Literature of the Romantic Period: A Bibliographical Guide

Literature of the Romantic Period: A Bibliographical Guide

Literature of the Romantic Period: A Bibliographical Guide

Literature of the Romantic Period: A Bibliographical Guide

Synopsis

This book provides a selective, critical guide to the best and the typical in scholarship and criticism directed towards literature of the Romantic period, circa 1780-1830. It includes chapters on the most studied poets of the period: Blake, Wordsworth, Coleridge, Byron, Shelley, Keats, and Clare. It also contains separate chapters on the fiction (and other writings) of Scott, and the novels of Austen, Mary Shelley, and Peacock. Reflecting recent changes in understanding of the period, there are also chapters on women poets, political prose, essayists, and a range of male poets including Burns, Cowper, and Crabbe. A separate chapter is devoted to women novelists of the period. An introduction surveys general studies of the period and evaluates contributions to debate about the nature of the Romantic. All chapters include a list of references at their ends. Throughout, the impact of literary theory and recent editorial work is taken into account. The book will prove an invaluable resource to students, academics, teachers, and general readers.

Excerpt

The present volume seeks to give readers a critical guide to the best and the typical in scholarship and criticism devoted to literature of the Romantic period (a period defined as running roughly from 1785 to 1830). Contributors have been asked to keep an undergraduate audience in mind, though the volume is also intended to be of use to postgraduates, lecturers, Romantic specialists, and interested general readers. There are individual chapters on Blake, Wordsworth,Coleridge,Byron, Shelley, Keats, Clare, Scott, Mary Shelley, Peacock, and Austen. The justification for this is twofold: it is helpful for the reader who has as a priority bibliographical information about individual authors of the period, and it is a form of organization suggested by much of the book's subject matter (that is, much criticism concentrates on individual authors). To take account of the abundance of fine and often overlooked writing in the period, there are a number of chapters concerned with more than a single author. Many challenges to the idea that Romantic literature consists, essentially, of the writings of six great male poets have been mounted over the last two decades. These challenges explain, in part, the present volume's existence, and they are taken on board by the contributors.

The volume provides extensive and up-to-date treatment of work on widely studied Romantic writers; considerable discussion of work on less well-known figures in whom there has been an explosion of interest in recent years; informed judgements about the current state of editions (especially important at a time when many canonical and non-canonical Romantic writers are being re-edited or newly edited); and chapters dealing with work on fiction and prose, reflecting the changing emphases of much contemporary criticism of Romantic literature. Throughout, contributors have been encouraged to be evaluative and to concentrate on work which they regard as valuable. Each chapter concludes with a 'References' section that lists works mentioned in the chapter (and, on occasion, works not mentioned in the chapter). It is my hope and belief that, through the explorations of individual contributors and the interactions between their perspectives, the volume will help to clarify and advance the current debate about the nature of 'Romanticism' and 'the Romantic period'.

M.O'N.

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