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Anthology Discussion Questions

A list of questions below may stimulate your commentary, or go straight to the Romantic Circles Anthologies Page User Forum to submit your comment.

Do anthologies reflect or shape Romantic literature?

  1. What effect(s) are the new anthologies having on the field of Romantic Studies? To what extent do they undo or otherwise contest the disciplinary hegemony of the 6 major authors, or of poetic genres?
  2. Rita Raley and Laura Mandell's web page, Anthologies and Miscellanies, sorts poetry collections into different categories (e.g. the miscellany, the beauty) in order to make an argument about the inextricable relations between the historical form of the anthology and the academic canon. The page basically asks: how might different kinds of poetry collections affect our concept of the literary, or of Literature?
  3. In Romanticism on the Net (August, 1997), Susan Wolfson gives an overview of anthology production during the last 40 years. How has the production of anthologies during the twentieth century shaped the field of Romantic Studies?

Go to the Anthologies User Forum to submit your comment.

Who shapes the new anthologies?

  1. In Romanticism on the Net (August, 1997), Susan Wolfson asks, what market forces are stimulating the production of the new Romantic anthologies?
  2. In Romanticism on the Net (August, 1997), Duncan Wu asks, should editors of the new anthologies provide what teachers want or prescribe what is to be taught?
  3. Many of the presentations appearing on Alan Liu's 1996 MLA panel The Canon and the Web lead to the question, how might the Internet affect anthology production, or the production of texts in general? Do the new technologies allow us to circumvent the problem of the anthology or the problem of the canon? In other words, is the "Romantics" page of the Voice of the Shuttle an anthology?

Go to the Anthologies User Forum to submit your comment.

What to do about the canon:

  1. In Romanticism on the Net (August, 1997), Laura Mandell asks, Do we want to dismantle or enlarge the canon?
  2. Are canon debates the result of relatively new theoretical insights (e.g., Barthes and Foucault on the author), or instead the product of extra-institutional forces that will lead to the dissolution of the discipline of English?
  3. Another dissolution (or transition, as the case may be) often remarked upon is that of the "Romantic" as it gives way to the "long 19th century" or even to the "Around 1800." How are these institutional shifts tied to the reformative project of the new anthologies, and how might they be enabling, detrimental, or even untrue?
  4. Laura Mandell's web site Romantic Canons: A Bibliography and an Argument argues that the concept of the canon arises during the Romantic period. To what extent is the field of Romantic Studies itself defined by the concept of canonical literature? Without a Romantic canon, can one have a Romantic period?
  5. In a response essay available at The Canon and the Web, Michael Gamer asks, what effect(s) will the Internet have on the Romantic canon?

Go to the Anthologies User Forum to submit your comment.

The Canon, the anthology, and the classroom:

  1. How will enlarging or dismantling the canon affect what goes on in the classroom?
  2. In Romanticism on the Net (August, 1997), Mellor and Matlak's essay asks and proposes some answers to the question, how do we use the new anthologies?
  3. How does one teach any specific non-canonical text?
  4. What are the effects, either in theory or in the classroom, of the proliferation of new Romantic anthologies as opposed to single-author editions?
  5. How might the ever-expanding online text archives, such as those at U Toronto, Columbia, and U Virginia, either obviate or make more apparent the need for a text-based anthology in the classroom? What stands to be gained or lost from letting students make up their own online anthologies for a course in Romanticism (perhaps in the form of a "hotlist" of links)?

Go to the Anthologies User Forum to submit your comment.

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