Posts in category "What Are You Working On?"

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Thematic Blogging at RC

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I'm pleased to announce an ongoing series of guest bloggers for Romantic Circles web log. RC has asked scholars to write about thematic issues in Romanticism and post their musings on the RC blog for three to four months. We're beginning the thematic thread with issues of Ecocriticism. This theme will run from July through October. Guest bloggers for Ecocriticism will be Kurt Fosso, Timothy Morton, and Ashton Nichols. In the future, we will invite other scholars with other thematic issues of interest to contemporary scholarship.
The blog allows readers to comment on the posts. So, we hope readers will weigh in on the guest bloggers' entries and advance the conversation. --Ron Broglio

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What are you working on? (Michael O'Neill)

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We asked Michael O'Neill, of the University of Durham, "What are you working on?"

I have been working on a number of things, all connected with my wish to write on poems that I admire and to explore why I think they are impressive. Most of these projects have appeared in essay form: forthcoming pieces include an essay on "Adonais" and poetic power, a wide-ranging survey of poetic forms and Romanticism for Nicholas Roe's new OUP volume on Romanticism, further work on Beddoes, an essay on the legacy of Romanticism in the work of twentieth-century poets, especially Crane, Stevens, Yeats, and Bishop, an essay on Shelley's translation of the Symposium that seeks to explore its qualities as a "prose poem," some essays on Byron (including a piece on Beppo), and an essay on "Madness in poetry from Shelley to Plath." What I'm trying to work towards is a book on Romanticism and its Poetic Legacy.

Best wishes,
Michael O'Neill

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"Crossing the Channel" in New York

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Back on September 8, 2003, we posted a report from Andrew Elfenbein on an exhibit in Minneapolis, Crossing the Channel. The exhibit has since moved to New York’s Metropolitan Museum, and we’re pleased to have received this firsthand review of the exhibit by Karl Kroeber of Columbia University.

Any Romanticists passing through New York en route to Bayonne or New London would be well rewarded by taking time to visit the Metropolitan Museum exhibition CROSSING THE CHANNEL: BRITISH AND FRENCH PAINTING IN THE AGE OF ROMANTICISM. No blockbuster, this exhibition even lacks sharp focus, but the blurriness is appropriate to the strange fashion in which Britain and France in the visual arts (as in other cultural areas) in the first years of the nineteenth century intersected and even interacted in a manner that only dramatized their differences--caught with deadly satiric accuracy in Carle Vernet's watercolor of English visitors in Paris after Waterloo.

One enters the exhibit to be smashed in the face by Gericault's huge RAFT OF THE MEDUSA, studding even in the form of this Victorianized 1859 copy by Guillermet and Ronjat. Alongside is Turner's DISASTER AT SEA and Danby's striking but less celebrated SUNSET AT SEA AFTER SNOWSTORM)—which epitomizes the distinctive national styles--Gericault all people suffering, Turner all waves in action. One of the best thing in the show is the variety of works by Gericault, including studies of truncated limbs and severed heads, and two of his terrific MONOMANIA portraits, as well as examples of his LONDON lithographs, with wonderful rendering not of race horses but working Clydesdales. A variety of splendid Boningtons, both oils and watercolors, may be the prize on the British side. But Turner is well represented (once dramatized by juxtaposition with John Martin's darkness-invisible DELUGE), most notably by CROSSING THE BROOK (but what the hell is the dog carrying in its mouth?), as is Constable by the lovely ON THE STOUR and the WHITE HORSE, each worth the price of admission for those who don't live near the Frick Museum. Among the French whom Constable directly influenced, Huet is the best (his HARVEST distinguished by a top-hatted scarecrow and an intrusive smoke stack signaling the advent of industrialism)--especially his watercolor CANNES.

French artists' unreciprocated illustrations of British literature are represented by three Giaours and a raft of scenes from Scott--including a weird Delacroix LUCY ASHTON'S BRIDAL NIGHT. Deservedly more famous is his GREECE ON THE RUINS OF MISSOLONGHI here with Greece's cleavage splendidly highlighted. But for many Romanticists much of the show's interest will lie in the variety of less celebrated works, among which I note only Wilkie's VILLAGE HOLIDAY, the first painting purchased for the National Gallery from a living artist, but here outclassed by the sharper-sighted and more dramatic French MOVING DAY alongside by Louis Boilly. Even more stunning is Ingres’ ENTRY OF THE DAUPHIN, a superbly painted archaizing of the troubadour style, the kind of thing only a true master can casually toss off. Something of the same virtuosity in reverse appears in Varley's amazing SUBURBS OF AN ANCIENT CITY--Poussin in watercolor, by God!

Karl Kroeber

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What are you working on? (Susan Wolfson)

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We asked: "What are you working on?" Susan Wolfson answered with this list:

1. Peter Manning and I are currently writing new introductions and
updating the Further Reading lists for two Penguin Byrons: our edition
of Selected Poems, and the Steffan/Pratt Don Juan.

