Romantic Circles Reviews

Jerome McGann, A New Republic of Letters: Memory and Scholarship in the Age of Digital Reproduction. Review by Brian Rejack.

Jerome McGann. A New Republic of Letters: Memory and Scholarship in the Age of Digital Reproduction (Harvard University Press, Cambridge: 2014). 256 pp. (Hdbk., $39.95; ISBN 9780674728691).

Brian Rejack
Illinois State University

Dometa Wiegand Brothers. The Romantic Imagination and Astronomy: On All Sides Infinity. Review by Kurtis Hessel

Dometa Wiegand Brothers. The Romantic Imagination and Astronomy:  On All Sides Infinity (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2015). 216 pp. (Hdbk. and ebook, $90.00; cloth ISBN 9781137474339, ebook ISBN 9781137474346).

Kurtis Hessel
University of Colorado Boulder

Nancy Yousef, Romantic Intimacy. Review by Aaron Ottinger.

Nancy Yousef, Romantic Intimacy (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2013). 192 pp. (Hdbk. or digital, $55.00; cloth ISBN: 9780804786096, digital ISBN: 9780804788274).

Aaron Ottinger
University of Washington

In 2010, the Museum of Modern Art in New York hosted Marina Abramović’s performance, The Artist is Present. For seventy-five days, Abramović sat in a chair while a succeeding rotation of museumgoers sat parallel to the artist and gazed into her face. Some patrons stared at Abramović for hours at a time; meanwhile, no words were exchanged. How can we characterize this strange encounter between artist and audience?

Romanticism and Enlightenment by Rowan Rose Boyson

Rowan Rose Boyson collects and discusses seven wide-ranging approaches to the subject of Romanticism and Enlightenment:

  1. Marshall Brown, ‘Romanticism and Enlightenment’ in The Cambridge Companion to British Romanticism, ed. by Stuart Curran, 2nd edn (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010)
  2. Simon Swift, Romanticism, Literature and Philosophy: Expressive Rationality in Rousseau, Kant, Wollstonecraft and Contemporary Theory (Continuum, 2009)
  3. Frances Ferguson, Pornography: The Theory, or what Utilitarianism did to Action (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2004)
  4. Nancy Yousef, Isolated Cases: Anxieties of Autonomy in Enlightenment Philosophy and Romantic Literature (Cornell University, 2004)
  5. The Sublime: A Reader in British Eighteenth-Century Aesthetic Theory, ed. by Andrew Ashfield and Peter de Bolla (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996)
  6. Elizabeth Eger, Bluestockings: Women of Reason from Enlightenment to Romanticism (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010)
  7. Jacques Rancière’s Aisthesis: Scenes from the Aesthetic Regime of Art, trans. by Zakir Paul (London: Verso, 2013)

The Annotated Frankenstein, eds. Susan J. Wolfson and Ronald Levao

Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, The Annotated Frankenstein, eds. Susan J. Wolfson and Ronald Levao (Harvard: Belknap Press, 2012). 400 pp. (Hdbk., $29.95; ISBN 978-0-674-05552-0).

Reviewed by
Nora Crook
Anglia Ruskin University at Cambridge

The Annotated Frankenstein? Most new editions of Frankenstein are annotated now. One thinks of those that have been published or updated in recent years—landmarks such as Charles Robinson’s The Original Frankenstein (2008), Stuart Curran’s wonderfully compendious Romantic Circles hypertext (2009), fine teaching editions (all using the 1818 text) such as Macdonald and Scherf’s Broadview (3rd ed., 2012), Paul Hunter’s Norton (2nd ed., 2012), Judith Wilt’s New Riverside (2003), and not least the Longman (2nd ed. 2007), edited by Wolfson, reviewed in Romantic Circles in 2004.

Susan J. Wolfson, Borderlines: The Shiftings of Gender in British Romanticism and Romantic Interactions: Social Being and the Turns of Literary Action

Susan J. Wolfson, Borderlines: The Shiftings of Gender in British Romanticism (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2006). 430 pp. (Hdbk., $ 97.95; Pbk., $ 29.95; ISBN-10: 0-8047-6105-1; ISBN-13: 978-0-8047-6105-5). Wolfson, Romantic Interactions: Social Being and the Turns of Literary Action (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2010). 381 pp. (Hdbk., $ 70; Pbk., $ 29.95; ISBN-10: 0-8018-9474-3; ISBN-13: 978-0-8018-9474-9).

Reviewed by
Diego Saglia
University of Parma, Italy

Although published six years apart, these two volumes belong in the same multifaceted critical mosaic. Both studies address the distinctive concerns which have been central to Susan Wolfson’s critical practice since the 1980s—her preoccupation with gender, her focus on literary form, and her indefatigable search for an increasingly detailed, as well as historically attuned, approach to the stylistic materiality of literary works. As with her previous works, these books require us to read intensively into texts, and we cannot escape this demand as we gradually explore their largely shared literary terrain: Hemans and Byron, mostly, but also Wollstonecraft, the Wordsworths and Keats. Wollstonecraft, in particular, plays a major role in Wolfson’s presentation of her argument in the earlier Borderlines, and its discussion of the continuities and discontinuities within Romantic-period gender debates between the 1790s and the 1830s.

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