky and Romantic Realism is Donald Fanger's groundbreaking study of the art of Dostoevsky and the literary and historical context in which it was created. Through detailed analyses of the work of Balzac, Dickens, and Gogol, Fanger identifies romantic realism, the transformative fusion of two generic categories, as a powerful imaginary response to the great modern city. This fusion reaches its aesthetic and metaphysical climax in Dostoevsky, whose vision culminating in Crime and Punishment is seen by Fanger as the final synthesis of romantic realism.
At the turn of the nineteenth century, publishing houses in London, New York, Paris, Stuttgart, and Berlin produced books in ever greater numbers. But it was not just the advent of mass printing that created the era’s “bookish” culture. According to Andrew Piper, romantic writing and romantic writers played a crucial role in adjusting readers to this increasingly international and overflowing literary environment. Learning how to use and to want books occurred through more than the technological, commercial, or legal conditions that made the growing proliferation of books possible; the making of such bibliographic fantasies was importantly a product of the symbolic operations contained within books as well.
Examining novels, critical editions, gift books, translations, and illustrated books, as well as the communities who made them, Dreaming in Books tells a wide-ranging story of the book’s identity at the turn of the nineteenth century. In so doing, it shows how many of the most pressing modern communicative concerns are not unique to the digital age but emerged with a particular sense of urgency during the bookish upheavals of the romantic era. In revisiting the book’s rise through the prism of romantic literature, Piper aims to revise our assumptions about romanticism, the medium of the printed book, and, ultimately, the future of the book in our so-called digital age.
Dreaming Revolution usefully employs current critical theory to address how the European novel of class revolt was transformed into the American novel of imperial expansion. Bradfield shows that early American romantic fiction—including works by William Godwin, Charles Brockden Brown, James Fenimore Cooper, and Edgar Allan Poe—can and should be considered as part of a genre too often limited to the nineteenth-century European novel. In a spirited discussion of the works from these four authors, Bradfield argues that Americans take the class dynamics of the European psychological novel and apply them to the American landscape, reimagining psychological spaces as geographical ones.
At the start of the eighteenth century, talk of literary "characters" referred as much to letters and typefaces as it did to persons in books. Yet by the nineteenth century, characters had become the equals of their readers, friends with whom readers might spend time and empathize.
Although the story of this shift is usually told in terms of the "rise of the individual," Deidre Shauna Lynch proposes an ingenious alternative interpretation. Elaborating a "pragmatics of character," Lynch shows how readers used transactions with characters to accommodate themselves to newly commercialized social relations. Searching for the inner meanings of characters allowed readers both to plumb their own inwardness and to distinguish themselves from others. In a culture of mass consumption, argues Lynch, possessing a belief in the inexpressible interior life of a character rendered one's property truly private.
Ranging from Defoe and Smollett to Burney and Austen, Lynch's account will interest students of the novel, literary historians, and anyone concerned with the inner workings of consumer culture and the history of emotions.
Emerson, Romanticism, and Intuitive Reason is a comparative study in transatlantic Romanticism, focusing on Emerson’s part in the American dialogue with British Romanticism and, as filtered through Coleridge, German Idealist philosophy. The book’s guiding theme is the concept of intuitive Reason, which Emerson derived from Coleridge’s distinction between Understanding and Reason and which Emerson associated with that “light of all our day” in his favorite stanza of Wordsworth’s “Ode: Intimations of Immortality.” Intuitive Reason became the intellectual and emotional foundation of American Transcendentalism. That light radiated out to illuminate Emerson’s life and work, as well as the complex and often covert relationship of a writer who, however fiercely “self-reliant” and “original,” was deeply indebted to his transatlantic precursors.
The debt is intellectual and personal. Emerson’s supposed indifference to, or triumph over, repeated familial tragedy is often attributed to his Idealism—a complacent optimism that blinded him to any vision of the tragic. His “art of losing” may be better understood as a tribute to the “healing power,” the consolation in distress, which Emerson considered Wordsworth’s principal value. The second part of this book traces Emerson’s struggle—with the help of the “benignant influence” shed by that “light of all our day”—to confront and overcome personal tragedy, to attain the equilibrium epitomized in Wordsworth’s “Elegiac Stanzas”: “Not without hope we suffer and we mourn.”
As a study in what has been called “the paradox of originality,” the book should appeal to those interested in the Anglo-American Romantic tradition and the innovations of the individual talent—especially in the capacity of a writer such as Emerson not only to absorb his precursors but also to use them as a stimulus to his own creative power.
Eugene McCarraher challenges the conventional view of capitalism as a force for disenchantment. From Puritan and evangelical valorizations of profit to the heavenly Fordist city, the mystically animated corporation, and the deification of the market, capitalism has hijacked our intrinsic longing for divinity, laying hold to our souls.
Many of the writers from 1819, argues James Chandler, were acutely aware not only of their writing's place in history, but also of its place as history—a realization of a literary "spirit of the age" that resonates strongly with the current "return to history" in literary studies. Chandler explores the ties between Romantic and contemporary historicism and offers a series of cases of his own built around key texts from 1819.
"1819? At first sight, it might not seem a 'hot date'; but as James Chandler argues in his powerful book, it would be a mistake to overlook a year of such exceptional political conflagration and literary pyrotechnics in British history. Chandler's study is a wide-ranging, enormously ambitious, densely packed, closely argued work."—John Brewer, New Republic
"The book's largest argument, and the source of its considerable revelations, is that late twentieth-century practices of cultural history-writing have their roots in the peculiar Romantic historicism born in post-Waterloo Britain."—Jon Klancher, Times Literary Supplement
"A monumental work of scholarship."—Terry Eagleton, The Independent
The Global Wordsworth charts the travels of William Wordsworth’s poetry around the English-speaking world. But, as Katherine Bergren shows, Wordsworth’s afterlives reveal more than his influence on other writers; his appearances in novels and essays from the antebellum U.S. to post-Apartheid South Africa change how we understand a poet we think we know. Bergren analyzes writers like Jamaica Kincaid, J. M. Coetzee, and Lydia Maria Child who plant Wordsworth in their own writing and bring him to life in places and times far from his own—and then record what happens. By working beyond narratives of British influence, Bergren highlights a more complex dynamic of international response, in which later writers engage Wordsworth in conversations about slavery and gardening, education and daffodils, landscapes and national belonging. His global reception—critical, appreciative, and ambivalent—inspires us to see that Wordsworth was concerned not just with local, English landscapes and people, but also with their changing place in a rapidly globalizing world. This study demonstrates that Wordsworth is not tangential but rather crucial to our understanding of Global Romanticism.
Published by Bucknell University Press. Distributed worldwide by Rutgers University Press.
These lectures by one of the most influential and original philosophers of the twentieth century constitute a sustained argument for the philosophical basis of romanticism, particularly in its American rendering. Through his examination of such authors as Emerson, Thoreau, Poe, Wordsworth, and Coleridge, Stanley Cavell shows that romanticism and American transcendentalism represent a serious philosophical response to the challenge of skepticism that underlies the writings of Wittgenstein and Austin on ordinary language.
Jasper Cragwall The Ohio State University Press, 2013 Library of Congress PR468.R44C73 2013 | Dewey Decimal 820.9382
Lake Methodism: Polite Literature and Popular Religion in England, 1780-1830, reveals the traffic between Romanticism’s rhetorics of privilege and the most socially toxic religious forms of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. The “Lake Poets,” of whom William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge are the most famous, are often seen as crafters of a poetics of spontaneous inspiration, transcendent imagination, and visionary prophecy, couched within lexicons of experimental simplicity and lyrical concision. But, as Jasper Cragwall argues, such postures and principles were in fact received as the vulgarities of popular Methodism, an insurgent religious movement whose autobiographies, songs, and sermons reached sales figures of which the Lakers could only dream.
