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Romantic Writing and the Empire of Signs

Periodical Culture and Post-Napoleonic Authorship

Karen Fang

Publication Year: 2010

In a postcolonial analysis of the collaboration of Romantic authors with periodical magazines, Karen Fang sees not only a parallel between authorial and imperial ambitions but also a synthesis of Romantic idealism and cultural materialism. Space becomes as much a factor as time in this linking of imperial expansion and periodical publication.

Published by: University of Virginia Press


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Title Page

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Copyright Page

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Table of Contents

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p. vii


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pp. ix-x

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Introduction: Empire, Periodicals, and Late Romantic Writing

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pp. 1-30

This book is about the power accorded literary periodicals by late Romantic authors, who inhabited an era of tremendous growth in the periodical press. The “years between Waterloo and the passage of the first Reform Bill greatly enlarged the audience for periodicals,” Richard Altick has already noted; this marked expanse in periodical publications ...

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Chapter One: China for Sale: Porcelain Economy in Lamb’s Essays of Elia

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pp. 31-65

Few studies of Charles Lamb give sufficient attention to the impact of magazines on the development of his style and literary reputation. The occasionally obscure but often beloved essayist is known for the baroque and whimsical voice he unveiled in the series of essays he published from 1820 to 1824 in the London Magazine, and later collected as ...

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Chapter Two: Deciphering The Private Memoirs: James Hogg’s Napoleon Complex

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pp. 66-103

While Lamb found magazine collaboration to have uniformly positive effects, James Hogg underwent a more malignant process. His bizarre Gothic novel, The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner, the 1824 work for which Hogg is best known today, is commonly recognized as an autobiographical allegory about the author’s wranglings...

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Chapter Three: “But Another Name for Her Who Wrote”: Corinne and the Making of Landon’s Giftbook Style

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pp. 104-141

Letitia Landon died in Africa in 1838, a fate that may at first seem to be an extreme instance of imperial involvement, far exceeding the past three case studies in the degree and actuality of her foreign experience. But if Landon’s death on foreign shores appears an extraordinary case of imperial engagement, it also exaggerates what was actually an...

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Chapter Four: Only “a Little above the Usual Run of Periodical Poesy”: Byron’s Island and the Liberal

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pp. 142-178

In this metaphorical comparison of world to text, Byron’s epigraph anticipates the premise implicit in much late Romantic writing. Like Lamb, Hogg, and Landon, Byron conflates geography and textuality, and indeed seems to foreshadow the connection of global geography to textual form that Byron’s female emulator, Landon, would perfect. But closer reading of the epigraph also reveals a different significance...

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Conclusion: Space, Time, and the Periodical Collaborator

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pp. 179-190

In Romantic Genius and the Literary Magazine, David Higgins argues that the solitary genius so sacred to Romantic ideals is a socially constructed phenomenon that owes as much to the extrinsic affirmations of the periodical press as it does to the intrinsic abilities of an individual author. According to Higgins, “Whether or not there is such a thing as ‘genius’ ...


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pp. 191-205


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pp. 207-221


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pp. 223-236

E-ISBN-13: 9780813928821
E-ISBN-10: 0813928826
Print-ISBN-13: 9780813928746
Print-ISBN-10: 0813928745

Page Count: 248
Publication Year: 2010

OCLC Number: 743253963
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Romantic Writing and the Empire of Signs

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Orientalism in literature.
  • British periodicals -- History -- 19th century
  • English literature -- 19th century -- History and criticism
  • Authors and publishers -- Great Britain -- History -- 19th century.
  • Romanticism -- Great Britain.
  • Literature, Modern ‡x History and criticism.
  • Periodicals -- Publishing -- Great Britain -- History -- 19th century.
  • Literature publishing -- Great Britain -- History -- 19th century.
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