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Foucault and the Hedgerow History of Sexuality

This article argues that what it calls hedgerow envy, a generalized sense of having a non-historical stake in the meaning of a historical narrative—which is part of its inauthenticity and its theory—is also a central part of how Foucault's history works, as well as the debates his history has incited and played a part in over the historical meaning of sexuality and homosexuality.
January 2006

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Lincoln, "Walter Scott, Politeness, and Patriotism" - Romanticism and Patriotism: Nation, Empire, Bodies, Rhetoric

This essay argues that within Scott’s fictions the emergence of politeness is grounded in a history of social division and exclusion: the withdrawal of the higher classes from a common culture involved changes in the use of space, and changes in the acceptable norms of bodily behaviour. Following the example of Swift (seen as a great Irish patriot who strove to unite his nation by writing in “every varied form”) Scott’s own patriotic mission an attempt to compensate for, and counteract, the divisive social consequences of modernisation, not only at the level of ideological difference (by enacting moderation) but also at the level of feeling: the recoil from the ‘vulgar’ is transformed into a movement to re-establish relations on manageable terms. This essay appears in _Volume Title_, a volume of _Romantic Circles Praxis Series_, prepared exclusively for Romantic Circles (http://www.rc.umd.edu/), University of Maryland.

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Talking About Virtue: Paisiello's 'Nina,' Paër's 'Agnese,' and the Sentimental Ethos

This essay will examine how sentimentality and its valorization of virtue spread through one particular intersection of opera and literature; that is, the seduced maiden narrative is enacted in these operas, once as a comedy of sorts, once as a tragedy. Giovanni Paisiello's "Nina" (1789) was clearly influenced by the works of Samuel Richardson and Laurence Sterne, while Fernando Paër's "Agnese" (1809) is a direct adaptation of Amelia Opie's popular novella "The Father and Daughter" (1801). Furthermore, both of the operas spin in and out of ideological orbit with Richardson's novel Pamela; or Virtue Rewarded (1740-41), which in turn was rewritten by the Venetian playwright Carlo Goldoni in his dramatic adaptation Le Pamela Nubile (1753), the Irish playwright Isaac Bickerstaffe as the comic opera The Maid of the Mill (1765), and which then was later adapted and transformed by François de Neufchâteau into the opera Paméla (1793). And certainly we can detect sentimental familial concerns in Denis Diderot's dramas, particularly "Le Fils Naturel ou les épreuves de la vertu" ("The Natural Son; or, The Trials of Virtue," 1757). What I hope to suggest is that music and literature have collaborated in constructing a few fairly basic cultural scripts (domestic, familial, painful, and cathartic: recall Oedipus or Demeter/Persephone) that are then retold endlessly, continually readjusting the particulars to accommodate changing social and political conditions. Sentimentality as a value system, a potent ideology, almost a secularization of religion was spread throughout eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century European culture not simply through novels and dramas, but also by being performed in opera houses from London to Rome and Naples.
May 2005

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Scott Repatriated?: La Dame blanche Crosses the Channel

Scotland, close enough to visit, far enough to seem untamed and mysterious, enthralled nineteenth-century composers. Fascination fixated on Sir Walter Scott, whose works spawned numerous foreign operas. When these musical mutations migrated across the channel, however, they often collided with Britain's vision of her 'national' author. This is especially true with Boieldieu's La Dame blanche (1825). The opera succeeded in continental Europe, but two separate London productions failed. What stymied this metamorphosis? As I argue, the conflict between Londoners' nationalistic possessiveness of Scott and Scottish melodies on the one hand, yet their uneasiness with the novels on which the opera was based and its complex score on the other, placed these adaptations at a kind of cultural impasse. Ultimately, the layers of meaning Scott's works had accrued in England made the White Lady one citizen the English could not repatriate.
May 2005

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Gigante, "Introduction"

Romanticism may be associated with gusto, but it has hardly been recognizedat least within literary circlesas the period that saw the invention of the restaurant and a unique, comic-philosophical genre of writing about food. But in fact Romanticism was coterminous with, and in many ways emblematic of, the culture of sophistication and social positioning we associate with modern gastronomy. This essay appears in _Romantic Gastronomies_, a volume of _Romantic Circles Praxis Series_, prepared exclusively for Romantic Circles (http://www.rc.umd.edu/), University of Maryland.

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Garval, "Alexis Soyer and the Rise of the Celebrity Chef"

While largely forgotten today, French-born British culinarian Alexis Soyer (1809-1858), transformed our vision of the chef as a public figure. Like other early celebrity chefs, he first styled himself as a great man of letters, but his dandyism, theatrics, tireless self-fashioning and promotion, and, above all, his widely-read and flatteringly-illustrated books, propelled him toward a new kind of renown. In particular, his humanitarian efforts in the Crimean War, and account thereof in his Culinary Campaign (1857), established that chefs need not pretend to be great writers, to be seen as noteworthy personages – a shift underpinning their later emergence as broadcast stars. This essay appears in _Romantic Gastronomies_, a volume of _Romantic Circles Praxis Series_, prepared exclusively for Romantic Circles (http://www.rc.umd.edu/), University of Maryland.

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"Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star" as an Ambient Poem; a Study of a Dialectical Image; with Some Remarks on Coleridge and Wordsworth

This essay is a testing ground for "ambience," exploring the role of space in poetics, ideology and theory, building on the conclusion to the book The Poetics of Spice. Though ecocriticism and ecological philosophy talk about environmental awareness and "interconnectedness," we may not be certain of what we mean by such terms. They should, for example, remind all literary scholars of the idea, and the ideology, of the aesthetic. By closely reading the famous poem "The Star" by Jane Taylor, this essay delineates some of the poetic forms involved in the inscription of environmental awareness, such as minimalism, and the foregrounding of what in structuralism is called the "contact" or medium of communication. The essay investigates the possibility of a "feminine" form of Romantic ecology in contradistinction to more masculinist versions. It uses Jacques Lacan and Jacques Derrida to counter the representation of ecological awareness in Martin Heidegger and Jean-Paul Sartre. The essay discusses the work on culture and civilization by Geoffrey Hartman and Terry Eagleton to adumbrate the ways in which public space is evoked in environmental poetics. Walter Benjamin's notion of the "dialectical image" is employed to indicate the Janus-faced nature of the poetic and ideological fantasy of "ambience" (or "aura" in Benjamin). In considering William Wordsworth's sonnet "Composed upon Westminster Bridge" and Samuel Taylor Coleridge's The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, the essay investigates the virtues and vices of ambience, as opposed to a more Burkean, "maximalist" view of the natural world. The essay continues the line of thought explored in David Simpson's Wordsworth and the Figurings of the Real, especially the final section, "Societies of Figures."
November 2001

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