Romanticism and Visuality: Fragments, History, Spectacle

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Routledge, 2007 M12 12 - 246 pages

This book investigates the productive crosscurrents between visual culture and literary texts in the Romantic period, focusing on the construction and manipulation of the visual, the impact of new visual media on the literary and historical imagination, and on fragments and ruins as occupying the shifting border between the visible and the invisible. It examines a broad selection of instances that reflect debates over how seeing should itself be viewed: instances, from Daguerre's Diorama, to the staging of Coleridge's play Remorse, to the figure of the Medusa in Shelley's poetry and at the Phantasmagoria, in which the very act of seeing is represented or dramatized. In reconsidering literary engagements with the expanding visual field, this study argues that the popular culture of Regency Britain reflected not just emergent and highly capitalized forms of mass entertainment, but also a lively interest in the aesthetic and conceptual dimensions of looking. What is commonly thought to be the Romantic resistance to the visible gives way to a generative fascination with the visual and its imaginative--even spectacular--possibilities.

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Preface and Acknowledgments
Keats Fragments and Vision 20
The Fragment in Ruins 40
Ruins History Museums 68
Romantic Idealism and the Interference of Sight 95
The Diorama the Double and the Gothic Subject 115
Coleridge Schiller and the Play
Shelley Medusa and the Phantasmagoria 152
Notes 177
Bibliography 209
Index 221

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About the author (2007)

Sophie Thomas is Lecturer in English at the University of Sussex and taught previously at the University of Toronto. She is the author of articles on English Romanticism and visual culture and is working on a new book about fragments.

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