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288 BOOK REVIEWS real and literary remains” (201), and considers “the joint nature ofthe com­ position ... of the posthumous Shelley” (208). The chapter culminates with reference to Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley’s edition of the Posthumous Poems ofPercy Bysshe Shelley (1824), of which Gamer observes: “Selectively chosen, strategically ordered, and carefully hierarchized, the poems and fragments that make up Posthumous Poems deserve close reading” (201). With this in mind, Gamer could perhaps have devoted more space to that task. His discussion of Mary Shelley’s “active and interpretive choice[sj” (225) when managing material for the volume is revealing: as, for example, in the selection of prefaces included (yes for “Julian and Maddalo,” no for “The Witch of Atlas”). He explains that Mary Shelley sought to depohticize Shelley: “part of the method of the Posthumous Poems is to make Shelley’s political reputation seem groundless and to portray his political enemies as vicious and gratuitous in their persecution of him” (225). Gamer opts to devote significant space to discussing how Leigh Hunt came to view Shelley, synecdochically, as “the all-but-unattainable ‘heart of the heart’” (212). Indeed, in one sense, this chapter is less about Shelley’s self­ canonization than it is about how others manipulated his legacy—both those he knew well (Hunt and Mary), and those hostile to him (his Tory critics)—although Gamer does describe, perceptively, how Adonais “pro­ vided Shelley’s mourners with a kind ofguide for dealing with the business of his death and burial” (217). The book is the first to examine poetic “re-collections” of previously published material, and how their authors specifically made these transfor­ mations with commercial ends in mind. Gamer’s study convincingly dem­ onstrates that the commonly-accepted assumption that Romantic poets were unworldly, naive, and indifferent to practical considerations of liter­ ary production is well wide of the mark, and leaves us in no doubt that subsequent readers have tended to accept, too uncritically, their self­ proclamations of unconcern for the business of poetry. Octavia Cox University of Oxford Ashley Cross. Mary Robinson and the Genesis of Romanticism: Literary Dia­ logues and Debts, 1784-1821. New York: Routledge, 2017. Pp. 288. $140. Who can say what it is to have a poetic, intellectual conversation without already being entangled in one, acknowledged or not. True exchange oc­ curs like lyrical hotstepping, with only some of its finer points captured in SiR, 56 (Summer 2017) BOOK REVIEWS 289 the publication and subsequent reading of writers rhyming and stealing each other’s tropes. These effable snippets of table talk stir literary and political discourse in concrete ways we can track and, in some sense, re­ experience. As Ashley Cross remarks in only the second monograph exclu­ sively focused on Mary Robinson, Romantic scholars have been collec­ tively rewriting the myth of the “genius in a garret starving” with a more vibrant sense of coteries, schools, multiple-authorship, interactions, or co­ horts of writers jointly refashioning both the literary marketplace and Brit­ ish aesthetics. Within such a contextual frame, Robinson—the infamous thespian, mistress, and later literary celebrity—becomes an arch conversa­ tionalist when she talks her way into—and shapes—a series ofthe most im­ portant poetic dialogues of the 1790s. Cross’s account of Robinson moves her a step beyond notoriety for garrulous ton-jumping, and characterizes her as even more intently intellec­ tual and literary than Daniel Robinson does in his path-breaking study of Robinson as a poet who creates multiple public personas. Robinson’s pub­ lic performativity aids her in becoming a literary community organizer whose intellectual work, however crafted for posthumous fame, consists of her initiating career-shifting dialogues among writers. She was, as Cross writes, “a key player in multiple circles,” that generated almost every liter­ ary innovation in the 1790s: Della Cruscan erotic and political verse, the poetry of sensibility (and its demise), the sonnet craze, the ruminative ode, the Jacobin novel, newspaper verse, literary annuals, political pamphlets, and finally the Romantic lyric (3). Tracing these movements as dialogues between Robinson and Romantic writers, Cross’s work provides us nei­ ther simply with an author-based monograph touting Robinson’s impor­ tance to 1790s...

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Additional Information

ISSN
2330-118X
Print ISSN
0039-3762
Pages
pp. 288-293
Launched on MUSE
2020-03-06
Open Access
No
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