This book investigates the presence of disability in British Romantic literature, as subject matter, as metaphorical theme, and as lived experience. It is the first collection of its kind, breaking new ground in re-interpreting key texts and providing a challenging overview of this emerging field. The collection offers both a critique of academic Romantic studies and an affirmation of the responsiveness of the Romantic canon to new stimuli. Authors discussed include William Blake, Lord Byron, Ann Batten Cristall, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, George Darley, Richard Payne Knight, William Gilpin, Mary Robinson, Mary Shelley, Robert Southey, and William Wordsworth.
The Oxford Handbook of British Romanticism offers a comprehensive guide to the literature and thought of the Romantic period, and an overview of the latest research on this topic. Written by a team of international experts, the Handbook analyses all aspects of the Romantic movement, pinpointing its different historical phases and analysing the intellectual and political currents which shaped them. It gives particular attention to devolutionary trends, exploring the English, Scottish, Welsh, and Irish strands in 'British' Romanticism and assessing the impact of the constitutional changes that brought into being the 'United Kingdom' at a time of revolutionary turbulence and international conflict. It also gives extensive coverage to the publishing and reception history of Romantic writing, highlighting the role of readers, reviewers, publishers, and institutions in shaping Romantic literary culture and transmitting its ideas and values. Divided into ten sections, each containing four or five chapters, the Handbook covers key themes and concepts in Romantic studies as well as less chartered topics such as freedom of speech, literature and drugs, Romantic oratory, and literary uses of dialect. All the major male and female Romantic authors are included along with numerous lesser-known writers, the emphasis throughout being on the diversity of Romantic writing and the complexities and internal divisions of the culture that sustained it. The volume strikes a balance between familiarity and novelty to provide an accessible guide to current thinking and a conceptual reorganization of this fast-moving field.
First coming to prominence as an actress and scandalous celebrity, Mary Robinson created an identity for herself as a Romantic poet and novelist in the 1790s. Through a series of literary dialogues with established writers, Robinson put herself at the center of Romantic literary culture as observer, participant, and creator. Cross argues that Robinson’s dialogues shaped the nature of Romantic writing both in content and form and influenced second-generation Romantics. These dialogues further establish the idea of Romantic discourse as essentially interactive and conversational, not the work of original geniuses working in isolation, and positions Robinson as a central player in its genesis.
The modern concept of disability did not exist in the Romantic period. This study addresses the anachronistic use of 'disability' in scholarship of the Romantic era, providing a disability studies theorized account that explores the relationship between ideas of function and aesthetics. Unpacking the politics of ability, the book reveals the centrality of capacity and weakness concepts to the egalitarian politics of the 1790s, and the importance of desert theory to debates about sentiment and the charitable relief of impaired soldiers. Clarifying the aesthetics of deformity as distinct from discussions of ability, Joshua uncovers a controversy over the use of deformity in picturesque aesthetics, offers accounts of deformity that anticipate recent disability studies theory, and discusses deformity and monstrosity as a blended category in Frankenstein. Setting aside the modern concept of disability, Joshua cogently argues for the historical and critical value of period-specific terms.
This book debates a crossover between the Gothic and the medical imagination in the Romantic period. It explores the gore and uncertainty typical of medical experimentation, and expands the possibilities of medical theories in a speculative space by a focus on Gothic novels, short stories, poetry, drama and chapbooks. By comparing the Gothic’s collection of unsavoury tropes to morbid anatomy’s collection of diseased organs, the author argues that the Gothic’s prioritisation of fear and gore gives it access to nonnormative bodies, reallocating medical and narrative agency to bodies considered otherwise powerless. Each chapter pairs a trope with a critical medical debate, granting silenced bodies power over their own narratives: the reanimated corpse confronts fears about vitalism; the skeleton exposes fears about pain; the unreliable corpse feeds on fears of dissection; the devil redirects fears about disability; the dangerous narrative manipulates fears of contagion and vaccination.
