A five-week seminar for sixteen college and university faculty to study British Romanticism in light of evolving scholarship.
Project director Stephen Behrendt (University of Nebraska) plans to immerse faculty in the ongoing and dynamic reassessment of one of literature's classic subjects, British Romanticism. In particular, the study of canonical writings alongside recently recovered period texts and contemporary reviews stimulate participants to evaluate the criteria that define Romantic-era writing. To establish a baseline, participants first read Hugh Murray's Morality of Fiction (1805), William Hazlitt's On the Living Poets (1818), and Josiah Condor's Reviewers Reviewed (1811). They then compare Thomas Love Peacock's classic satire, Headlong Hall (1815) and the anonymous political satire Gulzara, Princess of Persia (1816) with the contemporary reviews of both texts. They investigate the hostile reviews of Wordsworth's Peter Bell (1819) and the contemporary popularity of Robert Bloomfield's long overlooked The Farmer's Boy (1800). Secondary texts such as James K. Chandler's England in 1819 (1998), William St. Clair's The Reading Nation in the Romantic Period (2004), and Jim Kelly's Ireland and Romanticism (2011) lend historical perspective. Professor Behrendt incorporates discussion of the participants' projects into the last two weeks of the seminar. He devotes substantial time to helping them prepare work for publication. Participants are granted privileges to the University of Nebraska library, which includes the Corvey Collection's 10,000 items of Romantic-era literature; they are also encouraged to revise classroom materials and make use of the University's Center for Digital Research in the Humanities.