With these religious histories, Lake Methodism unsettles canonical Romanticism, reading, for example, the grand declaration opening Wordsworth’s spiritual autobiography—“to the open fields I told a prophecy”—not as poetic self-sanctification, but as a means of embarrassing Methodism, responsible for the suppression of The Prelude for half a century. The book measures this fearful symmetry between Romantic and religious enthusiasms in figures iconic and unfamiliar: John Wesley, Robert Southey, Wordsworth, Coleridge, as well as the eponymous scientist of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, and even Joanna Southcott, an illiterate servant turned latter-day Virgin Mary, who, at the age of sixty-five, mistook a fatal dropsy for the Second Coming of Christ (and so captivated a nation).
Taking cues from Walter Benjamin’s fragmentary writings on literary-historical method, Late Colonial Sublime reconstellates the dialectic of Enlightenment across a wide imperial geography, with special focus on the fashioning of neo-epics in Hindi and Urdu literary cultures in British India. Working through the limits of both Marxism and postcolonial critique, this book forges an innovative approach to the question of late romanticism and grounds categories such as the sublime within the dynamic of commodification. While G. S. Sahota takes canonical European critics such as Theodor Adorno and Max Horkheimer to the outskirts of empire, he reads Indian writers such as Muhammad Iqbal and Jayashankar Prasad in light of the expansion of instrumental rationality and the neotraditional critiques of the West it spurred at the onset of decolonization.
By bringing together distinct literary canons—both metropolitan and colonial, hegemonic and subaltern, Western and Eastern, all of which took shape upon the common realities of imperial capitalism—Late Colonial Sublime takes an original dialectical approach. It experiments with fragments, parallaxes, and constellational form to explore the aporias of modernity as well as the possible futures they may signal in our midst. A bold intervention into contemporary debates that synthesizes a wealth of sources, this book will interest readers and scholars in world literature, critical theory, postcolonial criticism, and South Asian studies.
In this provocative new study, Richard Eldridge presents a highly original and compelling account of Wittgenstein's Philosophical Investigations, one of the most enduring yet enigmatic works of the twentieth century. He does so by reading the text as a dramatization of what is perhaps life's central motivating struggle—the inescapable human need to pursue an ideal of expressive freedom within the difficult terms set by culture.
Eldridge sees Wittgenstein as a Romantic protagonist, engaged in an ongoing internal dialogue over the nature of intentional consciousness, ranging over ethics, aesthetics, and philosophy of mind. The picture of the human mind that emerges through this dialogue unsettles behaviorism, cognitivism, and all other scientifically oriented orthodoxies. Leading a human life becomes a creative act, akin to writing a poem, of continuously seeking to overcome both complacency and skepticism. Eldridge's careful reconstruction of the central motive of Wittgenstein's work will influence all subsequent scholarship on it.
Moving beyond views of European Romanticism as an essentially poetic development, Lessons of Romanticism strives to strengthen a critical awareness of the genres, historical institutions, and material practices that comprised the culture of the period. This anthology—in recasting Romanticism in its broader cultural context—ranges across literary studies, art history, musicology, and political science and combines a variety of critical approaches, including gender studies, Lacanian analysis, and postcolonial studies. With over twenty essays on such diverse topics as the aesthetic and pedagogical purposes of art exhibits in London, the materiality of late Romantic salon culture, the extracanonical status of Jane Austen and Fanny Burney, and Romantic imagery in Beethoven’s music and letters, Lessons of Romanticism reveals the practices that were at the heart of European Romantic life. Focusing on the six decades from 1780 to 1832, this collection is arranged thematically around gender and genre, literacy, marginalization, canonmaking, and nationalist ideology. As Americanists join with specialists in German culture, as Austen is explored beside Beethoven, and as discussions on newly recovered women’s writings follow fresh discoveries in long-canonized texts, these interdisciplinary essays not only reflect the broad reach of contemporary scholarship but also point to the long-neglected intertextual and intercultural dynamics in the various and changing faces of Romanticism itself.
Contributors. Steven Bruhm, Miranda J. Burgess, Joel Faflak, David S. Ferris, William Galperin, Regina Hewitt, Jill Heydt-Stevenson, H. J. Jackson, Theresa M. Kelley, Greg Kucich, C. S. Matheson, Adela Pinch, Marc Redfield, Nancy L. Rosenblum, Marlon B. Ross, Maynard Solomon, Richard G. Swartz, Nanora Sweet, Joseph Viscomi, Karen A. Weisman, Susan I. Wolfson
The Romantic myth of childhood as a transhistorical holy time of innocence and spirituality, uncorrupted by the adult world, has been subjected in recent years to increasingly serious interrogation. Was there ever really a time when mythic ideals were simple, pure, and uncomplicated? The contributors to this book contend—although in widely differing ways and not always approvingly—that our culture is indeed still pervaded, in this postmodern moment of the very late twentieth century, by the Romantic conception of childhood which first emerged two hundred years ago.
In the wake of the French Revolution and the Industrial Revolution, western Europe experienced another fin de siècle characterized by overwhelming material and institutional change and instability. By historicizing the specific political, social, and economic conflicts at work within the notion of Romantic childhood, the essayists in Literature and the Child show us how little these forces have changed over time and how enriching and empowering they can still be for children and their parents.
In the first section, “Romanticism Continued and Contested,” Alan Richardson and Mitzi Myers question the origins and ends of Romantic childhood. In “Romantic Ironies, Postmodern Texts,” Dieter Petzold, Richard Flynn, and James McGavran argue that postmodern texts for both children and adults perpetuate the Romantic complexities of childhood. Next, in “The Commerce of Children's Books,” Anne Lundin and Paula Connolly study the production and marketing of children's classics. Finally, in “Romantic Ideas in Cultural Confrontations,” William Scheick and Teya Rosenberg investigate interactions of Romantic myths with those of other cultural systems.
In his Preface to The Living Dead: A Study of the Vampire in Romantic Literature, James Twitchell writes that he is not interested in the current generation of vampires, which he finds "rude, boring and hopelessly adolescent. However, they have not always been this way. In fact, a century ago they were often quite sophisticated, used by artists varied as Blake, Poe, Coleridge, the Brontes, Shelley, and Keats, to explain aspects of interpersonal relations. However vulgar the vampire has since become, it is important to remember that along with the Frankenstein monster, the vampire is one of the major mythic figures bequeathed to us by the English Romantics. Simply in terms of cultural influence and currency, the vampire is far more important than any other nineteenth-century archetypes; in fact, he is probably the most enduring and prolific mythic figure we have. This book traces the vampire out of folklore into serious art until he stabilizes early in this century into the character we all too easily recognize.
Since the dawn of Romanticism, artists and intellectuals in Germany have maintained an abiding interest in the gods and myths of antiquity while calling for a new mythology suitable to the modern age. In this study, George S. Williamson examines the factors that gave rise to this distinct and profound longing for myth. In doing so, he demonstrates the entanglement of aesthetic and philosophical ambitions in Germany with some of the major religious conflicts of the nineteenth century.
Through readings of key intellectuals ranging from Herder and Schelling to Wagner and Nietzsche, Williamson highlights three crucial factors in the emergence of the German engagement with myth: the tradition of Philhellenist neohumanism, a critique of contemporary aesthetic and public life as dominated by private interests, and a rejection of the Bible by many Protestant scholars as the product of a foreign, "Oriental" culture. According to Williamson, the discourse on myth in Germany remained bound up with problems of Protestant theology and confessional conflict through the nineteenth century and beyond.
A compelling adventure in intellectual history, this study uncovers the foundations of Germany's fascination with myth and its enduring cultural legacy.
This bracing study redefines romanticism in terms of its philosophical habits of self-consciousness. According to Paul Hamilton, metaromanticism, or the ways in which writers of the romantic period generalized their own practices, was fundamentally characteristic of the romantic project itself.
Through a close look at the aesthetics of Friedrich Schiller and Jean-Jacques Rousseau, and key works by Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Percy and Mary Shelley, John Keats, Sir Walter Scott, Jane Austen, and many others, Hamilton shows how the romantic movement's struggle with its own tenets was not an effort to seek an alternative way of thought, but instead a way of becoming what it already was. And yet, as he reveals, the romanticists were still not content with their own self-consciousness. Pushed to the limit, such contemplation either manifested itself as self-disgust or found aesthetic ideas regenerated in discourses outside of aesthetics altogether.
