Romantic Presences in the Twentieth Century

Romantic Presences in the Twentieth CenturyAs Dr Sarah Wootton recently observed on this blog, the Romantic period has been ripe for re-imaginings in twentieth-century film. The most recent of these is the John Keats biopic, Bright Star. Indeed, Romanticism has remained influential within a wide range of arts, both visual and literary, throughout the twentieth-century and into the twenty-first. A new collection of essays, edited by Dr Mark Sandy, explores the broad influence of Romanticism throughout the modern period.

Romantic Presences in the Twentieth Century examines the complicated legacy of Romanticism in twentieth-century novels, poetry, and film. Key twentieth-century cultural movements tried to subvert or debunk Romantic narratives of redemptive nature, individualism, perfectibility, and the transcendence of art. Nevertheless, the forms and modes of feeling associated with the Romantic period continue to exert a signal influence on the modern moment – both as a source of tension and as creative stimulus. As the essays show, the exact meaning of the Romantic bequest may be bitterly contested, but it has been difficult to leave behind.

“This volume promises to revitalize the debate about how Romanticism helped make Modernism, and about why Modernism continues to deny its inheritance. This is the time for it.”
Anne Janowitz, Queen Mary, University of London

The contributors take up a wide range of authors, including Virginia Woolf, F. Scott Fitzgerald, W. H. Auden, Doris Lessing, Seamus Heaney, Hart Crane, William Faulkner, Don DeLillo, and Jonathan Franzen. Essays include Michael O’Neill on ‘Romanticism and the poetry of Hart Crane’; Paige Tovey on ‘The measured chaos of Gary Snyder’s post-Romantic poetic form’; and Michael Mack on ‘Romantic presences and the latency of a nascent theory of literature in Romantic poetry’.

This collection provides a striking picture of the persistence and variety of the Romantic period’s influence on the twentieth century. As Dr Sandy remarks in his introduction to the essays, “Romantic presences cannot be exorcised from the questions that twentieth and twenty-first-century literary works pose about subjectivity, representation, genre, and artistic form.”

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