Victorians Reading the Romantics

Essays by U. C. Knoepflmacher

U. C. Knoepflmacher
Edited by Linda M. Shires


August 30, 2016

262 pp. 6x9

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Table of Contents


“As a capacious and unified work of a major nineteenth-century scholar, Victorians Reading the Romantics will be of interest to all advanced workers in the field of nineteenth- and early twentieth-century British literature. It is a work that every nineteenth-century scholar should own, every university library should buy, and many serious undergraduates should read. Knoepflmacher is a beautiful writer—lucid, graceful, funny where funny is appropriate, moving where moving is right.” —Judith Plotz, George Washington University

“Bringing these essays together transforms them into a cohesive book of readings on a theme, allowing them to do the work of showing how a very fine reader can bring to present, active meaningfulness a historical issue. They collectively cover a great number of important Romantic and Victorian writers.” —John Maynard, co-editor of Victorian Literature and Culture

Victorians Reading the Romantics: Essays by U. C. Knoepflmacher, edited by Linda M. Shires, offers a compelling new perspective on the long and influential publishing career and thought of Knoepflmacher, a leading critic of the novel and Victorian poetry. This volume draws together essays on nineteenth-century literature written between 1963 and 2012. An introductory essay and new scaffolding emphasize the interrelations among the essays, which together form a consistent approach to literary criticism.

Knoepflmacher’s vision of texts and readers stresses the emotional knowledge afforded by reading, writing about, and teaching literary texts. Each chapter links Romantic texts to those of later writers. Shelley and Keats try to revise Wordsworth, but they are themselves recast by Browning and Hardy. Similarly, George Eliot and Virginia Woolf’s reliance on Romantic tropes are fruitfully examined. Above all, however, these chapters stress the impact of Wordsworth on his many contemporaries and successors. Knoepflmacher probes into their texts to find, as Wordsworth did, a momentary fusion of opposites. He posits a reader who is flexible—able to move in multiple directions by paying attention to spatial, verbal, and imagistic coordinates, across and down a page. Given the attention paid to the translation of affect into thought, this collection will contribute to Victorian studies as well as enhance our understanding of the affective dynamics of nineteenth-century literature.

U. C. Knoepflmacher is Paton Foundation Professor of Ancient and Modern Literature Emeritus in the Department of English at Princeton University. Linda M. Shires is David and Ruth Gottesman Professor of English and Chair of the Department of English at Stern College for Women at Yeshiva University, New York.