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Wild Romanticism consolidates contemporary thinking about conceptions of the wild in British and European Romanticism, clarifying the emergence of wilderness as a cultural, symbolic, and ecological idea.
This volume brings together the work of twelve scholars, who examine representations of wildness in canonical texts such as Frankenstein, Northanger Abbey, "Kubla Khan," "Expostulation and Reply," and Childe Harold´s Pilgrimage, as well as lesser-known works by Radcliffe, Clare, Hölderlin, P.B. Shelley, and Hogg. Celebrating the wild provided Romantic-period authors with a way of thinking about nature that resists instrumentalization and anthropocentricism, but writing about wilderness also engaged them in debates about the sublime and picturesque as aesthetic categories, about gender and the cultivation of independence as natural, and about the ability of natural forces to resist categorical or literal enclosure.
This book will be of great interest to students and scholars of Romanticism, environmental literature, environmental history, and the environmental humanities more broadly.
Table of Contents
Cassandra Falke and Markus Poetzsch
- Weakness and wildness in Wordsworth’s "The Brothers"
- Wild freedom and careful wandering in the poetry of William Wordsworth and John Clare
- Plumbing the depths of wildness: from the picturesque to John Clare
- Savage, holy, enchanted: Coleridge in concert with the wild
- Human grapes in the wine-presses: vegetable life and the violence of cultivation in Blake’s Milton
- Wild plants and wild passions in Percy Bysshe Shelley’s poems for Jane Williams
- Wilding Europe and Childe Harold´s Pilgrimage
- Hölderlin, Heidegger, and hyperobjects
- "Almost Wild": Jane Austen’s dirtiest of heroines
- "Wild above rule or art": volcanic luxuriance, subterranean terror, and the nature of gender in Ann Radcliffe’s A Sicilian Romance
- "A strange unearthly climate": James Hogg’s tale of the Arctic wild
- "Vast and irregular plains of ice": wilderness as smooth space in Frankenstein
Robert W. Rix
Markus Poetzsch is Associate Professor of English at Wilfrid Laurier University, where he specializes in British Romantic literature and ecocriticism. He is the author of Visionary Dreariness: Readings in Romanticism’s Quotidian Sublime and has published essays on John Clare, William and Dorothy Wordsworth, Thomas De Quincey, Leigh Hunt, and Henry David Thoreau. His research considers intersecting themes, such as aesthetics and landscape gardening, pedestrianism and loco-description, anthropocentrism and ornithology, poetics, and ethics.
Cassandra Falke is Professor of English Literature at UiT – The Arctic University of Norway. Her books include Phenomenology and the Broken Body (co-ed. 2019), The Phenomenology of Love and Reading (2016), Literature by the Working Class: English Autobiography, 1820–1848 (2013), and Intersections in Christianity and Critical Theory (ed. 2010). She has published essays on romanticism, phenomenology, education, and the role of the reader. Her current project discusses acts of reading in light of recent theorizations of complicity.
"Wild Romanticism is an innovative and highly original collection of essays that makes a substantial and persuasive contribution to the discipline of environmental humanities. The topic of wilderness during the Romantic period is an important and largely unexplored area of scholarship, one that will be of compelling interest to scholars of British and European literature and environmental history. This book will appeal to a broad range of readers due to its bold originality and its relevance to contemporary environmental concerns."
James C. McKusick, University of Missouri-Kansas City, author of Green Writing: Romanticism and Ecology and co-editor of Literature and Nature: Four Centuries of Nature Writing
"Wild Romanticism is a timely response to ongoing debates about moving away from words such as nature or wilderness entirely because of their problematic histories or the pressing new realities of the Anthropocene. The wild in Romanticism can be internal or external, refer to plants, people, animals, and landforms. It can represent subjective modes of being or objective reality. Rather than rejecting the word as too messy, these essays revel in the dynamic qualities of the word wild. One of the highlights of this volume is its diverse span of topics, authors, and landscapes (both inner or outer) that are considered "wild." This important collection pushes us to see the full intricacy of Romantic ecocriticism in a dazzling array of new perspectives that are as timely as they are relevant."
Samantha C. Harvey, Boise State University, USA, in an excerpt from a review in The Wordsworth Circle