Women, Epic, and Transition in British Romanticism

English Language and Literature
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Arguably what changed from the mid-eighteenth century onwards was broader exposure to 'big ideas' in visual form. Enlightenment ideas enjoyed wider circulation and cultural uptake through public exhibitions of art works that engaged audiences in interpretive response to aspects of the Enlightenment project. Milam will use her expertise in exactly this area to provide input into the research program of the ERCC by keeping this aspect of the Enlightenment in focus and elaborating upon its legacy in the contemporary culture sector.

Email: jennifer. Clara Tuite works in the literary and cultural history of Romanticism, with a particular interest in the work of Jane Austen and Lord Byron. Her research engages eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Romantic literature and culture from the perspectives of the history of the literary institution, sociability, fashion, history of emotions and sexuality studies, as well as the endurance of literary and popular Romanticisms in the contemporary moment.

Email: clarat unimelb.

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Mark Davis' current research focuses on online 'anti-publics' and extreme online discourse, Australian digital literary cultures and taste making, changing media ecologies and the cultural politics of gatekeeping and disintermediation, Australian public culture, and media representations of young people. The first of my two current research projects focuses on post-digital literary cultures and the destabilisation of the literary-print cultural field by digital media. My second project focuses on online anti-publics, such as the alt-right, neo-reactionary NRx groups, anti-vaccination groups, anti-climate-science groups, and white nationalist groups, who use digital media to create communities that position themselves against basic democratic, scientific, and enlightenment principles.

Email: davismr unimelb. Thomas Ford's work focuses on poems and other texts from Romanticism and the long eighteenth century. He reads this archive in the historicist traditions of philological materialism, and in light of the transdisciplinary imperatives of the environmental humanities. Ford calls this approach 'ecophilology' a discipline that explores the role of textual environments in various settings, in all kinds of media, from the ancient cave drawings and graffiti to the contemporary electronic media.

Vedi Hadiz's research interests revolve around political sociology and political economy issues, especially those related to the contradictions of development in Indonesia and Southeast Asia more broadly, and more recently, in the Middle East. Claire Knowles has published numerous articles on eighteenth- and nineteenth-century women writers.

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She is currently working on a project on newspaper poetry and popular literary culture in the Romantic period titled, "Romanticism, Newspapers, and the Democratization of Poetry, Justin Clemen's work focuses primarily on the relationships between poetry, psychology and philosophy in Romantic and post-Romantic writing. He has written extensively on figures such as Sigmund Freud, Jacques Lacan, and Alain Badiou, as well as on themes of slavery and technology.

His recent books include What is Education? Edinburgh UP , edited with A. Email: jclemens unimelb. John Rundell's research focuses on the problems of the imagination, creativity and modernity. I am exploring 'the eighteenth century origins of modernity'. I have focused on concepts of disinterest, sympathy and pity, as well as fictions of imprudence and the invention of the literary character. Miranda Stanyon's research focuses on enlightenment and Romantic era literature in Britain and Germany and takes a comparative approach to aesthetics, as a key field in constructing the post-enlightenment human subject and configuring its relationships with nature.

She has published on the sublime, music and sound, emotions history, and visual culture. Steven Hampton's research centres on the multilingual and transnational nature of cultural and literary production during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, in particular the interrelations between literatures in English, French and German. His current focus is the national epic as it was reconstructed, rediscovered or invented during the Age of Revolutions in Europe.

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His interest in Enlightenment thought and literature coheres around questions of sovereignty, naturalization and constitutionality, the emergence of common-sense philosophy and theories of intersubjectivity. He is currently working on two discrete but overlapping projects: a narrative history of the group of spies whose work helped bring Scotland into an incorporated Union with England in and a cultural history of naturalization in Britain and the Australian colonies. In recent work he has focused on the enlightenments of Eastern Europe, with particular emphasis on the Haskalah or Jewish Enlightenment and its influence on contemporary literature, ethics and stand-up comedy.

