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126 BOOK REVIEWS “we see not only the image of the atopia invoked in an attempt to exert mental control over urban space, but also the fear that unproblematically celebrating the spatial transformations wrought by Britain’s global engage­ ments represents a wrong turn—an improper way of engaging with the in­ ternationalized economic flows incarnated in the modern city” (200—201), Carroll casts the author’s memories as a site of inherently global engage­ ment. By bringing the atopia home, the book challenges the supposition that objects of the imagination cannot be “presumed to exist externally to the mind that contemplates them” by inscribing uninhabitable atopias on those “real” lives that literature invites us to inhabit. Rachel Feder University of Denver Jeffrey N. Cox. Romanticism in the Shadow of War: Literary Culture in the Napoleonic War Years. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2014. Pp. 276. $95. With the imagined expedition that introduces this richly contextualized new volume, Jeffrey N. Cox spins the globe and then boldly puts his finger on it. Dreaming of a world-spanning Grand Tour that Lord Byron never took, Cox’s introduction rockets past a dizzying array of early nineteenth century regimes, including those in Egypt, Thailand, and Persia, in a fan­ tasy trajectory powered by the unstoppable Bildung of the privileged poet, that “consummate border-crosser and cultural pirate” (7). That Byron would have traveled further if only he’d had the chance suggests the moti­ vational underpinnings of a work like this one, which reveals a Romantic global imagination shaped but not limited by war. Romanticism is a litera­ ture of border crossings, informed by the wartime raids, sallies and skir­ mishes of the Napoleonic era but also galvanized by detente and the cul­ tural transmission allowed by peacetime travel. Together, escalation and de-escalation resulted in new, and newly transgressive, dramatic genres and literary hybrids. In good company with recent studies by Evan Gottlieb, Susan Manning, and Siobhan Carroll, Cox’s Romanticism in the Shadow of War reconsiders second-generation Romantic literary innova­ tions as not merely reactions against first generation poetry, but as part of a complexly situated historical emergence. Limits, it turns out, whether of technology, inhabitability, or international cooperation, compel their own trespass: they demarcate that which we are challenged to think beyond. With this deft spin, Cox shifts our focus from the “major,” first genera­ tion events of the French Revolution to the later clashes, counter-clashes, SiR, 55 (Spring 2016) BOOK REVIEWS 127 and tensile rapprochements that eased open spaces for such border crossings to occur. Here, 1802’s Peace of Amiens becomes the point of origin for a host of significant changes, as renewed connections with the French lead, for some nineteenth century hopefuls, to a cosmopolitan dream of global citizenry. This optimism is then contested (the creation of the Triple Alli­ ance in 1815), disappointed (the Regency’s inadequacy for reform), and re­ inforced (Napoleon’s abdication in 1814 and final defeat in 1815) in the coming years. In six paired chapters, Romanticism in the Shadow of War dem­ onstrates the emergence and transformation of three hybrid subgenres: the melodrama, the satiric jeremiad, and the Italianate romance. Comparing and contrasting a wide archive of texts, Cox reveals these generic evolu­ tions to be as dynamic and unstable as the period itself. This methodology, which is also the volume’s thoroughgoing achievement, enables a critical re-evaluation ofthe generic underpinnings ofa number ofcentral Roman­ tic texts, which draw surprising connections between, for example, Percy Shelley’s Prometheus Unbound and Anna Letitia Barbauld’s Eighteen Hundred and Eleven. In so doing, Romanticism in the Shadow of War enacts an imagi­ native trespass of taxonomic limits, taking genre as rhetorical action rather than stable categorization. Cox’s opening two chapters investigate developments in drama and stagecraft during windows ofpeace, and suggest genealogical links between Thomas Holcroft’s A Tale of Mystery (1802) and Byron’s Manfred (1817). The Peace ofAmiens, which made possible border crossings between Paris and London after years of isolation, brought with it a new and explicitly border-crossing genre: the Melo-Drame (39). Part tragedy and part comedy, the musical melodrama’s “power,” according to...

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Additional Information

ISSN
2330-118X
Print ISSN
0039-3762
Pages
pp. 126-129
Launched on MUSE
2020-03-06
Open Access
No
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