Novalis: Signs of Revolution
William Arctander O Brien Duke University Press, 1994 Library of Congress PT2291.Z5O27 1995 | Dewey Decimal 831.6
Novalis traces the meteoric career of one of the most striking—and most strikingly misunderstood—figures of German Romanticism. Although Friedrich von Hardenberg (better known by his pseudonym, Novalis) published scarcely eighty pages of writings in his lifetime, his considerable fame and influence continued to spread long after his death in 1801. His posthumous reputation, however, was largely based on the myth manufactured by opportunistic editors, as Wm. Arctander O’Brien reveals in this book, the first to extract Hardenberg from the distortions of history. A member of the generation of the 1770s that included Hegel, Hölderlin, and Schelling, Hardenberg was an avid follower of the French Revolution, a semiotician avant la lettre, and a prescient critic of religion. Yet in 1802, only a year after his death, the writer who had scandalized the Prussian court was marketed to a nation at war as a reactionary patriot, a sweet versifier of Idealism, and a morbid mystic. Identifying the break between Hardenberg’s own early Romanticism and the late Romanticism that falsified it, Novalis shows us a writer fully engaged in revolutionary politics and examines his semiotic readings of philosophy and of the political, scientific, and religious institutions of the day. Drawing on the full range of Novalis’s writings, including his poetry, notebooks, novels, and journals, O’Brien situates his semiotics between those of the eighteenth century and those of the twentieth and demonstrates the manner in which a concern for signs and language permeated all aspects of his thought. The most extensive study of Hardenberg available in English, Novalis makes this revolutionary theoretician visible for the first time. Mining a crucial chapter in the history of semiotics and social theory, it suggests fruitful, sometimes problematic connections between semiotic, historical, "deconstructive," and philological practices as it presents a portrait of one of the most complex figures in literary history. Indispensable for scholars of German Romanticism, Novalis will also be of interest to students of comparative literature and European intellectual history.
Studies of the English Romantic poets generally portray them either as transcending the workings of capitalism or as working in complicity with an entrepreneurial economy. In The Orphaned Imagination, Guinn Batten challenges standard accounts of Romantic poetry and argues that Wordsworth, Byron, Blake, Shelley, Keats, and Coleridge—each of whom suffered the loss of a father or father-figure at an early age—possessed an orphan’s special insight into the dynamics and aesthetics of commodity culture and its symptomatic melancholia. Building on the theoretical insights of Slavoj Zizek, Judith Butler, Julia Kristeva, and Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, Batten interweaves the discourses of psychoanalysis, economics, biography, sexuality, melancholy, value, and exchange to question accepted ideas of how Romantic poetry works. She asserts that poetic labor is in fact paradigmatic of the kinds of production—and the kinds of desire—that capitalist culture renders invisible. If symbolic exchange, in cash or in words, requires the surrender of a beloved object, if healthy mourning requires an orphan to “work through” emotional loss through the consolation of art or a love for the living, then the rebellious Romantic poet, Batten contends, possessed unique insight into the alternative authority of a poetic language that renounced a culture of denial. Batten urges that scholars move beyond critical approaches condemning allegedly regressive forms of pleasure, recognizing that they, too, are haunted by melancholic attachments to dead poets as they conduct their work. The Orphaned Imagination will interest anyone concerned with the claims of the English Romantic poets to a distinctive, valuable form of knowledge and those who may wonder about the power of contemporary theory to illuminate a traditional field.
Between 1840 and 1880, the Eastern Mediterranean port of Izmir (Smyrna) underwent unprecedented change. A modern harbor that welcomed international steamships and new railway lines that transported a cornucopia of products transformed the physical city. Migrants, seasonal workers, and transient sailors thronged into an already diverse metropolis, helping to double the population to 200,000. Simultaneously, Ottoman officials and enterprising citizens vied to control and reform the city’s administrative and legal institutions.
Ottoman Izmir examines how urban space, institutional structures, and everyday practices shaped one another in the thriving seaport of Izmir during a volatile period of growth. Sibel Zandi-Sayek investigates a variety of urban actors—Muslims and non-Muslims, Ottomans and Europeans, newcomers and native residents, merchants, investors, civil servants, and press reporters—who were actively engaged in restructuring the city. Concentrating on the workings of urban committees and on laws and policies that were written, rewritten, but never fully implemented, Zandi-Sayek exposes how modern interventions sought to impose clear-cut concepts of public and private, safety and danger, and hygiene on a city that previously had a wide range of customary regulations.
Ottoman Izmir shows how Izmir’s various stakeholders contested its built environment. In so doing, it offers a new view of the dynamics of urban modernization.
After explaining his new methodology, Bidney identifies and discusses epiphanies in the works of William Wordsworth, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Matthew Arnold, Alfred Lord Tennyson, Walter Pater, Thomas Carlyle, Leo Tolstoy, and Elizabeth Barrett Browning. Taking his cue from the French philosopher Gaston Bachelard, Bidney postulates that any writer’s epiphany pattern usually shows characteristic elements (earth, air, fire, water), patterns of motion (pendular, eruptive, trembling), and/or geometric shapes. Bachelard’s analytic approach involves studying patterns of perceived experience—phenomenology—but unlike most phenomenologists, Bidney does not speculate on internal processes of consciousness. Instead, he concentrates on literary epiphanies as objects on the printed page, as things with structures that can be detected and analyzed for their implications.
Bidney, then, first identifies each author’s paradigm epiphany, finding that both the Romantics and the Victorians often label such a paradigm as a vision or dream, thereby indicating its exceptional intensity, mystery, and expansiveness. Once he identifies the paradigm and shows how it is structured, he traces occurrences of each writer’s epiphany pattern, thus providing an inclusive epiphanic portrait that enables him to identify epiphanies in each writer’s other works. Finally, he explores the implications of his analysis for other literary approaches: psychoanalytical, feminist, influence-oriented or intertextual, and New Historical.
“This book very conclusively debunks the over two-hundred-year-old conventional wisdom that Wheatley owes her poetic sensibilities to Alexander Pope. . . . It will help rejuvenate the study of Wheatley and will be an exciting contribution to scholarly discourse on Wheatley’s poetry.” —Cedrick May, author of Evangelism and Resistance in the Black Atlantic, 1760–1835
Phillis Wheatley was the first African American to publish a book. Born in Gambia in 1753, she came to America aboard a slave ship, the Phillis. From an early age, Wheatley exhibited a profound gift for verse, publishing her first poem in 1767. Her tribute to a famed pastor, “On the Death of the Rev. Mr. George Whitefield,” followed in 1770, catapulting her into the international spotlight, and publication of her 1773 Poems on Various Subjects Religious and Moral in London created her an international star.
Despite the attention she received at the time, history has not been kind to Wheatley. Her work has long been neglected or denigrated by literary critics and historians. John C. Shields, a scholar of early American literature, has tried to help change this perception, and Wheatley has begun to take her place among the elite of American writers.
In Phillis Wheatley and the Romantic Age, Shields contends that Wheatley was not only a brilliant writer but one whose work made a significant impression on renowned Europeans of the Romantic age, such as Samuel Taylor Coleridge, who borrowed liberally from her works, particularly in his famous distinction between fancy and imagination. Shields shows how certain Wheatley texts, particularly her “Long Poem,” consisting of “On Recollection,” “Thoughts on the Works of Providence,” and “On Imagination,” helped shape the face of Romanticism in the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.
Phillis Wheatley and the Romantic Age helps demolish the long-held notion that literary culture flowed in only one direction: from Europe to the Americas. Thanks to Wheatley’s influence, Shields argues, the New World was influencing European literary masters far sooner than has been generally understood.