2. I'm now general editor of the Longman Cultural Editions, and am
supervising various projects, in various stages of development, including
my own edition of John Keats (with a fresh editing of key letters from
holographs)

3. I'm embarrassed to say that I am almost done with Figures on the
Margins
, my long delayed study of Romanticism and gender, with chapters
on Hemans, Jewsbury, Byron, Keats, and lots of other figures coursing
through.

Cheers,
Susan

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What are you working on? (Karl Kroeber)

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Today we asked Karl Kroeber of Columbia University, “What are you working on?”

I am "working" (as you know when classes are in session and the department is hiring, there is little productive personal intellectual labor) on two projects. A contrast of visual and verbal narrative, focused on nineteenth-century novels and twentieth-century films, with significant emphasis falling on what I consider romantic novels by Jane Austen and Emily Bronte. The second project is a study of "children's literature," the roots of which I identify with Blake and Wordsworth, whom I associate with Hans Christian Anderson and later Kipling, in a line running through Tolkien and T. H. White and Richard Adams into Phillip Pullman. This line is distinguished by its antagonism to the overwhelming bulk of "children's literature" that increasingly appeals to and reinforces a commodified imagining, a Disneyfied perversion of imagining encouraged by all commercial movies and TV directed at children.

Karl Kroeber

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What are you working on? (Jerry Hogle)

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Today we asked Jerrold Hogle, of the University of Arizona, "What are you working on?"

I am presently working on a book-project currently titled The Gothic Image In The Romantic Poem, towards which I launched initial forays (bringing forth useful suggestions from colleagues) at the 2001 and 2002 NASSR and the 2003 International Gothic Association Conferences. This effort tries to bring together at last the two main tracks in my research, Romantic poetry and the whole "Gothic" phenomenon. Building on the good work of Michael Gamer, Anne Williams, David Punter, and others, I hope to offer an informative new take on the complex "baggage" that the Gothic brings to Romantic poems when it is used there (often with some disparagement). What is brought out in that "baggage," I am starting to find, varies greatly from author to author, and at this point I plan to treat Smith, Wordsworth, Coleridge, Robinson, Byron, the Shelleys, and Keats, along with others. In all cases, though, I am finding so far that the most irresolvable parts of each writer's own struggles between ideologies in the culture at the time are "thrown off" into the Gothic because it is in the very nature of the Gothic to provide that sort of "abject" symbolic location. I will be grateful for any and all suggestions as I proceed.

Jerry Hogle
http://www.u.arizona.edu/~hogle/

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What are you working on? (Ron Broglio)

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This week we asked our friend Ron Broglio of Georgia Tech, "What are you working on?" Turns out he was working in Sweden.

I’m working on a book chapter on the role of longitude in figuring landscapes. The chapter looks at the ecology of tools and how different tools provided different kinds of human comportment with place. For example, lunar method, with its charts and various instruments, creates a different distributed cognition than clocks do in the Romantic period. While working on the chapter I found my way to Stockholm’s eighteenth-century observatory--now a museum overlooking the city. It has a wealth of instruments and historical information on clocks, longitude and meridians, and maps from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. It’s not the Greenwich observatory, but this museum is worth seeing if you’re in Stockholm. The instruments are well preserved and the history is well presented. Afterwards, one can stroll through the old part of town and visit various rare map stores, then take a coffee at one of many streetside cafes.

http://www.observatoriet.kva.se/engelska/utstallningar/bas/gamlameridian.html

Ron Broglio

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What are you working on? (Kevin Binfield)

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From time to time we intend to use this blog to ask a scholar in our community, “What's on your desk right now? What are you working on?,” and then post the response. (We got the idea from The Believer magazine.) This seems a good way for all of us to keep up with new or forthcoming projects and to be inspired by their example. So we started by asking the question of Kevin Binfield of Murray State University.

I just spent two weeks face down in the copyedited manuscript for my book, Writings of the Luddites (forthcoming Spring 2004, John Hopkins University Press). Though famous for their violent protests, the Luddites also engaged in literary resistance in the form of poems, proclamations, petitions, songs, and letters. This volume collects complete texts written by Luddites and their sympathizers 1811-1816, organized into the three primary regions of origin—the Midlands, Northwestern England, and Yorkshire. The book includes an extensive introduction to the texts, a historical overview for those unfamiliar with the particulars of the Luddites and their activities, an exploration of their rhetorical strategies, detailed headnotes and a discussion of the social and rhetorical context. Written for the most part from a collective point of view, the Luddite writings range from judicious to bloodthirsty in tone, and reveal a fascination with the language of custom and trade, legal forms of address, petitions and political discourse, the more personal forms of Romantic literature, and the political revolutions in France and America.

I’m also working on a book tentatively titled Labor Romanticism. The book treats the poetics of several working class writers and writer collectives during the long Romantic period--Elizabeth Hands, Susanna Pearson, Janet Little, Frances Greensted, Robert Bloomfield, Christian Milne, Charlotte Richardson, William Lane, Sarah Newman, and the Luddites. My purposes are to read the verse for its formal elements, to identify a set of practices and preferences that we might call a "Labor Romantic" poetics, and to advocate reading their work as poetry with a beauty that results from locale, trade, and custom, rather than merely as sociological artifacts.

Thanks for asking!

Peace,
Kevin Binfield

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