Email: marc. Anita Archer is an art historian whose research focus is contemporary art markets, with interest in the changing dynamics of primary and secondary markets, the evolving domination of multinational auction houses and the networked activities of art world intermediaries in the translocation of art globally.

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Anita's PhD thesis examined the emerging market for Chinese Contemporary Art in the West and her recent focus is the role of Singapore as an art market hub for Southeast Asia. Anita's research interest stems from her extensive work experience in the global art field as an international auctioneer and independent art consultant specialising in Asian contemporary art.

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Email: anita. She recently completed a monograph entitled Beyond Identity: Romanticism and Decreation , which investigates modes of decreation in British Romanticism as a response to the political and ethical crises of the late-eighteenth and early-nineteenth centuries. She is currently developing a new research project which aims to investigate Romantic models of relationality in which human being is conceived as embedded within a world that is not only biological, but techno-ecological as well. This project is particularly interested in the human-animal-machine formations of William Blake.

James Jiang's research traces the residues of Romantic thought in modern and contemporary British and American writing. His recent articles on William James and Marianne Moore draw out the implications for literary modernism and philosophical pragmatism of concepts such as style and character—concepts which assume their modern shape in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century.

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This encouraged the emergence of a poetry aimed at, and often set in, an idealised version of the courtly world. Among the best known examples of this are Edmund Spenser 's The Faerie Queene , which is effectively an extended hymn of praise to the queen, and Philip Sidney 's Arcadia. This courtly trend can also be seen in Spenser's Shepheardes Calender.

This poem marks the introduction into an English context of the classical pastoral , a mode of poetry that assumes an aristocratic audience with a certain kind of attitude to the land and peasants. The explorations of love found in the sonnets of William Shakespeare and the poetry of Walter Raleigh and others also implies a courtly audience. Virgil's Aeneid , Thomas Campion's metrical experiments, and Spenser's Shepheardes Calender and plays like Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra are all examples of the influence of classicism on Elizabethan poetry.

Translations of classical poetry also became more widespread, with the versions of Ovid 's Metamorphoses by Arthur Golding —67 and George Sandys , and Chapman's translations of Homer 's Iliad and Odyssey c. English Renaissance poetry after the Elizabethan poetry can be seen as belonging to one of three strains; the Metaphysical poets , the Cavalier poets and the school of Spenser. However, the boundaries between these three groups are not always clear and an individual poet could write in more than one manner.

Shakespeare also popularized the English sonnet , which made significant changes to Petrarch 's model. A collection of sonnets by Shakespeare, dealing with themes such as the passage of time, love, beauty, and mortality, were first published in a quarto. John Milton —74 is considered one of the greatest English poets, and wrote at a time of religious flux and political upheaval.

He is generally seen as the last major poet of the English Renaissance, though his most renowned epic poems were written in the Restoration period, including Paradise Lost Among the important poems Milton wrote during this period are L'Allegro , ; Il Penseroso , ; Comus a masque , ; and Lycidas The early 17th century saw the emergence of this group of poets who wrote in a witty, complicated style. The most famous of the Metaphysicals is probably John Donne. John Milton in his Comus falls into this group. The Metaphysical poets went out of favour in the 18th century but began to be read again in the Victorian era.

Donne's reputation was finally fully restored by the approbation of T. Eliot in the early 20th century. Influenced by continental Baroque , and taking as his subject matter both Christian mysticism and eroticism, Donne's metaphysical poetry uses unconventional or "unpoetic" figures, such as a compass or a mosquito, to reach surprise effects. For example, in "Valediction: Forbidding Mourning", one of Donne's Songs and Sonnets , the points of a compass represent two lovers, the woman who is home, waiting, being the centre, the farther point being her lover sailing away from her.

