Romantic Circles is pleased to announce the following new
resources, along with a substantive update to an existing resource.
Bloomfield, The Banks of
Wye. An edition of Bloomfield's multimedia picturesque tour of the Wye
valley. Poem, tour journal, sketchbook. Ed. Tim Fulford.
This edition presents
a rare surviving example of the kind of multimedia production that arose from one of the new
cultural activities of the late eighteenth century—the picturesque and antiquarian tour. It
comprises a facsimile of the manuscript sketch- and scrap-book that Robert Bloomfield made
after his 1807 tour of the Wye, an annotated transcription of the prose tour-journal that he
incorporated into his scrap book, and a collated and annotated text of the poetic versions
of the tour that were published (as The Banks of Wye) in 1811, 1813, and 1823. Also
included are reproductions of the engravings that illustrated the 1811 and 1813
publications, deleted or unadopted passages from the manuscript of the poem, and a selection
of reviews from journals of the time. The whole represents a visually and verbally rich
response to the fashionable tour of the Wye. Bloomfield’s manuscript sketch- and scrap-book
is an example of the newly popular fashion for on-the-spot sketching. Full of self-penned
images of views and ruins, it is a fine example of the visual culture that the English
gentry began to produce and to value, a homemade book to pass around in drawing rooms before
turning either to the latest set of picturesque engravings or to the poetic tour —The
Banks of Wye — that Bloomfield himself issued in print. Bloomfield, indeed, hoped
to issue not just the poetic tour but also the ‘whole triple-page’d Journal, Drawings,
prose, and rhime’. Cost prohibited such a publication at the time: only now, with this
composite edition of poem, prose, scrap- and sketch-book, can we see the multimedia response
to the Wye that was then accessible only to the intimate friends among whom the manuscript
Robert Southey and
Millenarianism: Documents Concerning the Prophetic Movements of the Romantic
Era. Ed. Tim Fulford.
This website presents the first scholarly edition
of Robert Southey’s various writings about the prophetic movements of Romantic-era Britain.
Its aim is to throw new light on two related areas: the nature and history of millenarian
prophecy in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries—especially William Bryan,
Richard Brothers, and Joanna Southcott—, and the significance of prophecy in Southey’s
social, political analysis of his times. A fascinated commentator upon what he termed
‘enthusiasm’, Southey published two of the earliest accounts of Southcott and her
predecessors ever written, accounts derived both from personal acquaintance with some of the
major figures involved and from a detailed study of their writings. These accounts are
reproduced here, collated with the manuscripts on which they were based, and with
explanatory notes. In addition, a selection of Southey’s remarks on millenarians in his
private manuscript correspondence is presented, and an introduction comprising a brief
history of the prophetic movements in the Romantic era and a critical discussion of
Southey’s writings on the subject.
The Letters of Robert Bloomfield and
his Circle. Ed. Tim Fulford and Lynda Pratt The editors are delighted
to announce an update to their edition of Bloomfield collected letters, comprising four
previously unknown letters that throw new light on Bloomfield's relationship with his
patron, Capel Lofft, and on the patronage of labouring-class poets in the early nineteenth
century more generally. The letters also throw new light on periodical culture in the period
and present an early draft of one of Bloomfield's popular songs.