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Romanticism in the Atlantic World Introduction HIS SPECIAL ISSUE BRINGS TOGETHER SCHOLARS WHOSE WORK ON POST­ AL revolutionary, English-language literature engages an Atlantic perspec­ tive, broadly defined. It has emerged largely from a one-day symposium of the same title, held at Boston University on 7 November 2015, for which I asked presenters to employ transatlantic methodologies in order to stake out new territory in our understanding of Romanticism. The essays pub­ lished here borrow insights and approaches from transatlantic studies with­ out the bells and whistles that rang out at an earlier stage of the field’s de­ velopment. Over the last twenty five years, transatlantic literary scholarship of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries has progressed from a period of innovation and excitement following works like Robert Weisbuch’s Atlan­ tic Double-Cross and Paul Gilroy’s The Black Atlantic, through a phase of elaboration and establishment in the hands of many scholars—including Ian Baucom, Paul Giles, Saidiya Hartman, Susan Manning, and Elisa Tamarkin, to mention only a few—to what I would argue is our own cur­ rent moment of maturity and dispersal.1 On the one hand, recent years have produced some of the most searching and ambitious studies that have yet to emerge directly from within the transatlantic framework, including Joselyn Almeida-Beveridge’s Reimagining the Transatlantic, Eve Tavor Bannet’s Transatlantic Stories, Anna Brickhouse’s The Unsettlement ofAmer­ ica, Margaret Cohen’s The Novel and the Sea, Elizabeth Maddock Dillon’s New World Drama, Denise Gigante’s The Keats Brothers, Daniel Hack’s I. Weisbuch, Atlantic Double-Cross: American Literature and British Influence in the Age ofEm­ erson (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1989); Gilroy, The Black Atlantic: Modernity and Double Consciousness (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press), 1993; Baucom, Specters of the Atlantic: Finance Capital, Slavery, and the Philosophy of History (Durham: Duke University Press, 2005); Giles, Transatlantic Insurrections: British Culture and the Formation ofAmerican Liter­ ature, 1730-1860 (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2001); Hartman, Lose Your Mother: AJourney Along the Atlantic Slave Route (New York: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 2007); Manning, Fragments of Union: Making Connections in Scottish and American Writing (Basing­ stoke, Palgrave, 2002); Tamarkin, Anglophilia: Deference, Devotion, and Antebellum America (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2007). SiR, 55 (Fall 2016) 307 308 INTRODUCTION Reaping Something New, Sarah E. Johnson’s The Fear of French Negroes, and Ramesh Mallipeddi’s Spectacular Suffering. On the other hand, we have seen the paradigm’s steady and often understated influence across a wide range of books and essays too numerous to mention, to the point where it has become almost impossible to ignore what is transatlantic about the cultural and literary world—in the same way that it has long been untenable to ig­ nore gender, race, nation, class, or empire. Whether through studies that explicitly theorize the transatlantic or those that weave transatlantic threads into arguments of a different emphasis, the fact that we now understand middle modernity as definitively transatlantic suggests that this paradigm’s advantages will continue to inspire scholars for decades to come. This spe­ cial issue suggests what transatlantic thinking looks like right now in the field of Romanticism. The term transatlantic is most effective when used as it was at the time of its coinage in the late eighteenth century, as a general descriptor for the ob­ jects, ideas, and persons that crossed the Atlantic Ocean or phenomena defined by such crossing.2 The term does not necessarily indicate cosmo­ politan values, although cosmopolitanism often had transatlantic elements; it does not reject or ignore the importance of local, regional, or national contexts and identifications, nor does it reject or ignore extra-Atlantic con­ texts and identifications (hemispheric, intra-continental, trans-oceanic, po­ lar, planetary); and while it always concerns movement within, across, or around the Atlantic, it does not impute any positive value to such move­ ment. Useful variations on the term often have a polemical edge: the black Atlantic, the green Atlantic, circum-Atlantic, pan-Atlantic, Atlantic mo­ dernity, and so on. Our titular choice ofAtlantic World carries an argument of its own, namely that the movement of objects, ideas, and persons across the Atlantic proved...

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Additional Information

ISSN
2330-118X
Print ISSN
0039-3762
Pages
pp. 307-317
Launched on MUSE
2020-03-06
Open Access
No
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