Electronic Editions

Romantic Circles Electronic Editions offers a searchable archive of texts of the Romantic era, enhanced by technology made possible in an online environment. Each edition is based on the highest scholarly standards and is peer-reviewed.

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August 2013

The Collected Letters of Robert Southey, Part Four 1810 to 1815

Part Four, covering the period 1810-1815, was a crucial one for Southey’s career and reputation. It has, however, never before been fully documented or fully understood. By 1810 he was established in Keswick – a Lake Poet by residence if not by inclination and one whose interests and connections engaged him in global networks and exchanges. The years 1810-1815 were exceptionally busy ones for Southey. His output was, even by his own standards, prodigious and diverse, encompassing history, reviews, biography, polemics and chronicles of contemporary events. A productive time for Southey the prose writer, the period also saw the revitalisation of his poetic career with the publication of two long poems (The Curse of Kehama in 1810 and Roderick, the Last of the Goths in 1814), new editions of earlier works and plans for new verses aplenty.

A distinctive feature of Southey’s shorter poems from this time is a move towards and investment in the contemporary. It was a move prompted by his controversial decision, in November 1813, to accept the Poet Laureateship. The letters we publish here make it possible for the first time to chart how and why that decision was made, how the resulting disputes were ignited, and how Southey responded to them. In so doing, they show how Southey’s high hopes for the Laureateship foundered on the rocks of reality and thus provide new insights into the vexatious relationship between Romantic poets and the public sphere.

Note: With the publication of Parts 3 and 4, Technical Editor Dr. Laura Mandell has added indexes that allow finding all letters by names of addresees, names of people mentioned in them, and names of places mentioned in them. Visit the Correspondents, Biographies, and Places files to see these indexes at work. A dynamic graphing tool called "Relate" indicates relationships among members of the Southey Circle, and an article by Mandell and Pratt describing how to use that tool will be available in the next few days at Digital Studies / Le Champ Numérique, a special issue concerning data visualization.

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The Collected Letters of Robert Southey, Part Three 1804 to 1809

Part Three is the first-ever collected edition of the surviving letters written by Southey between 1804 and 1809. The letters published here begin with Southey writing to his brother with a draft of his epic poem Madoc; they end on New Year’s Eve 1809, with him discussing Coleridge’s The Friend and his own new writing in the Quarterly Review and The Curse of Kehama (published in 1810). The years 1804–1809 saw the consolidation of important relationships and correspondences, notably with the statistician John Rickman, the translator William Taylor, and the writer Mary Barker. New correspondences of lasting significance were begun: with Neville White, brother of Henry Kirke White, leading to Southey’s editing of Henry’s Remains; with Matilda Betham, who would paint Southey’s and his family’s portraits in London and Keswick; with Anna Seward, who would support his poetry in the press and to whom he would make an hilarious visit; with Walter Savage Landor, whose enthusiasm for his poetry inspired him to return to writing verse in The Curse of Kehama and Roderick, the Last of the Goths (1814); with Walter Scott, whose good offices led Southey to a new career writing for the Quarterly Review and the Edinburgh Annual Register, and to the Laureateship.

March 2013

Nobody: A Comedy in Two Acts 1794

This electronic edition of Mary Robinson’s Nobody (Drury Lane, 1794), based on the only surviving manuscript of the play (LA 1046) housed in the Larpent collection at the Henry E. Huntington Library, is the first to present a widely-available and searchable transcript of the play along with a comprehensive introduction, extensive notes by the editor, and contexts of the drama, including contemporary commentaries, poems, puffs, and reviews, an account of the public reaction to the play from the Memoirs of the Late Mrs. Robinson (1801), and relevant excerpts from Mary Robinson’s 'Present State of the Manners, Society, &c. &c. of the Metropolis of England' (1800) and James Boaden’s The Life of Mrs. Jordan (1831).
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October 2012

The Gipsy Prince 1801

Published here for the first time, The Gipsy Prince (Haymarket, 24 July 1801), was the collaboration of Thomas Moore who composed the libretto and lyrics and Michael Kelly who provided the musical score. Though it had the second longest run of Haymarket's summer season, the censoring authorities had not recognized the ploy of introducing the Irish under English rule as Gipsies during the Spanish Inquisition. Although the play could not be revived the following season, publisher John Roach supported Moore by publishing the hoaxing "source," a prose narrative from which Moore pretended to have derived his play. With an introduction by Frederick Burwick, this edition includes his transcription of the previously unpublished manuscript, the prose narrative ostensibly translated from the Spanish, the sheet music as published by Michael Kelly, recordings of the overture and songs as performed under the musical direction of Stephen Pu, and a variorum of the lyrics to facilitate side-by-side comparisons of all versions of the songs. The edition also provides page-by-page images of the original materials.
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July 2012

Robert Southey and Millenarianism: Documents Concerning the Prophetic Movements of the Romantic Era

This edition 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.
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The Banks of Wye 1811,1813,1823

An edition of Robert Bloomfield's multimedia picturesque tour of the Wye valley. Poem, tour journal, sketchbook. 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.
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March 2012

