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Women, Epic, and Transition in British Romanticism argues that early nineteenth-century women poets contributed some of the most daring work in modernizing the epic genre. The book examines several long poems to provide perspective on women poets working with and against men in related efforts, contributing together to a Romantic movement of large-scale genre revision. Women poets challenged longstanding categorical approaches to gender and nation in the epic tradition, and they raised politically charged questions about women's importance in moments of historical crisis. While Romantic epics did not all engage in radical questioning or undermining of authority, this study calls attention to some of the more provocative poems in their approach to gender, culture, and history. This study prioritizes long poems written by and about women during the Romantic era, and does so in context with influential epics by male contemporaries. The book takes its cue from a dramatic increase in the publication of epics in the early nineteenth-century. At their most innovative, Romantic epics provoked questions about the construction of ideological meaning and historical memory, and they centralized women's experiences in entirely new ways to reflect on defeat, loss, and inevitable transition. For the first time the epic became an attractive genre for ambitious women poets.
Opening with the revolution-era debates of the 1790s, Borderlines reads Romantic genders across a mobile syntax, tuned to such figures as the stylized "feminine" poetess, the aberrant "masculine" woman, male poets deemed "feminine" or "unmanly," the campy male "effeminate," and hapless or strategic cross-dressers of both sexes. With fresh readings of the works, careers, and volatile receptions of Mary Wollstonecraft, Felicia Hemans, M. J. Jewsbury, Lord Byron, and John Keats, Susan Wolfson shows how senses (and sensations) of gender shape and get shaped by sign systems that prove arbitrary, fluid, and susceptible of lively transformation.
Beginning with the premise that men and women of the Romantic period were lively interlocutors who participated in many of the same literary traditions and experiments, Fellow Romantics offers an inspired counterpoint to studies that emphasize differences between male and female Romantic-era writers. Linking, among others, Charlotte Smith and William Wordsworth, Felicia Hemans and Percy Bysshe Shelley, the contributors defamiliarize the work of both male and female writers by drawing our attention to frequently neglected aspects of each writer's art.
Famously commemorated by William Wordsworth as a poet 'to whom English verse is under greater obligations than are likely to be either acknowledged or remembered', Charlotte Smith is an originating voice of 'the Romantic' whose importance is at last being recognized. Her early sonnets established the genre as a Romantic form; her novels advanced sensibility as a trope beyond its two-dimensional reliance on emotional facility; and her blank verse initiated one of the most familiar of Romantic verse forms. This volume draws together the best of current Smith scholarship. Essays are organized according to genre and set in context by a substantial introduction.
Like her more famous brother William, Dorothy Wordsworth was also an important writer. Yet her work has found a wide readership only in recent years. Appearing in 1987, the first edition of this book was the first full-length scholarly study of the author and was also the first to collect her poems, discovered at Dove cottage and in other libraries. This new edition adds critical readings based on the latest research into Wordsworth's life and work and will further the argument for her place among the important writers of Romanticism.
Mary Shelley is best known for her classic novel Frankenstein, a literary masterpiece that remains one of the most frequently taught books in high school and college classrooms, but her other works of fiction are also important and increasingly popular. In addition, her personal life continues to fascinate. She was the wife of the great Romantic poet Percy Bysshe Shelley and the daughter of the feminist activist Mary Wollstonecraft. The new Critical Companion to Mary Shelley is the definitive one-stop resource for anyone interested in this influential author.
Devoted to the varied writings of the influential novelist, children's author, and educator, this collection combines postcolonial, historical, and gender criticism to offer fresh readings of Edgeworth's novels, stories, letters, and educational texts. The collection will be invaluable to established scholars working in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century literature, women's studies, and children's literature, as well as to students encountering Edgeworth for the first time.
In this first critical study of Anna Letitia Barbauld's major work, Daniel P. Watkins reveals the singular purpose of Barbauld's visionary poems: to recreate the world based on the values of liberty and justice. Watkins examines in close detail both the form and content of Barbauld's Poems, originally published in 1773 and revised and reissued in 1792. Along with careful readings of the poems that situate the works in their broader political, historical, and philosophical contexts, Watkins explores the relevance of the introductory epigraphs and the importance of the poems' placement throughout the volume. Centering his study on Barbauld's effort to develop a visionary poetic stance, Watkins argues that the deliberate arrangement of the poems creates a coherent portrayal of Barbauld's poetic, political, and social vision, a far-sighted sagacity born of her deep belief that the principles of love, sympathy, liberty, and pacifism are necessary for a secure and meaningful human reality. In tracing the contours of this effort, Watkins examines, in particular, the tension in Barbauld's poetry between her desire to engage directly with the political realities of the world and her equally strong longing for a pastoral world of peace and prosperity.
Scottish playwright and poet Joanna Baillie (1762-1851) is a key figure in British Romantic-era literature. In recent years her writings her writings have returned to print, her plays have been performed in North America and the United Kingdom, and she has been the subject of several monographs and a biography. This new edition of Further Letters follows the 1999 publication of Baillie's Collected Letters and brings together some two hundred and seventy new or uncollected letters. The new edition includes significant letters written to Walter Scott, Robert Southey, and Felicia Hemans. It also provides new information regarding Baillie's relationships with her contemporaries, her publishers, and the London theater world. Baillie's correspondence offers a remarkable five-decade portrait of an artist engaged with the most significant literary, religious, and political issues of her day. Anyone interested in Scottish literature, British theater, or nineteenth-century women writers will find these wide-ranging letters informative and fascinating.