John C. Shields is the editor of The Collected Works of Phillis Wheatley and the author of The American Aeneas: Classical Origins of the American Self (named by Choice as an Outstanding Academic Book and awarded honorable mention in competition for the American Comparative Literature Association’s HARRY LEVIN PRIZE) and of Phillis Wheatley’s Poetics of Liberation. He is Distinguished Professor of English and director of the Center for Classicism in American Culture at Illinois State University.
Henry Weinfield offers a new reading not only of the Elegy itself but also of its place in English literary history. His central argument is that in Gray’s Elegy the thematic constellation of poverty, anonymity, alienation, and unfulfilled potential—or what Weinfield calls the "problem of history"—is fully articulated for the first time, and that, as a result, the Elegy represents an important turning-point in the history of English poetry.
Poems—specifically romantic poems, such as those by Thomas Gray, William Wordsworth, and John Keats—link what goes unremembered in our reading to ethics. In "Tintern Abbey," for example, Wordsworth finds in "little . . . unremembered . . . acts" the chance to hear the "still, sad music of humanity."
In The Poetics of Unremembered Acts, Brian McGrath shows that poetry’s capacity to address its reader stages an ethical dilemma of continued importance. Situating romantic poems in relation to Enlightenment debate over how to teach reading, specifically debate about the role of poetry in the process of learning to read, The Poetics of Unremembered Acts develops an alternative understanding of poetry’s role in education. McGrath also explores the ways poetry makes ethics possible through its capacity to pass along what we do not remember and cannot know about our reading.
Post-Personal Romanticism: Democratic Terror, Prosthetic Poetics, and the Comedy of Modern Ethical Life by Bo Earle offers a broad recasting of Romantic lyric’s formal innovations in terms of Hegel’s historical ethics. These innovations attempt to come to terms with the Enlightenment’s paradoxical legacy: industrial and consumerist modernity depends on the Enlightenment norm of rationally autonomous individuality even as it makes this norm ever more implausible. In turn, a key insight of the Romantics is that modernity depends most crucially upon the very elusiveness of this norm of autonomous individuality. The Romantics emphasize that modernity is constitutively a culture of fantasy, a culture self-conscious about the impossibility of its own organizing values and goals.
Tracing this insight to Hegel’s suggestion that modern subjectivity is in some sense post-individual or even posthumous, Earle argues that signature Romantic lyrics offer a way forward that avoids postmodernism’s wholesale rejection of autonomous selfhood. With chapters on Wordsworth, Blake, Byron, Shelley, and Keats, Earle traces how Romantic lyrics mine this interminability to recover figurative emblems or masks of selfhood from experiences of its inevitable normative failure. This model is of particularly urgent value today when the costs of modern narcissism, economic exploitation, and political imperialism have come to include the normalization of torture, signature drone strikes, and climate change.
The South has long played a central role in America’s national imagination—the site of the trauma of slavery and of a vast nostalgia industry, alternatively the nation’s moral other and its moral center. Reconstructing Dixie explores how ideas about the South function within American culture. Narratives of the region often cohere around such tropes as southern hospitality and the southern (white) lady. Tara McPherson argues that these discursive constructions tend to conceal and disavow hard historical truths, particularly regarding race relations and the ways racial inequities underwrite southern femininity. Advocating conceptions of the South less mythologized and more tethered to complex realities, McPherson seeks to bring into view that which is repeatedly obscured—the South’s history of both racial injustice and cross-racial alliance.
Illuminating crucial connections between understandings of race, gender, and place on the one hand and narrative and images on the other, McPherson reads a number of representations of the South produced from the 1930s to the present. These are drawn from fiction, film, television, southern studies scholarship, popular journalism, music, tourist sites, the internet, and autobiography. She examines modes of affect or ways of "feeling southern" to reveal how these feelings, along with the narratives and images she discusses, sanction particular racial logics. A wide-ranging cultural studies critique, Reconstructing Dixie calls for vibrant new ways of thinking about the South and for a revamped and reinvigorated southern studies.
Reconstructing Dixie will appeal to scholars in American, southern, and cultural studies, and to those in African American, media, and women’s studies.
Reinventing Romantic Poetry offers a new look at the Russian literary scene in the nineteenth century. While celebrated poets such as Aleksandr Pushkin worked within a male-centered Romantic aesthetic—the poet as a bard or sexual conqueror; nature as a mother or mistress; the poet’s muse as an idealized woman—Russian women attempting to write Romantic poetry found they had to reinvent poetic conventions of the day to express themselves as women and as poets. Comparing the poetry of fourteen men and fourteen women from this period, Diana Greene revives and redefines the women’s writings and offers a thoughtful examination of the sexual politics of reception and literary reputation.
The fourteen women considered wrote poetry in every genre, from visions to verse tales, from love lyrics to metaphysical poetry, as well as prose works and plays. Greene delves into the reasons why their writing was dismissed, focusing in particular on the work of Evdokiia Rostopchina, Nadezhda Khvoshchinskaia, and Karolina Pavlova. Greene also considers class as a factor in literary reputation, comparing canonical male poets with the work of other men whose work, like the women’s, was deemed inferior at the time. The book also features an appendix of significant poems by Russian women discussed in the text. Some, found in archival notebooks, are published here for the first time, and others are reprinted for the first time since the mid-nineteenth century.
Representing the Troubles in Irish Short Fiction offers a comprehensive examination of Irish short stories written over the last eighty years that have treated the Troubles, Ireland's intractable conflict that arose out of its relationship to England.
Valuable and timely in its long historical and critical perspective on the legacy of romanticism to Victorian art and thought, The Rescue of Romanticism is the first book-length study of the close intellectual relationship between Walter Pater and John Ruskin, the two most important Victorian critics of art. Kenneth Daley explores the work and thought of both writers in context with other Victorian writers, and enlarges the issues at stake between them, connecting these issues to ongoing artistic, cultural, and political concerns of the modern world.
Professor Daley gives a more finely honed picture than ever before of romanticism’s emergence as a literary concept in Victorian England, detailing the political differences that characterize the opposition between John Ruskin and his younger contemporary, Walter Pater, over the nature of romanticism. Individual chapters reassess the Victorian reception of such romantic figures as Wordsworth, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Leonardo, and Michelangelo.
Daley demonstrates how Pater’s “modern” reading of romanticism emerged from Ruskin's distrust of romanticism and from Ruskin’s arguments and examples defining pathetic fallacy. His discussion of Ruskin’s Oxford lectures and their timing in Pater’s developing career refresh the intersections of the two bodies of work and the portrait of the Victorian period in general.
In Romantic Complexity, Jack Stillinger examines three of the most admired poets of English Romanticism--Keats, Coleridge, and Wordsworth--with a focus on the complexity that results from the multiple authorship, the multiple textual representation, and the multiple reading and interpretation of their best works.
Specific topics include the joint authorship of Wordsworth and Coleridge in the Lyrical Ballads, an experiment of 1798 that established the most essential characteristics of modern poetry; Coleridge's creation of eighteen or more different versions of The Ancient Mariner and how this textual multiplicity affects interpretation; the historical collaboration between Keats and his readers to produce fifty-nine separate but entirely legitimate readings of The Eve of St. Agnes; and a number of practical and theoretical matters bearing on the relationships among these writers and their influences on one another.
Stillinger shows his deep understanding of the poets' lives, works, and the history of their reception, in chapters rich with intriguing questions and answers sure to engage students and teachers of the world's greatest poetry.
"All art should become science and all science art; poetry and philosophy should be made one." Friedrich Schlegel's words perfectly capture the project of the German Romantics, who believed that the aesthetic approaches of art and literature could reveal patterns and meaning in nature that couldn't be uncovered through rationalistic philosophy and science alone. In this wide-ranging work, Robert J. Richards shows how the Romantic conception of the world influenced (and was influenced by) both the lives of the people who held it and the development of nineteenth-century science.
Integrating Romantic literature, science, and philosophy with an intimate knowledge of the individuals involved—from Goethe and the brothers Schlegel to Humboldt and Friedrich and Caroline Schelling—Richards demonstrates how their tempestuous lives shaped their ideas as profoundly as their intellectual and cultural heritage. He focuses especially on how Romantic concepts of the self, as well as aesthetic and moral considerations—all tempered by personal relationships—altered scientific representations of nature. Although historians have long considered Romanticism at best a minor tributary to scientific thought, Richards moves it to the center of the main currents of nineteenth-century biology, culminating in the conception of nature that underlies Darwin's evolutionary theory.
