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Eighteenth-Century Women's Writing and the Methodist Media Revolution argues that Methodism in the eighteenth century was a media event that uniquely combined and utilized different types of media to reach a vast and diverse audience. Specifically, it traces particular cases of how evangelical and Methodist discourse practices interacted with major cultural and literary events during the long eighteenth century, from the rise of the novel through the Revolution controversy of the 1790s to the shifting ground for women writers leading up to the Reform era in the 1830s. The book maps the religious discourse patterns of Methodism onto works by authors like Samuel Richardson, Mary Wollstonecraft, Hannah More, Elizabeth Hamilton, Mary Tighe, and Felicia Hemans. This provides not only a better sense of the religious nuances of these authors' better-known works, but also a fuller consideration of the wide variety of genres in which women were writing during the period, many of which continue to be read as 'non-literary'. The scope of the book leads the reader from the establishment of evangelical forms of discourse in the 1730s to the natural ends of these discourse structures during the era of reform, all the while pointing to ways in which women - Methodist and otherwise - modified these discourse patterns as acts of resistance or subversion.
Can literature heal? The Poetics of Palliation argues that our answers to this question have origins in the Romantic period. In the past twenty years, health humanists and scholars of literature and medicine have drawn on Romantic ideas to argue that literature cures by making sufferers whole again. But this model oversimplifies how Romantic writers thought literature addressed suffering. Poetics documents how writers like William Wordsworth and Mary Shelley explored palliative forms of literary medicine: therapies that stressed literature's manifold relationship to pain and its power to sustain, comfort, and challenge even when cure was not possible. The book charts how Romantic writers developed these palliative poetics in conversation with their medical milieu. British medical ethics was first codified during the Romantic period. Its major writers, John Gregory and Thomas Percival, endorsed a palliative mandate to compensate for doctors' limited curative powers. Similarly, Romantic writers sought palliative approaches when their work failed to achieve starker curative goals. The startling diversity of their results illustrates how palliation offers a more comprehensive metric for literary therapy than the curative traditions we have inherited from Romanticism. 'This erudite and beautifully written book stages a dialogue between historicist work on Romanticism and medicine, disability studies, and the emerging field of the health humanities. Starting from the premise that the Romantic period was the first to conceive of literature as the stuff of medical therapy, Pladek shows it was also the first to criticise a naïve version of that view. In five crisp chapters, she shows how writers as diverse as Coleridge, Wordsworth, Keats, Thomas Lovell Beddoes, John Stuart Mill and Mary Shelley thought of literature as a palliative, not a cure, for human suffering. In each of these discussions, she reveals how romantic literature anticipated some of the most controversial ideas in the health humanities today, notably the notion that to be effective medicine must treat the whole person, and she also traces fascinating genealogies of a great many ideas in modern medicine that are assumed to have no romantic pedigree. The result is an interdisciplinary dialogue of the first order and a literary tour de force.' Neil Vickers, University College London'The Poetics of Palliation offers a serious and expert engagement with the field of the health humanities as a legacy of Romantic literature and criticism. Extensively researched, it will be an invaluable resource for anyone interested the relationship between those two areas, as well as in the intertwined genealogies of therapeutic holism, the New Criticism, and certain strains of liberalism. A reparative reader in the sense proposed by Eve Sedgwick, Pladek maintains her commitment to literature's ability to give and to model care, but without assuming that it can – or should – cure.'
Situated at the intersection of affect studies, ecocriticism, aesthetics, and Romantic studies, this book presents a genealogy of love in Romantic-era poetry, science, and philosophy. While feeling and emotion have been traditional mainstays of Romantic literature, the concept of love is under-studied and under-appreciated, often neglected or dismissed as idealized, illusory, or overly sentimental. However, Seth Reno shows that a particular conception of intellectual love is interwoven with the major literary, scientific, and philosophical discourses of the period. Romantic-era writers conceived of love as integral to broader debates about the nature of life, the biology of the human body, the sociology of human relationships, the philosophy of nature, and the disclosure of being.
Amorous Aesthetics traces the development of intellectual love from its first major expression in Baruch Spinoza's Ethics, through its adoption and adaptation in eighteenth-century moral and natural philosophy, to its emergence as a Romantic tradition in the work of six major poets. From William Wordsworth and John Clare's love of nature, to Percy Shelley's radical politics of love, to the more sceptical stances of Felicia Hemans, Alfred Tennyson, and Matthew Arnold, intellectual love is a pillar of Romanticism.