Norse Romanticism

This edition collects twenty-one British writers from c. 1760–1830, a period which is today associated with the rise of Romantic sensibilities. A number of literary works in Britain were inspired by Old Norse manuscripts, collections of Danish folklore or similar such texts from Scandinavia. This electronic edition is a selection of these by canonical authors (such as Thomas Gray, William Blake, William Wordsworth, Robert Southey, Walter Scott, and Ann Radcliffe), as well as selections by lesser known writers, whose texts have not previously been available to modern readers. This edition provides the contextual framework and necessary commentary to explain the ways in which these writers repurpose Norse material.
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August 2011

The Collected Letters of Robert Southey, Part Two 1798 to 1803

Robert Southey was one of the best-known, controversial and innovative writers in late eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century Britain. Based upon extensive new archival research, this Collected edition makes available for the first time all his surviving letters, freshly edited, annotated and introduced. Part Two covers 1798-1803, a turbulent and crucial time for Southey. It encompasses his public and private responses to Lyrical Ballads (1798); his reaction to the rise of Napoleon and the continuing conflict between Britain and revolutionary France; his second and final visit to Portugal and the resultant hardening of his anti-Catholicism; his unhappy stint as a secretary to the Irish Chancellor Isaac Corry, and his emotional bludgeoning by the deaths in relentless succession between 1801-1803 of three Margarets, his cousin, mother and first child.
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October 2010

Thoughts in Prison 1777

Romantic Circles is pleased to announce the publication of William Dodd's long poem Thoughts in Prison (1777). Written while he was awaiting execution for forgery in his Newgate prison cell, the poem is unique among prison writings and in the history of English literature: none of the many reflections, stories, essays, ballads, and broadside "Confessions" originating—or purporting to have originated—in a jail cell over the last few hundred years can begin to match it in length, in the irony of its author's notoriety, or in the completeness of its erasure from history after a meteoric career in print that began to wane only at the turn of the nineteenth century.

An appendix presents manuscript versions of Samuel Taylor Coleridge's "This Lime-Tree Bower, my Prison," by way of suggesting a reliance, at least metaphorically, on this major work of prison literature by Romantic writers.
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September 2009

The Letters of Robert Bloomfield and His Circle

This edition builds upon new scholarship on Romantic rural poet Robert Bloomfield, collecting all his extant letters plus a selection of those written to him by literary correspondents, with the hope that by presenting a properly edited and annotated collected letters we might enable the poet to be a significant figure for all those studying early nineteenth-century literature and culture.

May 2009

Frankenstein 1818,1831

This edition of Frankenstein, in gestation for over fifteen years, provides the texts of both the 1818 and 1831 editions, as well as copious annotations that emphasize the novel's strong inter- and intra-textual connections.
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March 2009

The Collected Letters of Robert Southey, Part One 1791 to 1797

Robert Southey was one of the best-known, controversial and innovative writers in late eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century Britain. Based upon extensive new archival research, this Collected edition makes available for the first time all his surviving letters, freshly edited, annotated and introduced. Part One covers 1791-1797, turbulent years which saw the forging of Southey's career and reputation, his involvement in radical politics, and the beginning of his friendships with Wordsworth and Coleridge.
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The Collected Letters of Robert Southey

Robert Southey was one of the best-known, controversial and innovative writers in late eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century Britain. Based upon extensive new archival research, this Collected edition makes available for the first time all his surviving letters, freshly edited, annotated and introduced.

March 2008

The Fall of Robespierre 1794

This edition provides an annotated text of the play, supplemented by a wide range of literary and journalistic materials that offer contexts in which to understand the work's place in relation to the authors' politics, the transmission and reception of news, and the role of Robespierre within English political culture.
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December 2007

New Letters from Charles Brown to Joseph Severn

A collection of 46 letters published in full for the first time, shedding new light on the life and character of Charles Brown and the most important friendship in the Keats Circle, as well as Keats’s complex legacy to his friends.

August 2007

The Brides' Tragedy

This edition presents both the full text and relevant contexts of the play, including a comprehensive introduction and extensive notes by the editor, two of the sources of the play, and four contemporary reviews.
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October 2006

The Temple of Nature 1803

The first fully annotated edition of Erasmus Darwin's influential scientific poem and its copious original notes; including the first publication, from draft, of Darwin's hitherto unknown poetic history of technology, The Progress of Society.
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January 2005

Wondrous Tale of Alroy

This early novel, first published in 1833, represents Disraeli in "romantic mode." This version features the novel, an introduction, annotations, reprints of Disraeli's sources, contemporary reviews, & modern criticism, as well as a detailed bibliography of Disraeli's life and works, criticism, & other contextual materials.
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September 2004

British War Poetry in the Age of Romanticism 1793 to 1815

An electronic edition of Bennett's collection of 350 poems highlighting the complex attitudes to the wars of the period. Includes Bennett's original introduction & a new bibliography of poems not included in the original edition.
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August 2004

Wat Tyler 1817,1835,1850,1860

An electronic edition of Robert Southey's poem based on the peasants' rebellion of 1381. This edition provides contextual background on the poem's embattled publication and partisan reception.
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