"Introduction" to special issue of Romantic Textualities
Civale, S. 2019. "Introduction" to special issue of Romantic Textualities. Romantic Textualities: Literature and Print Culture, 1780-1840.
This special issue comes out of two ‘Romantic Novels’ seminar series, held in 2017 and 2018, inspired by the Romantic Bicentenary and hosted by the University of Greenwich (and funded by generous contributions from BARS, Romantic Bicentennials, University of Greenwich, and Canterbury Christ Church University). Each of the twelve seminars focused on a novel published in either 1817 or 1818, which was introduced by an expert and then discussed by the group at large. By including well known writers such as Walter Scott and Mary Shelley as well as their prolific and popular but now forgotten contemporaries, such as Ann Hatton, the series asked questions about why some books continue to be studied 200 years after their initial publication, and others have all but disappeared. The seminars also allowed us to reposition ‘classic’ novels in the context of the varied literary marketplace in which they were originally printed, offering a window into how these novels differed from—but also resembled—their literary competitors. Although the novels spanned a range of genres including historical romance, domestic fiction, Gothic, didactic literature, and the national tale, and an array of authors and publishers, the selection of texts was not truly random or representative. From a field of roughly 110 novels published in Britain in these years, the sample of twelve chosen for study was influenced by considerations of accessibility, length, interest, and the expertise and availability of scholars sufficiently well versed in the texts. Still, taken as a group, the sample of twelve books covered a range wide enough to respond to the calls of scholars to move beyond reading what we already know how to read, to address questions of aesthetic value, and to contribute to the long overdue ‘reassess[ment of] just what Romantic novels actually are’.
|Keywords||Novels; Romanticism; Gothic; Genre; Popular novels; Nineteenth century literature|
|Journal||Romantic Textualities: Literature and Print Culture, 1780-1840|
|Publisher||Cardiff University Press|
|Publication process dates|
|Deposited||10 Dec 2020|
|Accepted||30 Jun 2019|
|Accepted author manuscript|
|Output status||In press|
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