This book will interest scholars and students of Romanticism, eighteenth- and nineteenth-century British literature, affect studies, ecocriticism, aesthetics, and those who work at the intersection of literature and science.
In late December 1817, when attempting to name "what quality went to form a Man of Achievement especially in Literature," John Keats coined the term "negative capability," which he glossed as "being in uncertainties, Mysteries, doubts, without any irritable reaching after fact & reason." Since then negative capability has continued to shape assessments of and responses to Keats's work, while also surfacing in other contexts ranging from contemporary poetry to punk rock. The essays collected in this volume, taken as a whole, account for some of the history of negative capability, and propose new models and directions for its future in scholarly and popular discourse. The book does not propose a particular understanding of negative capability from among the many options (radical empathy, annihilation of self, philosophical skepticism, celebration of ambiguity) as the final word on the topic; rather, the book accounts for the multidimensionality of negative capability. Essays treat negative capability's relation to topics including the Christmas pantomime, psychoanalysis, Zen Buddhism, nineteenth-century medicine, and Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy. Describing the "poetical Character" Keats notes that "it enjoys light and shade; it lives in gusto, be it foul or fair, high or low, rich or poor, mean or elevated." This book, too, revels in such multiplicity.
William Gilbert, poet, theosophist and astrologer, published The Hurricane: A Theosophical and Western Eclogue in Bristol in 1796, while he was on intimate terms with key members of Bristol literary culture: Coleridge published an extract from The Hurricane in his radical periodical The Watchman; Robert Southey wrote of the poem’s ‘passages of exquisite Beauty’; and William Wordsworth praised and quoted a long passage from Gilbert’s poem in The Excursion. The Hurricane is a copiously annotated 450 line blank verse visionary poem set on the island of Antigua where, in 1763, Gilbert was born into a slave-owning Methodist family. The poem can be grouped with other apocalyptic poems of the 1790s—Blake’s Continental Prophecies, Coleridge's Religious Musings, Southey's Joan of Arc —all of which gave a spiritual interpretation to the dramatic political upheavals of their time. William Gilbert and Esoteric Romanticism presents the untold story of Gilbert’s progress from the radical occultist circles of 1790s London to his engagement with the first generation Romantics in Bristol. At the heart of the book is the first modern edition of The Hurricane, fully annotated to reveal the esoteric metaphysics at its core, followed by close interpretative analysis of this strange elusive poem.
In 1771 Joseph Banks and other wealthy collectors sent a talented, self-taught naturalist to Sierra Leone to collect all things rare and curious, from moths to monkeys. Henry Smeathman’s expedition to the West African coast, which coincided with a steep rise in British slave trading in this area, lasted four years during which time he built a house on the Banana Islands, married into the coast’s ruling dynasties, and managed to negotiate the tricky life of a ‘stranger’ bound to his landlord and local customs. In this book, which draws on a rich and little-known archive of journals and letters, Coleman retraces Smeathman’s life as he shuttled between his home on the Bananas and two key Liverpool trading forts—Bunce Island and the Isles de Los. In the logistical challenges of tropical collecting and the dispatch of specimens across the middle passage we see the close connection between science and slavery. We also see the hardening of Smeathman’s attitude towards the slaves, a change of sentiment which was later reversed by four years in the West Indies. The book concludes with the 'Flycatcher' back in London - a celebrated termite specialist, eager to return to West Africa to establish a free, antislavery settlement.
This collection of essays addresses a very broad range of E. T. A. Hoffmann’s most significant works, examining them through the lens of “transgression.” Transgression bears relevance to Hoffmann’s life and professions in three ways. First, his official career path was that of jurisprudence; he was active as a lawyer, a judge and eventually as one of the most important magistrates in Berlin. Second, his personal life was marked by numerous conflicts with political and social authorities. Seemingly no matter where he went, he experienced much chaos, grief and impoverishment in leading his always precarious existence. Third, his works explore characters and concepts beyond the boundaries of what was considered aesthetically acceptable. “Normal” bourgeois existence was often juxtaposed to the lives of criminals, sinners, and other deviants, both within the spaces of the known world as well as in supernatural realms. He, perhaps more than any other author of the German Romantic movement, regularly portrayed the dark side of existence in his works, including unconscious psychological phenomena, nightmares, somnambulism, vampirism, mesmerism, Doppelgänger, and other forms of transgressive behavior. It is the intention of this volume to provide a new look at Hoffmann’s very diverse body of work from numerous perspectives, stimulating interest in Hoffmann in English language audiences.