1st Edition

Romantic Futures Legacy, Prophecy, Temporality

Edited By Evy Varsamopoulou Copyright 2024

    Romantic Futures is a collection which explores the significance of futurity in British Romanticism from a comparative perspective in three defining manifestations: the future as conscious legacy, by which is meant both influences or continuities and the (anticipations of) impact on the future; the future as revealed by prophecy, whether via religious figures or superstitions; and a meditation on the temporality of the future, or the future as a concept. The book brings together a wide range of theoretical and disciplinary perspectives: from utopian studies, history, religion, and cultural theory to future studies, neuroscience, video games, and art history. Aiming to increase and diversify current critical engagement and highlight the contemporary relevance of the Romantics’ multivalent preoccupation with the future, this collection renews the dialogue between Romanticism and our critical relation to its contemporaneity, especially as it speaks to current understandings of the future in the sciences, arts, and humanities.


    Evy Varsamopoulou

    Part One: The Future as Legacy

    1. ‘As a Modern Production It is Nothing’: Macpherson and the Forging of National Identity

    Steve Clark

    2. Into the Matrix of Cyberspace: The Survival of Romantic Myth

    Naji Oueijan

    3. Back to the Future

    Mary-Antoinette Smith

    Part Two: Visions of the Future

    4. Scott’s Seers: Predicting the Future in the Works of Walter Scott

    Anna Fancett

    5. Baseless Fabric: Joseph Priestley, World Religions, and the Future

    Stephen Bygrave

    6.Revolutionary Futures

    Evy Varsamopoulou


    Part Three: The Concept of Futurity

    7. The Faith of the Faithless: Percy Bysshe Shelley’s Notes for Queen Mab (1813)

    Alex Watson

    8. From First Man to Last Man: Romanticism’s Futures in Mary Shelley’s Proto-Dystopian Novels

    Maria Varsam

    9.Romantic Temporalities

    Paul Hamilton

    Afterword(s): 'Garland of Fragments': Romanticism and Utopia in Dialogue

    Evy Varsamopoulou and Maria Varsam



    Evy Varsamopoulou is Associate Professor in Romanticism and Comparative Literature at the University of Cyprus. Her research and publications include articles and book chapters on Romanticism, comparative literature, ecocriticism, film, ethics, political philosophy, and aesthetics. She has published a monograph, The Poetics of the Künstlerinroman and the Aesthetics of the Sublime (Ashgate, 2002; Routledge, 2017), and edited special issues on the European tradition of the artist novel and on the future university for NewComparison (2002) and The European Legacy (2013), respectively. Her current research projects engage with issues of the future, truth, violence, and the environment in literature and film from a comparative perspective.

    This book is a peculiar time machine which, via a variety of routes that follow the past’s engagement with futurity, takes us back to the present. It looks back to the works of Macpherson, Blake, Scott, Keats, Mary and P.B. Shelley, and others, in order to look with and through them into the future, including our own times and beyond.

    -Eliza Borkowska, Associate Professor, SWPS University of Social Sciences and Humanities, Poland