This special issue explores the notion that many of the forms, ideas, and practices inaugurated or exemplified in the Romantic period continue to shape and drive our contemporary discourses. Literary critics, cultural and political theorists, and, indeed, our students continue to encounter new permutations—if not the continued presence—of something that might be called the romantic. But how is the (neo-)romantic expressed in contemporary culture? And how might we best prepare students to listen for and hear its repetitions? How might we teach the romantic alongside the contemporary without either reducing one to the other or eliding important historical, cultural, and social contexts? In response to these questions, the nine essays and three interviews that comprise this volume address the repetitions and reverberations of the romantic as it recurs across genre, period, and media boundaries in popular culture, contemporary political situations, changing classroom dynamics, and the constantly shifting domains of literary and pedagogical practice and production.
In this recorded interview, D. B. Ruderman sits down with Marjorie Levinson to discuss the many interconnected strands of romantic and post-romantic thinking that motivate and inform her teaching and research.
In this recorded interview, Brian McGrath and Walt Hunter, colleagues and romantic and contemporary poetry scholars respectively, discuss the usefulness of teaching contemporary poetry in the romanticism classroom, and vice versa.
This essay discusses how a course about 'literature and
revolution' invites students to make use of depression as an affective
explanation for the history of optimism, disappointment, reluctant
transformation, and fear of the future. Students assess their relationship to
the ongoing past in which modernity, mobility, self-making, and optimism were
first offered as political goals for entire societies, and consider how a 'long
revolution' shapes their relationship to the disappointing present, in the
literature classroom as a locus, instrument, and effect of radical social
In this essay, I relate my experience of teaching an
upper-division class on romantic poetry—my struggles, assumptions and
discoveries, and my ultimate decision to revise the way I teach, and to some
extend think about, romanticism. The problem—the contemporary/romantic
opposition (the topic of this volume of essays)—turned out to be a pedagogical
and critical opportunity. It also became a way for my students and me to think
and talk about an even deeper split, the schism between the values of our
contemporary culture (including the culture of an increasingly professionalized
and professionalizing academia) and those of an “aesthetic education.” In what
follows, I give firsthand reports about what worked and what didn’t in a class
that came to be called “Repetitions of the Romantic,” an engagement with
romantic and post-romantic art. Along the way, I address some methodological
problems, and offer some reflections on the fragility of teaching the humanities
in the contemporary classroom and more specifically on what I see to be the
challenges and benefits of teaching the romantic within specific contexts, in my
case within the economic and social micro-culture of central Ohio.