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Charles Lamb spent two periods working at the library of the British Museum, in 1804–1807 and 1826–1827, as preparation for a volume of extracts from old plays in the Garrick collection entitled Specimens of English Dramatick Poets (published 1808) and latterly a series of contributions based on the same collection that appeared in William Hone’s Table Book (1827). In the roughly twenty years separating these two periods both the library itself and Lamb’s working life changed significantly, Lamb having left the employment in the East India Office to become a ‘superannuated man’ in 1825. This chapter examines these changes in the context of the emergence of scientific and literary Institutions in the early decades of the nineteenth century. In tandem with the British Museum, the libraries of these Institutions facilitated the emergence of institutionalized reading or professional literary ‘research’, with long-term implications for the emerging literary field in the Romantic period. Lamb’s two sojourns working on the Garrick plays offer a perspective from which to gauge diversification in reading practices in the early nineteenth century, who could read in institutional contexts, and what, ultimately, such reading might be for.
In this chapter, we explore the concept of purity and the processes of purification in their archaeological as well as broader national expressions. The discussion touches on aesthetic and religious conceptions of a pure, sacralized past, on the removal of living people from archaeological landscapes, and on the modernist separation of past from present, science from culture, and of the rational from the affective.
Chapter 21, “Byzantium in Early Modern Istanbul,” highlights the multiple ways in which the Byzantine past was present in and had a bearing on the lives and imaginations of Istanbulites in the post-Byzantine city within the framework of four topics: rupture and ruin, structures of longue durée, translation and notions of antiquarianism, and, finally, the lives and the reflections of Byzantine monuments and spolia.
The third part of the book, on “Place”, is made up of chapters grouped by their relation to matters of space and geography. Chapter 9 analyses the use of topographic, cartographic and antiquarian sources, amplifying the study made by the cartographic historian J.H. Andrews in 1960, which has never been supplanted. It extends Andrews’ coverage, which omitted the Scottish portions of the Tour, and considers its relation to other topographers not previously mentioned in this context, as well as the products of mapmakers such as Herman Moll and John Senex. The chapter supplies new evidence on the use Defoe made of maps, and offers a fuller comparison with the works of his principal rival, the Journey of John Macky (1714-23). Finally, this section endorses the verdict of Andrews, that “In spite of its weaknesses the ‘Tour’ remains a great pioneer work of economic geography.”
Chapter 3 focuses on space and the visual dimensions of the memory of the dissolution. Concentrating on the period between the late sixteenth century and the late seventeenth century, it examines the work of a number of antiquaries who produced topographies and images of former monastic sites. Taking previous scholarship on the ‘nostalgic’ element in antiquarian topographies of the dissolution as its main point of departure, this chapter addresses the role of monastic ruins together with those sites that were converted to new uses, both spiritual and secular, in shaping changing perspectives on the suppression. It argues that we should pay more attention to converted spaces – whether parish churches or private homes – which could function to reinforce the project to forget the dissolution across the generations. To support this argument, this chapter also features a substantial discussion of the visual afterlives of the dissolution. It illuminates what recent scholarship has described as a seventeenth-century visual culture of ‘pastness’, but also hypothesises the emergence of a parallel and equally powerful visual culture of the present. Ultimately, it suggests that topographical writing and images were genres in which senses of loss could converge with gain, past with present, and remembering with forgetting.
This chapter turns to the memory of the dissolution in the communities that had been built around monasteries and in the families who occupied them. In order to access the local and oral dimensions of this memory culture, it uses antiquarian writing to throw a sidelight onto the traditions and stories that antiquaries encountered as they traversed the country. This chapter suggests that the key concept to unlocking this memory culture is sacrilege. Stories of ghostly hauntings and strange happenings preoccupied local people living in or near former monastic places. It has sometimes been suggested that English Protestantism was hostile to oral and local cultures, but this chapter argues that, far from being the harbinger of their decline, the Reformation in fact generated and invigorated local traditions. By exploring sacrilege narratives connected to the dissolution, this chapter also makes a case for the vibrancy and longevity of local memory cultures across the seventeenth century and into the early eighteenth century and beyond. In doing so, it seeks to erode and collapse the distinctions between ‘popular’ and ‘learned’, ‘local’ and ‘national’ cultures of history and memory that continue to influence scholarship on early modern historical consciousness
In this chapter five main themes emerge with respect to the historiographical side of Grotius' works: (1) the polarity between constitutionalism and patriotism on the one hand, and reason of state and Scepticism on the other; (2) Grotius’ ‘secularising’ reading of history; (3) the close correlation between scholarship and politics; (4) Grotius’ use of sources and his relation to contemporary developments in Antiquarianism; and (5) the important role of historical perspectives in his other works such as De Jure Belli and the Annotationes on the New Testament.