But the larger the distance, the more the hands of the compass lean to each other: separation makes love grow fonder. The paradox or the oxymoron is a constant in this poetry whose fears and anxieties also speak of a world of spiritual certainties shaken by the modern discoveries of geography and science, one that is no longer the centre of the universe. Another important group of poets at this time were the Cavalier poets. The Cavalier poets wrote in a lighter, more elegant and artificial style than the Metaphysical poets. They were an important group of writers, who came from the classes that supported King Charles I during the Wars of the Three Kingdoms — King Charles reigned from and was executed The Cavalier poets can be seen as the forerunners of the major poets of the Augustan era , who admired them greatly.

They "were not a formal group, but all were influenced" by Ben Jonson.

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For example, Robert Herrick was not a courtier, but his style marks him as a Cavalier poet. Cavalier works make use of allegory and classical allusions, and are influence by Latin authors Horace , Cicero , and Ovid. John Milton 's Paradise Lost , a story of fallen pride, was the first major poem to appear in England after the Restoration. The court of Charles II had, in its years in France, learned a worldliness and sophistication that marked it as distinctively different from the monarchies that preceded the Republic.

Even if Charles had wanted to reassert the divine right of kingship, the Protestantism and taste for power of the intervening years would have rendered it impossible. One of the greatest English poets, John Milton — , wrote during this period of religious and political instability.

He is generally seen as the last major poet of the English Renaissance, though his major epic poems were written in the Restoration period. Some of Milton's important poems, were written before the Restoration see above. His later major works include Paradise Regained , , and Samson Agonistes , Milton's works reflect deep personal convictions, a passion for freedom and self-determination, and the urgent issues and political turbulence of his day. Writing in English, Latin, and Italian, he achieved international renown within his lifetime, and his celebrated Areopagitica , written in condemnation of pre-publication censorship, is among history's most influential and impassioned defences of free speech and freedom of the press.

William Hayley 's biography called him the "greatest English author", [10] and he remains generally regarded "as one of the preeminent writers in the English language". The world of fashion and scepticism that emerged encouraged the art of satire. Their satire was often written in defence of public order and the established church and government. However, writers such as Pope used their gift for satire to create scathing works responding to their detractors or to criticise what they saw as social atrocities perpetrated by the government.

Pope's The Dunciad is a satirical slaying of two of his literary adversaries Lewis Theobald, and Colley Cibber in a later version , expressing the view that British society was falling apart morally, culturally, and intellectually. The 18th century is sometimes called the Augustan age, and contemporary admiration for the classical world extended to the poetry of the time.

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Not only did the poets aim for a polished high style in emulation of the Roman ideal, they also translated and imitated Greek and Latin verse resulting in measured rationalised elegant verse. Dryden translated all the known works of Virgil, and Pope produced versions of the two Homeric epics. Nevertheless, print publication by women poets was still relatively scarce when compared to that of men, though manuscript evidence indicates that many more women poets were practising than was previously thought.

Disapproval of feminine "forwardness", however, kept many out of print in the early part of the period, and even as the century progressed women authors still felt the need to justify their incursions into the public sphere by claiming economic necessity or the pressure of friends. Women writers were increasingly active in all genres throughout the 18th century, and by the s women's poetry was flourishing.

In the past decades there has been substantial scholarly and critical work done on women poets of the long 18th century: first, to reclaim them and make them available in contemporary editions in print or online, and second, to assess them and position them within a literary tradition. Towards the end of the 18th century, poetry began to move away from the strict Augustan ideals and a new emphasis on the sentiment and feelings of the poet was established.


This trend can perhaps be most clearly seen in the handling of nature, with a move away from poems about formal gardens and landscapes by urban poets and towards poems about nature as lived in. These poets can be seen as paving the way for the Romantic movement. See also: Romantic literature in English ; English Romantic sonnets. The last quarter of the 18th century was a time of social and political turbulence, with revolutions in the United States , France , Ireland and elsewhere.

In Great Britain, movement for social change and a more inclusive sharing of power was also growing. This was the backdrop against which the Romantic movement in English poetry emerged. The birth of English Romanticism is often dated to the publication in of Wordsworth and Coleridge's Lyrical Ballads. However, Blake had been publishing since the early s.

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