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See detailWriting in the Age of William IV
Millim, Anne-Marie UL; McCue, Maureen; Butler, Rebecca

in Yearbook of English Studies (2018), 48

This volume explores the literary, cultural, social and political climate in Britain during the reign of William IV (1830–37). Rarely discussed by scholars searching to define the ‘Romantic’ period, and ... [more ▼]

This volume explores the literary, cultural, social and political climate in Britain during the reign of William IV (1830–37). Rarely discussed by scholars searching to define the ‘Romantic’ period, and overshadowed by Queen Victoria, William IV’s reign signifies an important moment within the long nineteenth century, one whose literary output is marked by experimentation and generic instability. Rather than simply blurring the boundaries between the Romantic and Victorian periods, this diverse collection of essays demonstrates how the spirit of reform, creative experimentation, and an increasingly politically active middle-class readership produced a peculiar literary and material culture of its own. Responding to a wide range of print culture, including periodicals, albums, graphic satires, novels, poetry, travel writing and guidebooks, by canonical and non-canonical authors, such as Catherine Gore, James Hogg, John Ruskin, Mariana Starke, Thomas Hosmer Shepherd and Thomas Pringle, the essays in this volume map a complex network of conversation, personal and national identities, radical and conservative ideologies, and contested domestic and public spaces, both in Britain and abroad. By addressing various aspects of this remarkable period’s material culture and aesthetic innovations, the essays in this collection complicate our contemporary understanding of the long nineteenth century in Britain and open up new spaces for discussion. [less ▲]

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See detailLiterary Histories, National Literatures, and Early Conceptions of World Literature in the Athenaeum, 1833-1838.
Millim, Anne-Marie UL

in Yearbook of English Studies (2018), 48

The reign of William IV represents a period concerned with questions of national identity, not only in a national context, but also in a global one. Periodicals of the time, such as the Athenaeum, present ... [more ▼]

The reign of William IV represents a period concerned with questions of national identity, not only in a national context, but also in a global one. Periodicals of the time, such as the Athenaeum, present the co-existence of two related, but inherently opposite conceptions of literature and its functions: Goethe’s idea of Weltliteratur is contemporaneous to developments in the formation and consolidation of national literatures, which can be observed to co-exist even in the early nineteenth-century. World literature, as imagined by Goethe in the 1930s, represents a way of circumventing the inward-looking attitude of nationalism, and of prioritising fluidity and flexibility over stability. National literature, as practiced widely during the nineteenth century, represents a way of grounding national genius in literary texts, either by scrutinising only the works of authors of a specific nationality, or by comparing them in a transnational, intercultural perspective. This article investigates two series of articles published almost concurrently in the Athenaeum: ‘A Biographical and Critical History of the Literature of the last Fifty Years’, by Allan Cunningham in 1833, and ‘Literature of the Nineteenth Century’, by diverse authors between 1834 and 1838. This article highlights the co-existence between different authorial focalisations in historicising and historiographing literature, demonstrating the malleability, undecidability, and arbitrariness of dominant models of national literary identities. I argue that during the 1830s, the Athenaeum’s outlook is decidedly cosmopolitan and international as the contributors engage with European literature equally often as they do with British texts. They are also eager to stretch the readers’ awareness beyond the European context, embracing the wealth of ideas, styles, and perspectives as culturally enriching, but not exotic, erudition. [less ▲]

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