Chapter 6 shows how Cicero establishes a normative framework for the writing of literary history. Across the dialogue and through the various speakers he offers a sustained critique of literary historiography. Several fundamental tensions and conflicts emerge: absolute versus relative criteria in assessing literature and building canons; presentism and antiquarianism; formalism and historicism; and the recognition that all literary histories are subject to their crafters’ emphases and agendas.
The chapter argues against recent attempts to analyse religious aspects of Latin literature without paying attention to the question of genre. History, antiquarianism, epic are all very different ways of representing the divine, and the specificity of each genre is crucial for understanding how the texts function.
Examination of Philipp von Stosch's documentation of engraved gems, discovered in previously unknown archival sources in the Princes Czartoryski Museum in Krakow and other public and private collections, considerably advances our understanding of the move from antiquarianism to proto-archaeology in the eighteenth century.
The statue habit was a defining characteristic of Classical cities, and its demise in Late Antiquity has recently attracted scholarly attention. This article analyzes this process in the city of Rome, charting the decline and abandonment of the practice of setting up free-standing statues between the end of the 3rd c. and the mid 7th c. CE. Focusing on the epigraphic evidence for new dedications, it discusses the nature of the habit in terms of its differences from and continuities with earlier periods. The quantitative evolution of the habit suggests that its end was associated with deeper transformations. The final section examines the broader significance of setting up statues in Late Antique Rome, arguing that the decline of the statue habit must be understood in the context of a new statue culture that saw statue dedications in an antiquarian light, rather than as part of an organic honorific language.
The British Enlightenment grappled with the concept of “modern history”: what it should contain and what kind of guide to the world it should be. This chapter examines the decline of neoclassical assumptions about history writing in the context of Britain’s rapid social transformation and the emergence of its robust commercial society. A new pressure for historiography to acknowledge this modern world led historians to profound questions about the relation between present and past. How was the eighteenth-century world different from what came before it? When and where did its modernity begin? Asking and answering these questions produced not only new kinds of history writing but also new readers and writers of history. Setting aside the history of great men, new kinds of histories made clear that everyone is a historical actor, opening the door for women and men who would never be statesmen to tell their stories. New histories took many forms, and the chapter’s sections focus on the different answers to questions about the past—and how to represent it-- provided by philosophical history writing, antiquarianism, and the novel.
This chapter discusses the continuities and contrasts between ‘Romantic Gothic’ and ‘Victorian medievalism’, focusing on the figures of Robert Southey and William Morris. Bringing together the perspectives developed in Morris’s conservationist activities with the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings and his utopian romance, and Southey’s ‘black letter’ works of 1817, it argues for the early and late nineteenth-century presence of an alternative ‘history of the Gothic’. This is Gothic as what Morris called a ‘style historic’, articulated either side of the 1840s and the rise of historicism in architecture and ‘medievalism’ in literature. Where Morris ultimately chose a harder-edged Nordic ‘Gothic’ over the ‘maundering medievalism’ of Tennyson and Rossetti, Southey consistently avoided the category, despite being present at its inception with his review of the 1817 work in which the word ‘medieval’ first appeared. Revising received critical and semantic histories of ‘Gothic’ being subsumed by the medieval, the chapter explores the articulation and the ongoing significance of a more granular, aphasic and rhizomatic approach to the art and culture of the Middle Ages.
This chapter examines the numerous meanings of ‘Gothic’ in the period before 1800 to explain how it was understood in a variety of contexts, from politics and Protestantism to architectural heritage and literary style. The ancient Goths were simultaneously seen as the barbarian destroyers of Classical civilisation, and as the northern champions of liberty against Roman tyranny and corruption. The reputed organisation of ancient Gothic society was understood to have provided the foundations for post-Roman English and later British systems of government, so influencing both the constitution and contemporary politics, especially among Whigs. The perceived links between the Goths of antiquity and the history and society of the Middle Ages and the Reformation in turn provided the basis of a national cultural identity that was increasingly celebrated and revived in the eighteenth century, and the term was adopted in broader debates on governance, cultural values, national character and the environment. The literary dimensions of Gothicism, inspired by medieval romances, added further characteristics of the supernatural and the mysterious to the term's changing meanings.
