The idea of Shakespearean genius and sublimity is usually understood to be a product of the Romantic period, promulgated by poets such as Coleridge and Byron who promoted Shakespeare as the supreme example of literary genius and creative imagination. However, the picture looks very different when viewed from the perspective of the myriad theater directors, actors, poets, political philosophers, gallery owners, and other professionals in the nineteenth century who turned to Shakespeare to advance their own political, artistic, or commercial interests. Often, as in John Kemble’s staging of The Winter’s Tale at Drury Lane or John Boydell’s marketing of paintings in his Shakespeare Gallery, Shakespeare provided a literal platform on which both artists and entrepreneurs could strive to influence cultural tastes and points of view. At other times, Romantic writers found in Shakespeare’s works a set of rhetorical and theatrical tools through which to form their own public personae, both poetic and political. Women writers in particular often adapted Shakespeare to express their own political and social concerns. Taken together, all of these critical and aesthetic responses attest to the remarkable malleability of the Shakespearean corpus in the Romantic period. As the contributors show, Romantic writers of all persuasions”Whig and Tory, male and female, intellectual and commercial”found in Shakespeare a powerful medium through which to claim authority for their particular interests.
Table of Contents
Contents: Introduction, Joseph M. Ortiz; Part I Rethinking the Romantic Critic: ’Small reverence for station’: Walter Savage Landor’s subversive Shakespeare, David Chandler; Peer reviewed: Elizabeth Inchbald’s Shakespeare criticism, Karen Bloom Gevirtz; ’My God! Madam, there must be only one black figure in this play': Hamlet, Ophelia and the Romantic hero, Karen Britland. Part II Shakespeare and the Making of the Romantic Poet: The state of unfeigned nature: poetic imagination from Shakespeare to Wordsworth, Thomas Festa; ’Mature poets steal’: Charlotte Smith’s appropriations of Shakespeare, Joy Currie; The sublimity of Hamlet in Emily Dickinson’s ’He fumbles at your soul’, Marianne Noble. Part III The Romantic Stage: ’The translucence of eternity in time’: Shakespeare and Coleridge’s Zapolya, Paola Degli Esposti; Contextual hauntings: Shakespearean ghosts on the Gothic stage, Francesca Saggini; Shakespeare reception in France: the case of Ambroise Thomas’s Hamlet, Suddhaseel Sen. Part IV Harnessing the Renaissance: Markets, Religion, Politics: Reconstructing the Boydell Shakespeare Gallery, Ann R. Hawkins; Pericles and the spiritual wisdom of Joanna Baillie’s sacred dramas The Martyr and The Bride, Marjean D. Purinton and Marliss C. Desens; A written warning: Lady Caroline Lamb, noblesse oblige, and the works of John Ford, Leigh Wetherall-Dickson; Bibliography; Index.
Joseph M. Ortiz is Associate Professor of English at the University of Texas at El Paso, USA.
A Yankee Book Peddler US Core Title for 2013 A Baker & Taylor Literary Essentials Title 'Joseph M. Ortiz accomplishes for Shakespearean reception what the New Historicists did for Shakespearean studies in the 1980s. He presents a critical investigation that moves beyond the works of the dominant male writers of the period, and attends to broader contexts of cultural response among theater directors and performers, women critics and poets. At a point in reception studies when one might complacently assume that the important players have all been identified and adequately reviewed, Ortiz has assembled a collection of essays that from start to finish develop new and revisionary approaches to the Romantic reception of Shakespeare.' Frederick Burwick, University of California, Los Angeles, USA '... these articles weave a greater cultural understanding of what it meant to truly embrace the Bard as a grand contributor to Romanticism. ... Any scholar wishing to study the impact Shakespeare had on Romantic culture and Romanticism would do well to invest in adding Shakespeare and the Culture of Romanticism to his or her library.' Rocky Mountain Review '... a fascinating collection of essays ... ' Restoration and 18th Century Theatre Research '... a wide-ranging and thought-provoking collection of essays.' BARS Review '... a stimulating resource, threaded with foundational research and fertile lines of inquiry.' SHARP News