1st Edition

Transforming Tragedy, Identity, and Community

Edited By Lilla Crisafulli, Tilottama Rajan, Diego Saglia Copyright 2011

    The volume explores the interrelated topics of transnational identity in all its ambiguity and complexity, and the new ways of imagining community or Gemeinschaft (as distinct from society or Gesellschaft)) that this broader climate made possible in the Romantic period. The period crystallized, even if it did not inaugurate, an unprecedented interest in travel and exploration, as well as in the dissemination of the knowledge thus acquired through print media and learned societies. This dissemination expanded but also unmoored both epistemic and national boundaries. It thus led to what Antoine Berman in his study of translation tellingly calls “the experience of the foreign,” as a zone of differences between and within selves, of which translation  was the material expression and symptom. As several essays in the collection suggest, it is this mental travel that  distinguishes the Romantic probing of transitional zones from that of earlier periods when travel and exploration were more purely under the sign of trade and commerce and thus of appropriation and colonization. The renegotiation of national and cultural boundaries also raises the question of what kinds of community are possible in this environment. A group of essays therefore explores the period’s alternative communities, and the ways in which it tested the limits of the very concept of community. Finally, the volume also explores the interrelationship between notions of identity and community by turning to Romantic theatre. Concentrating on the stage as monitor and mirror of contemporary ideological developments, a dedicated section of this book looks at the evolution of the tragic in European Romanticisms and how its inherent conflicts became vehicles for contrasting representations of individual and communal identities.

    This book was published as a special issue of European Romantic Review

    PART I

    1. Introduction: the survival of tragedy in European Romanticisms  Diego Saglia

    2. Tragedy without society: Alfieri’s Italian theater and the discourse of value  Joseph Luzzi

    3. Alexandre Dumas père’s La Tour de Nesle (1832): tragedy or melodrama?  Barbara T. Cooper

    4. The Polis, Romantic tragedy, and untimeliness in Frei Luis de Sousa  Helena Buescu


    5. Introduction  Tilottama Rajan and Lilla Maria Crisafulli

    Transnational Encounters

    6. Theorizing a republican poetics: P.B. Shelley and Alfieri  Michael Rossington

    7. The translator and the fairies: Christoph Martin Wieland’s Oberon and the British Romantics  Carlotta Farese

    8. Romanticism displaced and placeless  Stuart Curran

    9. Feeling cosmopolitan: the novel politician after Byron  Emily Allen and Dino Franco Felluga

    Epistemic Encounters

    10. Imagination as inter-science  Richard C. Sha

    11. Formal relocations: the method of Southey’s Thalaba the Destroyer (1801)  Dahlia Porter

    12. Gained horizons: Buddhism in Tibetan colonial travelogues  Elena Spandri

    13. Euthanasia’s handkerchief; or, The object at the end of history  Sonia Hofkosh

    Encountering Community

    14. Readers respond to Godwin: Romantic republicanism in letters  Pamela Clemit

    15. The (inoperative) epistolary community in Eliza Fenwick’s Secresy  Christopher Bundock

    16. The inoperative community of Romantic psychiatry  Joel Faflak


    Lilla Maria Crisafulli is Professor of English at the University of Bologna. She is director of the Interuniversity Centre for the Study of Romanticism and editor of the journal La Questione Romantica. She has published extensively on P.B. Shelley, on Anglo-Italian Literature, on Romantic women poets and playwrights (see, with Cecilia Pietropoli, Romantic Women Poets: Genre and Gender, Rodopi 2007; and, with Keir Elam, Women’s Romantic Theatre and Drama: History, Agency, Performance, Ashgate 2010).

    Tilottama Rajan is Distinguished University Professor and Canada Researh Chair in English and Theory at the University of Western Ontario. She is the founder or the North American Society for the Study of Romanticism, editor of seven books, and author of over seventy five articles and four books, most recently Deconstruction and the Remainders of Phenomenology: Sartre, Derrida, Foucault, Baudrillard (Stanford, 2002), and Romantic Narrative: Shelley, Hays, Godwin, Wollstonecraft (Johns Hopkins, 2010).

    Diego Saglia is Associate Professor of English Literature at the University of Parma (Italy). His research focuses on Romantic-period literature and its connections with other contemporary European traditions. He is the author of Poetic Castles in Spain: British Romanticism and Figurations of Iberia (2000), and editor (with Laura Bandiera) of British Romanticism and Italian Literature: Translating, Reviewing, Rewriting (2005).