This chapter examines the career of Alexandre-Charles Sauvageot, the violinist-turned-collector of French medieval and Renaissance art, who became one of the prime donors to the Louvre in the nineteenth century. It reconstructs his social networks of collectors in the immediate post-revolutionary period and examines how their purchases were identified as a salvage crusade. It points out the ambivalence of Sauvageot’s cabinet as both a domestic space and a semi-public urban attraction and explores the mixed motives that prompted his unprecedented decision to donate his artworks to the Louvre in 1856. To that extent, it explores not only why the Second Empire witnessed a growing convergence between private collectors and state cultural institutions, but also the ongoing tensions created by this new partnership. It traces the fate of Sauvageot’s bequest after his death and suggests why the reputation of his collection was soon overtaken by other developments in the 1860s in the taste for the fine and decorative arts.
The topographical section of the Ordnance Survey in Ireland (1824-1842) produced a monumental study of the language, history and culture of Ireland. This chapter argues that the Survey, while often derided as an act of colonial appropriation and criticised for its inelegant translations of place names, was a crucial institution in the formation of Irish literature and in the construction of history and memory. The Survey’s many afterlives shaped the course of literary production in the nineteenth century, and three of those afterlives are briefly sketched out in this chapter. From the Survey’s preservationist attitude to the Irish language, to its part in the growth of a positivistic school of historical research and its hand in establishing the Aran Islands as a fount of an imagined national culture, the impact of the Survey is not far to seek in Irish culture in the nineteenth century.
This chapter examines the extent to which the Gaelic literary tradition was in a state of transition during the period 1780–1830. It discusses the growing influence of the English language and contemporary English literature on the Gaelic tradition that led to new innovations in genre and style. In addition, contact with English influenced the manner in which creative material in the Irish language was treated. The confluence of languages also had implications for the orthographic system employed in manuscripts and methods of transmission, both manuscript and printed. A growing interest in Irish-language literature, manuscripts, and historical sources among non-native scholars drawn from the Anglo-Irish Protestant elite led to the preservation of much Gaelic material in English translation. These translations served another important purpose, however, as they provided new source material that would be drawn upon for inspiration by Anglo-Irish writers later in the nineteenth century.
Where once scholars were prone to seeing the decades prior to the foundation of the Gaelic League in 1893 as a period of little output in the way of Irish-language literature outside of the pre-Revival productions of antiquarians, recent years have seen a growing interest in the vernacular writings of this period across a range of textual formats. Nineteenth-century printed texts and manuscripts – often, more like handmade books than pre-modern codices, akin to their printed counterparts – in fact constitute the majority of the surviving corpus of Irish-language writing for the pre-1900 period. These works consisted of a mix of original writing, creatively edited collections and, above all, selected re-copied texts from earlier centuries. Fenian lays, histories of dispossession, and religious prose dominated the contents of these texts, a popularity that often encouraged antiquarians to select these same writings for publication in early scholarly editions. As such, the overlap between vernacular literary output and that of the antiquarian and proto-Revival practitioners was often greater than the contrasting backgrounds of these two communities would suggest.
Classicism and classical allusion provided writers of the period with a time-honoured way of thinking about personal and political life. Fragments of classical story survived in popular culture and there was a tradition of gentry classicism, typified by Burke’s appropriation of the classical sublime, signifying expensive education perhaps supplemented by travel. Artists, sculptors, and architects who might have studied in Rome could supplement and stimulate textual appropriations with visual representations of classical myth, heroism, and civic or senatorial dignity. Patriotic antiquarianism, both exploited and mocked by Thomas Moore, selected possible references to the antiquity, civility, and fortitude of Ireland from classical sources. Poets of both sexes elegantly imitated classical praise of love and wine. But gentry classicism was gradually extended and democratised, sometimes sharpening into quasi-Juvenalian satire, through growing awareness and deployment of classically derived discourses of rights and liberty. Moore’s mellifluous Anacreon versions were followed by the more national Irish Melodies.
This essay explores the nature, extent, and significance of Gaelic influences and echoes in a range of Irish novels published between 1700 and 1780. Most Irish novels published in that period were written by Protestants, whose first language was English and many of whom had limited, if any, access to primary sources in the Irish language. In addition, many early Irish novels were published, at least initially, in London and frequently addressed to English readers with little knowledge of, or interest in, Irish history or contemporary affairs. Nevertheless, there are notable exceptions, as some Irish novels - Irish Tales (1716); Gulliver’s Travels (1726); The Life of John Buncle, Esq. (1756); and TheFool of Quality;or, The History of Henry, Earl of Moreland (1765) draw on beliefs and traditions associated with Irish-language culture in ways that illuminate both the diversity and the particularity of early Irish fiction. Direct reference and oblique allusion to Irish history, traditions, and culture within these novels not only facilitated the correction of Anglophone misapprehensions about Ireland and the Irish but also illuminates interactions between the worlds of the Irish-speaking majority and the Protestant elite in eighteenth-century Ireland.