This book considers a moment at the turn of the nineteenth century, when literature and medicine seemed embattled in rivalry, to find the fields collaborating to develop interpretive analogies that saw literary texts as organic bodies and anatomical features as legible texts.
The Poetics of Palliation argues that Romanticism developed richer literary therapies than its contemporary reception remembers. By reading Romantic writers against Georgian medical ethics, Poetics recovers their models of literature as comfort and sustenance, challenging a health humanities tradition that sees literary therapy primarily as cure.
The long nineteenth century-stretching from the start of the American Revolution in 1776 to the end of World War I in 1918-was a pivotal period in the history of disability for the Western world and the cultures under its imperial sway. Industrialization was a major factor in the changing landscape of disability, providing new adaptive technologies and means of access while simultaneously contributing to the creation of a mass-produced environment hostile to bodies and minds that did not adhere to emerging norms. In defining disability, medical views, which framed disabilities as problems to be solved, competed with discourses from such diverse realms as religion, entertainment, education, and literature. Disabled writers and activists generated important counternarratives, made increasingly available through the spread of print culture. An essential resource for researchers, scholars and students of history, literature, culture and education, A Cultural History of Disability in the Long Nineteenth Century includes chapters on atypical bodies, mobility impairment, chronic pain and illness, blindness, deafness, speech dysfluencies, learning difficulties, and mental health, with 34 illustrations drawn from period sources.
What we can learn about caregiving and community from the Victorian novel In Communities of Care, Talia Schaffer explores Victorian fictional representations of care communities, small voluntary groups that coalesce around someone in need. Drawing lessons from Victorian sociality, Schaffer proposes a theory of communal care and a mode of critical reading centered on an ethics of care. In the Victorian era, medical science offered little hope for cure of illness or disability, and chronic invalidism and lengthy convalescences were common. Small communities might gather around afflicted individuals to minister to their needs and palliate their suffering. Communities of Care examines these groups in the novels of Jane Austen, Charlotte Brontë, Charles Dickens, George Eliot, Henry James, and Charlotte Yonge, and studies the relationships that they exemplify. How do carers become part of the community? How do they negotiate status? How do caring emotions develop? And what does it mean to think of care as an activity rather than a feeling? Contrasting the Victorian emphasis on community and social structure with modern individualism and interiority, Schaffer’s sympathetic readings draw us closer to the worldview from which these novels emerged. Schaffer also considers the ways in which these models of carework could inform and improve practice in criticism, in teaching, and in our daily lives. Through the lens of care, Schaffer discovers a vital form of communal relationship in the Victorian novel. Communities of Care also demonstrates that literary criticism done well is the best care that scholars can give to texts.
This book is a monumental work on the late Romantic Irish poet, George Darley, with a scholarly edition of his complete poetry and a new biography. The text of each poem is meticulously edited from manuscript and printed sources. For the first time, Darley is established as a translator of the First Book of Virgil’s Æneid. A newly discovered manuscript of Darley’s 70 Lenimina Laborum poems enriches the edition, while the celebrated Nepenthe is authoritatively presented with Darley’s manuscript running headnotes. The book introduces over 40 new manuscript letters by Darley, and discusses contemporary reviews of his work and a century of critical commentary. Darley’s influence on Tennyson is evaluated and his vast periodical contributions are examined. In addition, the insightful interpretation of Nepenthe by Edward Hutchinson Synge is presented. This book will be of great interest to scholars of the Romantic period, readers of contemporary periodical journalism, and students of Irish literary history.
This book argues for the importance of disability to authors of the Wordsworth-Coleridge circle. By examining texts in a variety of genres — ranging from self-experimental medical texts to lyric poetry to metaphysical essays — Stanback demonstrates the extent to which non-normative embodiment was central to Romantic-era thought and Romantic-era aesthetics. The book reassesses well-known literary and medical works by such authors as William Wordsworth, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, and Humphry Davy, argues for the importance of lesser-studied work by authors including Charles Lamb and Thomas Beddoes, and introduces significant unpublished work by Tom Wedgwood.