Uniting the personal and poetic aspects of philosophy and science in a way that the German Romantics themselves would have honored, The Romantic Conception of Life alters how we look at Romanticism and nineteenth-century biology.
Geography is useful, indeed necessary, to survival. Everyone must know where to find food, water, and a place of rest, and, in the modern world, all must make an effort to make the Earth—our home—habitable. But much present-day geography lacks drama, with its maps and statistics, descriptions and analysis, but no acts of chivalry, no sense of quest. Not long ago, however, geography was romantic. Heroic explorers ventured to forbidding environments—oceans, mountains, forests, caves, deserts, polar ice caps—to test their power of endurance for reasons they couldn't fully articulate. Why climb Everest? "Because it is there."
Yi-Fu Tuan has established a global reputation for deepening the field of geography by examining its moral, universal, philosophical, and poetic potentials and implications. In his twenty-second book, Romantic Geography, he continues to engage the wide-ranging ideas that have made him one of the most influential geographers of our time. In this elegant meditation, he considers the human tendency—stronger in some cultures than in others—to veer away from the middle ground of common sense to embrace the polarized values of light and darkness, high and low, chaos and form, mind and body. In so doing, venturesome humans can find salvation in geographies that cater not so much to survival needs (or even to good, comfortable living) as to the passionate and romantic aspirations of their nature. Romantic Geography is thus a paean to the human spirit, which can lift us to the heights but also plunge us into the abyss.
Claiming that the scholarship and criticism of Romanticism and its works have for too long been dominated by a Romantic ideology—by an uncritical absorption in Romanticism's own self-representations—Jerome J. McGann presents a new, critical view of the subject that calls for a radically revisionary reading of Romanticism.
In the course of his study, McGann analyzes both the predominant theories of Romanticism (those deriving from Coleridge, Hegel, and Heine) and the products of its major English practitioners. Words worth, Coleridge, Shelley, and Byron are considered in greatest depth, but the entire movement is subjected to a searching critique. Arguing that poetry is produced and reproduced within concrete historical contexts and that criticism must take these contexts into account, McGann shows how the ideologies embodied in Romantic poetry and theory have shaped and distorted contemporary critical activities.
The Romantic Imperative
Frederick C. Beiser Harvard University Press, 2003 Library of Congress PT363.P5B45 2003 | Dewey Decimal 830.912
The Early Romantics met resistance from artists and academics alike in part because they defied the conventional wisdom that philosophy and the arts must be kept separate. Indeed, as the literary component of Romanticism has been studied and celebrated in recent years, its philosophical aspect has receded from view. This book, by one of the most respected scholars of the Romantic era, offers an explanation of Romanticism that not only restores but enhances understanding of the movement's origins, development, aims, and accomplishments--and of its continuing relevance.
Poetry is in fact the general ideal of the Romantics, Frederick Beiser tells us, but only if poetry is understood not just narrowly as poems but more broadly as things made by humans. Seen in this way, poetry becomes a revolutionary ideal that demanded--and still demands--that we transform not only literature and criticism but all the arts and sciences, that we break down the barriers between art and life, so that the world itself becomes "romanticized." Romanticism, in the view Beiser opens to us, does not conform to the contemporary division of labor in our universities and colleges; it requires a multifaceted approach of just the sort outlined in this book.
Table of Contents:
Introduction: Romanticism Now and Then 1. The Meaning of "Romantic Poetry" 2. Early German Romanticism: A. Characteristic 3. Early Romanticism and the AufklÃƒÂ¤rung 4. FrÃƒÂ¼hromantik and Platonic Tradition 5. The Sovereignty of Art 6. The Concept of Bildung Early German Romanticism 7. Friedrich Schlegel: The Mysterious Romantic 8. The Paradox of Romantic Metaphysics 9. Kant and the Naturphilosophen 10. Religion and Politics in FrÃƒÂ¼hromantik
Abbreviations Notes Bibliography Index
This is an excellent book. Its ten chapters are much more accessible and often clearer than the larger classic tomes on the subject. Each takes up a very significant topic and is sure to be read with profit by a wide range of readers - whether they are new to the field or already quite familiar with it. The book concerns an era, Early German Romanticism, that is properly becoming a major focus of new research. This volume could become one of the most helpful steps in making the area part of the canon for Anglophone scholars in all fields today. It is surely one of the best remedies for correcting out of date images of the work of the German romantics as regressive, obscurantist, or irrelevant. Early German Romanticism extends and modifies the project of the Enlightenment. The author shows that it deserves our attention not only because it is an era represented by some of the most interesting and creative personalities in our cultural history, but also because its main line of thought is responsible for a way of thinking central to our own time, namely a naturalism that might be expansive enough to do justice to traditional interests in the unique value of human freedom. --Karl Ameriks, Professor of Philosophy, University of Notre Dame
This book is a very fine and erudite study. It is impressively wide-ranging: literature, metaphysics, political philosophy, science, ethics, and religion all come seriously into play. It almost functions as an introduction to Early German Romanticism at a very high though not forbidding level. --Ian Balfour, Professor of English, York University
In the years immediately following Napoleon’s defeat, French thinkers in all fields set their minds to the problem of how to recover from the long upheavals that had been set into motion by the French Revolution. Many challenged the Enlightenment’s emphasis on mechanics and questioned the rising power of machines, seeking a return to the organic unity of an earlier age and triggering the artistic and philosophical movement of romanticism. Previous scholars have viewed romanticism and industrialization in opposition, but in this groundbreaking volume John Tresch reveals how thoroughly entwined science and the arts were in early nineteenth-century France and how they worked together to unite a fractured society.
Focusing on a set of celebrated technologies, including steam engines, electromagnetic and geophysical instruments, early photography, and mass-scale printing, Tresch looks at how new conceptions of energy, instrumentality, and association fueled such diverse developments as fantastic literature, popular astronomy, grand opera, positivism, utopian socialism, and the Revolution of 1848. He shows that those who attempted to fuse organicism and mechanism in various ways, including Alexander von Humboldt and Auguste Comte, charted a road not taken that resonates today.
Essential reading for historians of science, intellectual and cultural historians of Europe, and literary and art historians, The Romantic Machine is poised to profoundly alter our understanding of the scientific and cultural landscape of the early nineteenth century.
Romantic Motives explores a topic that has been underemphasized in the historiography of anthropology. Tracking the Romantic strains in the the writings of Rousseau, Herder, Cushing, Sapir, Benedict, Redfield, Mead, Lévi-Strauss, and others, these essays show Romanticism as a permanent and recurrent tendency within the anthropological tradition.
This anthology fills the need for a comprehensive, up-to-date collection of the most important contemporary writings on the English romantic poets. During the 1980s, many theoretical innovations in literary study swept academic criticism. Many of these approaches--from deconstructive, new historicist, and feminist perspectives--used romantic texts as primary examples and altered radically the ways in which we read. Other major changes have occurred in textual studies, dramatically transforming the works of these poets. The world of English romantic poetry has certainly changed, and Romantic Poetry keeps pace with those changes. Karl Kroeber and Gene W. Ruoff have organized the book by poet--Blake, Wordsworth, Coleridge, Byron, Shelly, and Keats--and have included essays representative of key critical approaches to each poet's work. In addition to their excellent general introduction, the editors have provided brief, helpful forewords to each essay, showing how it reflects current approaches to its subject. The book also has an extensive bibliography sure to serve as an important research aid. Students on all levels will find this book invaluable.
Our thoughts are shaped as much by what things make of us as by what we make of them. Lyric poetry is especially concerned with things and their relationship to thought, sense, and understanding. In Romantic Things, Mary Jacobus explores the world of objects and phenomena in nature as expressed in Romantic poetry alongside the theme of sentience and sensory deprivation in literature and art.
