New Issue: European Romantic Review Feb 2010

Here are the articles (with abstracts) in the most recent issue of European Romantic Review (February 2010).  Editor Regina Hewitt also announces “they will publish six issues instead of five, the first and fourth numbers of each volume will feature expanded book review sections, and the fifth and sixth numbers will contain articles only.”

Face Value: Kleist’s Die Verlobung in St. Domingo. By: Gold, Joshua Robert. European Romantic Review, Feb 2010, Vol. 21 Issue 1, p77-93.
Abstract: This essay examines how Kleist’s novella Die Verlobung in St. Domingo uses the Haitian Revolution as a means of demonstrating the potential unreliability of language. Upon first glance, this text seems to comment upon matters of political significance, such as race, revolution, and the character of justice. However, closer inspection reveals that these themes enable the text to reflect upon the nature of the sign, the act of reading, and the ethical demands of interpretation. Nevertheless, even this self-reflective model proves misleading in light of those passages that cast doubt upon the narrator’s authority and the trustworthiness of certain details. By undermining the allegory that it appears to put forth, Die Verlobung in St. Domingo calls into question the authority of understanding.

Joanna Baillie’s Rayner and Romantic Spectacle. By: Murray, Julie. European Romantic Review, Feb 2010, Vol. 21 Issue 1, p65-76, 12p;

Abstract: This essay considers Joanna Baillie’s 1804 Rayner, a play about a public execution that never actually occurs, in the context of the dynamics of punishment in the romantic period. Analyzing how the play depicts the scaffold but renders it inaccessible by refusing to represent the death it portends, I argue that Baillie develops a kind of “romantic spectacle” that moves from the visual to the imaginary. Weaning spectators from their reliance on external forms, it effects their moral regulation by disciplining the imagination to produce such terrifying images on its own.

“A Labor of Death and a Labor against Death”: Scott’s Cenotaphic Paratexts. By: Tredennick, Bianca. European Romantic Review, Feb 2010, Vol. 21 Issue 1, p49-64, 16p;

Abstract: Shortly before his death, Walter Scott began work on a new edition of his collected works that came to be known as the Magnum Opus edition (1830). For this edition, Scott added paratexts in the form of notes, new introductions, a new general preface and so on. The Magnum Opus apparatus thus adds yet another layer to the already ornate framing apparatus and paratextual glosses Scott had included with the original publication of the Waverley Novels. This essay argues that these paratexts must be seen as essential components of his historiography. Through the paratexts, Scott offers a complex reading of his own historiographic work, one that denies any simple claims to recapturing or revivifying the past in favor of an honest reckoning with the way in which all historical projects become cenotaphic replacements for that which they seek to memorialize.

William Blake’s Visual Sublime: The “Eternal Labours”. By: Ibata, Helene. European Romantic Review, Feb2010, Vol. 21 Issue 1, p29-48, 20p; Abstract: This essay examines Blake’s visual aesthetics in the light of recent theories of the sublime. The latter, by seeing the sublime as a dynamic process located within creative activity itself, rather than as an experience that transcends the human, shed new light on Blake’s practice and theory. In particular, they make it possible to view the high degree of medium reflexivity in the illuminated books, as well as the artist’s original conception of linearism, as apt illustrations of such a sublime process. This essay shows how these well-known features of Blake’s art reveal his heightened awareness of the incommensurability between material representation and the forms of his imagination, and of the necessity to sustain artistic production nevertheless. Such an experience of the terrifying and energetic struggle towards an ever-elusive formal perfection, we argue, is a forceful expression of the sublime dynamics of visual creation.

Hybrid Gardens: Travel and the Nationalization of Taste in Ann Radcliffe’s Continental Landscapes. By: Gephardt, Katarina. European Romantic Review, Feb 2010, Vol. 21 Issue 1, p3-28, 26p;

Abstract: This essay interprets Ann Radcliffe’s revision of her continental settings as a response to the experience of European travel during the Revolutionary Wars of the 1790s. In Radcliffe’s earlier novels, particularly The Mysteries of Udolpho (1794), imaginary South European settings serve as a stage for fictional resolutions of British class conflicts. Following Radcliffe’s only journey to the Continent, described in A Journey Made in the Summer of 1794 (1795), the setting of The Italian (1797) becomes more geographically specific, and the novel, while stereotyping Italy as its title suggests, includes cross-cultural representation involving British travelers and Italians. In the conclusion of the novel, Radcliffe superimposes an English garden onto an Italian landscape. I argue that Radcliffe’s evolving treatment of landscapes in travel writing and fiction reflects the tension between nationalist and cosmopolitan attitudes toward the Continent that translated into competing standards of taste. These standards, which I illustrate with examples from landscape painting, travel writing, and the discourse of landscape aesthetics, invested landscapes with national values and inspired Radcliffe and other writers to differentiate between the British Isles and the Continent.

Book Reviews. By: Clark, David L.; Lee, Debbie; Cooper, Barbara T.; Ruff, Julius R.; Ripley, Wayne C.; Strathman, Christopher A.; Bode, Christoph; Lussier, Mark; Graver, Bruce. European Romantic Review, Feb 2010, Vol. 21 Issue 1, p95-142, 48p;
Abstract: The article reviews several books including “Romantic Moods: Paranoia, Trauma, and Melancholy, 1790-1840,” by Thomas Pfau, “Fictions and Fakes: Forging Romantic Authenticity, 1760-1845,” by Margaret Russett, and “The Limits of Performance in the French Romantic Theatre,” by Susan McCready.; DOI: 10.1080/10509580903557052; (AN 48253391)
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