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BOOK REVIEWS 317 day, than it is a structural deficit ofthe book. My only criticism of Transcen­ dental Resistance is that, for the most part, these two strains ofVoelz’s analy­ sis pass like twin ships in the night, at least until they finally come together in “Emerson’s Organicist Nationalism.” This last chapter is, to my mind, the finest in the book, for it unites a political criticism that has been fully informed by Emerson’s romantic aesthetics, with a romantic criticism that has been pressed into service by the political exigencies of the day. Jonathan Murphy Texas A&M International University Mark Schoenfield. British Periodicals and Romantic Identity: The “Literary Lower Empire. ” New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2009. Pp. 312. $100. Early in British Periodicals and Romantic Identity, Mark Schoenfield discusses Eaton Stannard Barrett’s 1813 novel The Heroine. In this novel, Barrett presents the moon as a home for all ofthe characters from the history oflit­ erature. There, characters live and interact with one another, but their con­ tinued existence is subject to their earthly popularity, for once “a book be­ comes obsolete on earth, the personages, countries, manners, and things recorded in it, lose, by the law of sympathy, their existence in the moon” (vii). With the professionalization of literary reviewing in the Romantic age, a work’s success or failure was often determined by its reception in a small number of influential periodicals. Schoenfield’s book echoes Barrett’s lunar democracy in its concern for a sphere in which identities were forged, manipulated, and dismissed. Throughout this fine study, the author examines the role of periodicals in shaping their own identities, those of authors, and the tastes and opinions of their readership. While the topic of identity drives the book’s traversing of the populous and diverse landscape ofRomantic-era periodicals, elucidating their role in constructing and mediating a variety of singular and plural identities, Schoenfield also highlights the affinities between the literary, economic, political, and philosophical discourses that periodicals produced. For exam­ ple, the derogatory bodily allusions to Byron’s lameness (“hobbling verses”) and Hogg’s rusticity (“His ears were erect, his eye-brows indignant”) echo conversations about the Regency crisis, where the King’s mental (rather than corporeal) infirmity raised the urgent issue ofwhether sovereignty was an individual or corporate matter. This attention to rhetorical homologies provides a rich sense ofthe broad cultural implications ofparticular period­ ical discussions. At times, however, as in the book’s rather abrupt concluSiR , 52 (Summer 2013) 318 BOOK REVIEWS sion, the argument’s primary focus is somewhat obscured by these larger issues. The first of the book’s two parts focuses on the ideological and practical origins of the three most prominent Romantic-era periodicals: the Edin­ burgh Review, the Quarterly Review, and Blackwood's Magazine. Schoenfield adapts Bakhtin’s theory of novelistic heteroglossia—an utterance issuing from a single agent that is actually composed of multiple voices—to define the communicative nature of the periodical. In contrast to the novel, which is generally the product of a single author, the major periodicals ex­ hibited a corporate or institutional heteroglossia composed of the various voices ofits editor and contributors. Forging a unified and singular identity for the periodical was central to its purpose of organizing a diffuse range of topics and information into a coherent and identifiable voice: contributors’ anonymity was a crucial part in this objective. Schoenfield positions this corporate heteroglossia alongside the contemporaneous growth in promi­ nence of the modern corporation and its increasing legal recognition as an “artificial person” in British society. At the beginning of Chapter Two, which focuses on the establishment of the Edinburgh Review, Schoenfield offers a quotation from Coleridge to raise the issue of the corporate nature of periodicals: “how to account for the differences between individuals while maintaining the concept of a shared identity” (50). Schoenfield analyzes the articles in the first issue of the Edinburgh to demonstrate how the new publication assessed the resem­ blance between economic and intellectual value, and how the corporate identity of the periodical and its systematic organization of knowledge mimicked the structure ofsocial and financial economies. During the mon­ etary crisis of 1797, Francis Horner seized...

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Additional Information

ISSN
2330-118X
Print ISSN
0039-3762
Pages
pp. 317-320
Launched on MUSE
2020-03-19
Open Access
No
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