Jacobus discusses objects and attributes that test our perceptions and preoccupy both Romantic poetry and modern philosophy. John Clare, John Constable, Rainer Maria Rilke, W. G. Sebald, and Gerhard Richter make appearances around the central figure of William Wordsworth as Jacobus explores trees, rocks, clouds, breath, sleep, deafness, and blindness in their work. While she thinks through these things, she is assisted by the writings of Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Jacques Derrida, and Jean-Luc Nancy. Helping us think more deeply about things that are at once visible and invisible, seen and unseen, felt and unfeeling, Romantic Things opens our eyes to what has been previously overlooked in lyric and Romantic poetry.
Exploring the full range of Novalis's (the pen name of the German poet and philosopher Friedrich von Hardenberg) work, von MolnÃ¡r shows how he dealt, in theory and practice, with a central issue in Romanticism and the emerging concept of the autonomous self and its relation to the other, or to the world.
Romanticism: A German Affair
Rüdiger Safranski Translated from the German by Robert E. Goodwin Northwestern University Press, 2014 Library of Congress PT361.S2713 2014 | Dewey Decimal 830.9145
The renowned scholar Rüdiger Safranski’s Romanticism: A German Affair both offers an accessible overview of Romanticism and, more critically, traces its lasting influence, for better and for ill, on German culture. Safranski begins with the eighteenthcentury Sturm und Drang movement, which would sow the seeds for Romanticism in Germany. While Romanticism was a broad artistic, literary, and intellectual movement, German thinkers were especially concerned with its strong philosophical-metaphysical and religious dimension. Safranski follows this spirit in its afterlife in the work of Heinrich Heine, Richard Wagner, Friedrich Nietzsche, Thomas Mann, and through the later artistic upheavals of the twentieth century. He concludes by carefully considering Romanticism’s possible influence in the rise of National Socialism and the student revolt of 1968.
Romanticism: A German Affair is essential reading for anyone interested in the power of art, culture, and ideas in the life of a nation.
Romanticism is a worldview that finds expression over a whole range of cultural fields—not only in literature and art but in philosophy, theology, political theory, and social movements. In Romanticism Against the Tide of Modernity Michael Löwy and Robert Sayre formulate a theory that defines romanticism as a cultural protest against modern bourgeois industrial civilization and work to reveal the unity that underlies the extraordinary diversity of romanticism from the eighteenth to the twenty-first century. After critiquing previous conceptions of romanticism and discussing its first European manifestations, Löwy and Sayre propose a typology of the sociopolitical positions held by romantic writers-from “restitutionist” to various revolutionary/utopian forms. In subsequent chapters, they give extended treatment to writers as diverse as Coleridge and Ruskin, Charles Peguy, Ernst Bloch and Christa Wolf. Among other topics, they discuss the complex relationship between Marxism and romanticism before closing with a reflection on more contemporary manifestations of romanticism (for example, surrealism, the events of May 1968, and the ecological movement) as well as its future. Students and scholars of literature, humanities, social sciences, and cultural studies will be interested in this elegant and thoroughly original book.
In our post-9/11 world, the figure of the stranger—the foreigner, the enemy, the unknown visitor—carries a particular urgency, and the force of language used to describe those who are “different” has become particularly strong. But arguments about the stranger are not unique to our time. In Romanticism and the Question of the Stranger, David Simpson locates the figure of the stranger and the rhetoric of strangeness in romanticism and places them in a tradition that extends from antiquity to today.
Simpson shows that debates about strangers loomed large in the French Republic of the 1790s, resulting in heated discourse that weighed who was to be welcomed and who was to be proscribed as dangerous. Placing this debate in the context of classical, biblical, and other later writings, he identifies a persistent difficulty in controlling the play between the despised and the desired. He examines the stranger as found in the works of Coleridge, Austen, Scott, and Southey, as well as in depictions of the betrayals of hospitality in the literature of slavery and exploration—as in Mungo Park's Travels and Stedman's Narrative—and portrayals of strange women in de Staël, Rousseau, and Burney. Contributing to a rich strain of thinking about the stranger that includes interventions by Ricoeur and Derrida, Romanticism and the Question of the Stranger reveals the complex history of encounters with alien figures and our continued struggles with romantic concerns about the unknown.
Grounded in the thought of Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Romanticism and Transcendence explores the religious dimensions of imagination in the Romantic tradition, both theoretically and in the poetry of Wordsworth and Coleridge. J. Robert Barth suggests that we may look to Coleridge for the theoretical grounding of the view of religious imagination proposed in this book, but that it is in Wordsworth above all that we see this imagination at work.
Barth first argues that the Romantic imagination—with its profound symbolic import—of its very nature has religious implications, and notes parallels between Coleridge’s view of the imagination and that of Ignatius Loyola in his Spiritual Exercises. He then turns to the role of religious experience in Wordsworth, using The Prelude as a privileged source. Next, after comparing the conception of humanity and God in Wordsworth and Coleridge, Barth considers the role of religious experience and imagery in two of Coleridge’s central poetic texts, The Rime of the Ancient Mariner and Christabel. Finally, Barth examines the continuing role of the Romantic idea of the religious imagination today, in literature and all the arts, linking it with the thought of theologian Karl Rahner and literary critic George Steiner.
Romanticism and Transcendence brings together literary theory, poetry, and religious experience, areas that are interrelated but are often not seen in relationship. By exploring levels of Wordsworth’s and Coleridge’s poetry that are often ignored, Barth provides insight into how and why the imagination was so important to their work. He also demonstrates how rich with religious value and meaning poetry and the arts can be.
The interdisciplinary nature of this important new study will make it useful not only to Wordsworth and Coleridge scholars and other Romantic specialists, but also to anyone concerned with the intellectual history of the nineteenth century and to theologians in general.
Why has Anglo-American culture for so long regarded "theory" with intense suspicion? In this important contribution to the history of critical theory, David Simpson argues that a nationalist myth underlies contemporary attacks on theory. Theory's antagonists, Simpson shows, invoke the same criteria of common sense and national solidarity as did the British intellectuals who rebelled against "theory" and "method" during the French Revolution.
Simpson demonstrates the close association between "theory" and "method" and shows that by the mid-eighteenth century, "method" had acquired distinctly subversive associations in England. Attributed increasingly to the French and the Germans, "method" paradoxically evoked images both of inhuman rationality and unbridled sentimentality; in either incarnation, it was seen as a threat to what was claimed to be authentically British. Simpson develops these paradigms in relation to feminism, the gendering of Anglo-American culture, and the emergence of literature and literary criticism as antitheoretical discourses. He then looks at the Romantic poets' response to this confining ideology of the cultural role of literature. Finally, Simpson considers postmodern theory's claims for the radical energy of nonrational or antirationalist positions.
This is an essential book not only for students of the Romantic period and intellectual historians concerned with the idea of "method," but for anyone interested in the historical background of today's debates over the excesses and possibilities of "theory."
One of the most common scenes in Augustan and Romantic literature is that of a writer confronting some emblem of change and loss, most often the remains of a vanished civilization or a desolate natural landscape. Ruins and Empire traces the ruin sentiment from its earliest classical and Renaissance expressions through English literature to its establishment as a dominant theme of early American art.
English actress Sarah Siddons (1755–1831) was an international celebrity widely acclaimed for her performances of tragic heroines.We know what Siddons looked like—an endless number of artists asked her to sit for portraits and sculptures—but what of her famous voice? In lively and engaging prose, Judith Pascoe journeys to discover how the celebrated romantic actor’s voice sounded and to understand its power to move audiences to a state of emotional collapse. The author’s quixotic endeavor leads her to enroll in a “Voice for Actors” class, to collect Lady Macbeth voice prints, and to listen more carefully to the soundscape of her own life.
The Sarah Siddons Audio Files is the first full-scale attempt to address the importance of the voice in romantic culture. Bringing together archival discoveries, sound recording history, and media theory, the book shows how the romantic poets’ preoccupation with voices is linked to a larger cultural anxiety about the voice’s ephemerality. The Sarah Siddons Audio Files contributes to a growing body of work on the fascinating history of sound, and will engage a broad audience interest in how recording technology has altered human experience.
Harold Bloom is our greatest living literary critic. His wide-ranging critical writings have plumbed the depths of Romanticism (The Visionary Company), explored the anxiety caused by the influence of one generation of poets on another (Agon, The Anxiety of Influence), wrestled with the idea of a literary canon (The Western Canon), introduced Jacques Derrida and deconstruction to America (Deconstruction and Criticism), and explored the relationship between religion, especially Judaism, and literature (Kabbalah and Criticism, The Book of J).
Bloom is indeed a party of one, a truly strong poet of his own mode of religious-literary criticism, who, in a typically Emersonian manner, makes his own circumstances and sheds influences by incorporating them into his idiosyncratic theory.In this unprecedented full-length study on Harold Bloom, Agata Bielik-Robson explores the many facets of Bloom’s critical writings and career. In his work, she argues, Bloom draws on a variety of disparate traditions—Judaism, gnosis, Romanticism, American pragmatism, and Freudianism, but also, especially recently, Victorian aestheticism—that comprise a dialectical, difficult whole in a constant quarrel with itself. Yet, this is precisely the image of "life-in-antithesis," which constitutes Bloom’s highest speculative achievement, she observes. The Saving Lie brings all these "Blooms" together and, despite their own tendencies toward dissociation, lets them speak unisono: in one almost harmonious voice that will clearly utter the principles of a new speculative position—Bloom’s antithetical vitalism. This study of Bloom and his contributions will not soon be surpassed.
One of the most important voices of the Harlem Renaissance, Claude McKay is largely recognized for his work during the 1920s, which includes a major collection of poems, Harlem Shadows, as well as a critically acclaimed novel, Home to Harlem. But McKay was never completely comfortable with his literary reputation during this period. Throughout his world travels, he saw himself as an English lyricist.
In this compelling examination of the life and works of this complex poet, novelist, journalist, and short story writer, Josh Gosciak sheds light on McKay’s literary contributions beyond his interactions with Harlem Renaissance artists and writers. Working within English literary traditions, McKay crafted a verse out of hybridity and diaspora. Gosciak shows how he reinvigorated a modern pastoral through his encounters with some of the major aesthetic and political movements of the late Victorian and early modern periods.
Exploring new archival material as well as many of McKay’s lesser known poetic works, TheShadowed Country provides a unique interpretation of the writings of this major author.
Deborah FORBES Harvard University Press, 2004 Library of Congress PR585.S44F67 2004 | Dewey Decimal 821.709353
In a work of surprising range and authority, Deborah Forbes refocuses critical discussion of both Romantic and modern poetry. Sincerity's Shadow is a versatile conceptual toolkit for reading poetry.
Ever since Wordsworth redefined poetry as "the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings," poets in English have sought to represent a "sincere" self-consciousness through their work. Forbes's generative insight is that this project can only succeed by staging its own failures. Self-representation never achieves final sincerity, but rather produces an array of "sincerity effects" that give form to poetry's exploration of self. In essays comparing poets as seemingly different in context and temperament as Wordsworth and Adrienne Rich, Lord Byron and Anne Sexton, John Keats and Elizabeth Bishop, Forbes reveals unexpected convergences of poetic strategy. A lively and convincing dialectic is sustained through detailed readings of individual poems. By preserving the possible claims of sincerity longer than postmodern criticism has tended to, while understanding sincerity in the strictest sense possible, Forbes establishes a new vantage on the purposes of poetry.
Table of Contents:
1. The Personal Universal Sincerity as Integrity in the Poetry of Wordsworth and Rich 2. Before and After Sincerity as Form in the Poetry of Wordsworth, Lowell, Rich, and Plath 3. Sincerity and the Staged Confession The Monologues of Browning, Eliot, Berryman, and Plath 4. The Drama of Breakdown and the Breakdown of Drama The Charismatic Poetry of Byron and Sexton 5. Agnostic Sincerity The Poet as Observer in the Work of Keats, Bishop, and Merrill
Conclusion Notes Index
From the Conclusion
"In spite of modern experiments in communal authorship, writing poetry remains one of the most individual of acts, and yet, because it provides the ground upon which the paradoxes of self-consciousness can move most freely, one of the acts most skeptical about the authority of any individual claim to self-understanding. . . . In undertaking its experiments, poetry may separate itself from certain contexts (economic, political, historical), but is itself as local and concrete as these contexts, an experience as well as a meditation on our experiences. In its particularity, its flexibility, its sensual and sonic complexity, its consideration of the extra-rational experiences of pleasure and desire, and above all in the ways in which it speaks with both more and less authority, more and less presence than an actual human voice, poetry offers us the experience of the unknown at the core of proposed self-knowledge. This is lyric poetry's enduring -- though not sole -- claim on us."
Although we have always been fascinated with famous people, the invention of modern celebrity culture dates to the nineteenth century. During Romanticism, literary authors occupied a prominent position among early stars. These changes not only had implications for the cultural role of the author, but also that of the public. A star exists by virtue of its audience, and as authors became public figures, the phenomenon of the fan and associated culture of fandom came into existence. Star Authors in the Age of Romanticism analyzes Dutch literary celebrity culture specifically while also examining its unique place in a growing body of international scholarship on the subject. This book examines the Dutch development of literary celebrity by focusing on five famous Dutch authors from the nineteenth century: Willem Bilderdijk, Hendrik Tollens, Nicolaas Beets, François HaverSchmidt (alias Piet Paaltjens), and Eduard Douwes Dekker (better known as Multatuli).
Today we do not expect poems to carry scientifically valid information. But it was not always so. In Sweet Science, Amanda Jo Goldstein returns to the beginnings of the division of labor between literature and science to recover a tradition of Romantic life writing for which poetry was a privileged technique of empirical inquiry.
Goldstein puts apparently literary projects, such as William Blake’s poetry of embryogenesis, Goethe’s journals On Morphology, and Percy Shelley’s “poetry of life,” back into conversation with the openly poetic life sciences of Erasmus Darwin, J. G. Herder, Jean-Baptiste Lamarck, and Étienne Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire. Such poetic sciences, Goldstein argues, share in reviving Lucretius’s De rerum natura to advance a view of biological life as neither self-organized nor autonomous, but rather dependent on the collaborative and symbolic processes that give it viable and recognizable form. They summon De rerum natura for a logic of life resistant to the vitalist stress on self-authorizing power and to make a monumental case for poetry’s role in the perception and communication of empirical realities. The first dedicated study of this mortal and materialist dimension of Romantic biopoetics, Sweet Science opens a through-line between Enlightenment materialisms of nature and Marx’s coming historical materialism.
Theory as Practice was first published in 1997. Minnesota Archive Editions uses digital technology to make long-unavailable books once again accessible, and are published unaltered from the original University of Minnesota Press editions.
In light of recent, dramatic revisions in criticism of European-particularly German-Romanticism, this anthology brings together key texts of the movement, especially those written in the last quarter of the eighteenth century by a small, influential circle centered at Jena.
In their introductory essays, the editors locate writings by Fichte, Schelling, Novalis, August Wilhelm Schlegel, and Friedrich Schlegel, among others, in this context. The selections include extensive excerpts from the correspondence of the Jena Romantics, their commentaries on each other's work, their most pertinent essays, fragments, and dialogues as well as diary entries and reviews. These works, together with the editors' articulation and elaboration of their significance, provide a new perspective on the provenance of postmodern thought and literary theory.
Jochen Schulte-Sasse is professor of German and comparative literature at the University of Minnesota and coeditor (with Wlad Godzich) of the Theory and History of Literature series at the University of Minnesota Press. Haynes Horne (University of Alabama), Andreas Michel (Indiana University), Assenka Oksiloff (New York University), Elizabeth Mittman (Michigan State University), Lisa C. Roetzel (University of Rochester), and Mary R. Strand each received a Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota.
Thomas Merton (1915-1968) was a Roman Catholic priest, a Trappist monk, a social activist, and a poet. Author of the celebrated autobiography The Seven Storey Mountain, Merton has been described as the most important American religious writer of the past hundred years. One of the notable characteristics of Merton's writing, both in poetry and in prose, was his seamless intermingling of religious and Romantic elements, an intermingling that, because of his gifts as a writer and because of his enormous influence, has had the effect of making widespread a distinctive form of religious thought and expression. In Thomas Merton and the Inclusive Imagination, Ross Labrie reveals the breadth of Merton's intellectual reach by taking an original and systematic look at Merton's thought, which is generally regarded as eclectic and unsystematic.
What captured Merton's attention about Romanticism and mysticism and what held his attention virtually all his life was his consciousness of the ontological significance of unity and wholeness. Even though he was far from being a systematic thinker, Merton's writings form a coherent whole when considered from the point of view of his emphasis on unity and wholeness. Labrie skillfully examines Merton's letters, journals, and individual works to show the full expanse of his contribution. By using insights from the Romantic literary tradition and from the mystical tradition, the author is able to make sense of Merton's writings from all periods of his life. Although Labrie covers such sweeping topics as consciousness, self, being, nature, time, myth, culture, and individuation, remaining focused on Merton's specific, unique contributions in each area.
This thought-provoking work, which takes into account material from the recent full publication of Merton's journals and from his Columbia University notebooks on Romanticism, not only shows Merton's intellectual growth but provides a look at his expansive interests as well. Thomas Merton and the Inclusive Imagination will make a significant contribution to Merton studies.
It is now two and a half centuries since Jean-Jacques Rousseau first wrote so evocatively of natural man in Social Contract and of experiential education in Emile. His emphasis on the early years as a crucial part of life drove the Romantic reconceptualization of childhood—the idea that children have a special knowledge of nature, politics, and spirituality to teach their elders as well as the other way around. William Wordsworth’s assertion in the “Intimations Ode” that children’s souls come “trailing clouds of glory” from God has continued to haunt Western literature and culture in spite of attacks from writers and critics from then until now, including Mary Wollstonecraft, Robert Thomas Malthus, T. S. Eliot, Judy Blume, Jerome McGann, and Jacqueline Rose.
Displaying careful scholarship, sophisticated use of contemporary literary theory, and close readings of texts while recovering and analyzing materials from more than two centuries of British and other Anglophone cultural history, this collection of new essays traces the evolution of the Romantic child. The contributors play off one another, both within the three traditional historical periods—Romantic, Victorian, and modern/postmodern—and across intellectual and disciplinary categories.
Time of Beauty, Time of Fear offers a stunning array of essays. In some, the authors focus on canonical texts by such writers as Wordsworth, Maria Edgeworth, Charlotte Smith, and Mrs. Molesworth. Other authors consider the Victorian concerns with missionary literature for children and with the boyish pastime of collecting bird’s nests, folk voices of the 1960s, homeschooling, the Teletubbies television program, and Alan Moore’s Promethea series of graphic novels. Measured in terms of both range and quality, this volume is destined to become essential reading for scholars from numerous disciplines.
Throughout the first half of the nineteenth century, America was captivated by a muddled notion of “etymology.” New England Transcendentalism was only one outcropping of a nationwide movement in which schoolmasters across small-town America taught students the roots of words in ways that dramatized religious issues and sparked wordplay.
Shaped by this ferment, our major romantic authors shared the sensibility that Friedrich Schlegel linked to punning and christened “romantic irony.” Notable punsters or etymologists all, they gleefully set up as sages, creating jocular masterpieces from their zest for oracular wordplay. Their search for a primal language lurking beneath all natural languages provided them with something like a secret language that encodes their meanings. To fathom their essentially comic masterpieces we must decipher it.
Interpreting Thoreau as an ironic moralist, satirist, and social critic rather than a nature-loving mystic, Transcendental Wordplay suggests that the major American Romantics shared a surprising conservatism. In this award-winning study, Professor West rescues the pun from critical contempt and allows readers to enjoy it as a serious form of American humor.
“What a strange invention marriage is!” wrote Kierkegaard. “Is it the expression of that inexplicable erotic sentiment, that concordant elective affinity of souls, or is it a duty or a partnership . . . or is it a little of all that?”
Like Kierkegaard a few decades later, many of Germany’s most influential thinkers at the turn of the eighteenth century wondered about the nature of marriage but rejected the easy answers provided by biology and theology. In Uncivil Unions, Adrian Daub presents a truly interdisciplinary look at the story of a generation of philosophers, poets, and intellectuals who turned away from theology, reason, common sense, and empirical observation to provide a purely metaphysical justification of marriage.
Through close readings of philosophers like Fichte and Schlegel, and novelists like Sophie Mereau and Jean Paul, Daub charts the development of this new concept of marriage with an insightful blend of philosophy, cultural studies, and theory. The author delves deeply into the lives and work of the romantic and idealist poets and thinkers whose beliefs about marriage continue to shape ideas about gender, marriage, and sex to the present day.
What is utopia if not a perfect impossible world? Anahid Nersessian reveals the basic misunderstanding of that ideal. Applying the lessons of art to the rigors of life on an imperiled planet, she enlists the Romantics to redefine utopia as an investment in limitation—not a perfect world but one where we get less than we hoped but more than we had.
Ilya Vinitsky's Vasily Zhukovsky's Romanticism and the Emotional History of Russia is the first major study in English of Vasily Zhukovsky (1783–1852)—a poet, translator of German romantic verse, and, crucially, mentor of Pushkin. It focuses overdue attention to an important figure in Russian literary and cultural history.
Vinitsky’s "psychological biography" argues that Zhukovsky very consciously set out to create for himself an emotional life that reflected his unique brand of romanticism, different from what we associate with Pushkin or poets such as Byron or Wordsworth. For Zhukovsky, ideal love was harmonious, built on a mystical foundation of spiritual kinship. Vinitsky shows how Zhukovksy played a pivotal role in the evolution of ideas central to Russia’s literary and cultural identity from the end of the eighteenth century into the decades following the Napoleonic Wars.
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.
These essays trace the myth of the wild man from the Middle Ages to its disintegration into symbol in the periods following the discovery of America and encounter with real “wild men.” This is the first book to discuss the concept of wildness in the writings of the Enlightenment period in Western Europe and the first to attempt a broad, interdisciplinary approach to the subject of primitivism, not only from a strict “history of ideas” approach, but through discussions of individual works, both literary and political, and encompassing various subject matter from racism to the origins of language.
Contributors: Richard Ashcraft; Ehrhard Bahr; John G. Burke; Earl Miner; Gary B. Nash; Stanley Robe; Geoffrey Symcox; Peter Thoralev; Hayden V. White, and the editors.
Worms. Natural history is riddled with them. Literature is crawling with them. From antiquity to today, the ubiquitous and multiform worm provokes an immediate discomfort and unconscious distancing: it remains us against them in anthropocentric anxiety. So there is always something muddled, or dirty, or even offensive when talking about worms. Rehabilitating the lowly worm into a powerful aesthetic trope, Janelle A. Schwartz proposes a new framework for understanding such a strangely animate nature. Worms, she declares, are the very matter with which the Romantics rethought the relationship between a material world in constant flux and the human mind working to understand it.
Worm Work studies the lesser-known natural historical records of Abraham Trembley and his contemporaries and the familiar works of Erasmus Darwin, Charles Darwin, William Blake, Mary Shelley, and John Keats, to expose the worm as an organism that is not only reviled as a taxonomic terror but revered as a sign of great order in nature as well as narrative. This book traces a pattern of cultural production, a vermiculture that is as transformative of matter as it is of mind. It distinguishes decay or division as positive processes in Romantic era writings, compounded by generation or renewal and used to represent the biocentric, complex structuring of organicism.
Offering the worm as an archetypal figure through which to recast the evolution of a literary order alongside questions of taxonomy from 1740 to 1820 and on, Schwartz unearths Romanticism as a rich humus of natural historical investigation and literary creation.