This is the first modern scholarly edition of the letters and memoirs of Joseph Severn, English painter and deathbed companion of John Keats. It includes letters from a remarkable collection of never-before-published correspondence held by descendants of the Severn family. Scott's unprecedented access to hundreds of new letters has resulted in a major revisionist work that challenges traditional ideas about Severn's life and character. The edition includes new information about Severn's early artistic success in Italy, an extraordinarily thorough record of his day-to-day activities as a working artist in England, and surprising details about his experience as British Consul in Rome. The volume represents a significant work of recovery, printing in full three important memoirs that have until now appeared only in inaccurate excerpts and offering thirty-three illustrations that demonstrate the range of Severn's talents as a painter. Scott makes a compelling case for a revaluation of Severn, whose friends also included Charles Eastlake, William Gladstone, Leigh Hunt, John Ruskin, and Mary Shelley. This collection will prove valuable not only to literary biographers and Keats scholars, but also to art and cultural historians of the Romantic and Victorian eras. Adding significantly to the volume's usefulness are a detailed chronology of Severn's life and artwork, and appendices containing an index of the newly discovered letters and a ledger of Severn's patrons, paintings and commissions.
This biography of Joseph Severn (1793-1879), the best known but most controversial of Keats's friends, is based on a mass of newly discovered information, much of it still in private hands. Severn accompanied the dying Keats to Italy, nursed him in Rome and reported on his last weeks there in a famous series of moving letters. After Keats's death in relative obscurity, Severn pressed hard for an early biography and a more fitting memorial in the Protestant Cemetery in Rome. In the nineteenth century Severn's friendship with Keats was seen as a model of devoted masculine companionship and he was reburied by popular acclaim next to Keats in 1882. In the twentieth century, by contrast, he was denigrated as an unreliable, self-promoting witness. Sue Brown's book fills a major gap in studies of Keats and his circle. It reassesses Severn's character, friendship with Keats, and influence on the posthumous development of the poet's fame and provides new information on Keats's death. The significance of Severn's artistic career has previously been downplayed. This book offers the first full assessment of his work and of his turbulent spell as British Consul in Rome from 1860 to 1871. Keats was not Severn's only famous friend. For most of his adult life Severn was at the heart of the large, lively British community in Rome welcoming amongst others Gladstone, who became his most important patron, Ruskin, Walter Scott, Wordsworth, Turner, Samuel Palmer, David Wilkie, and many more. He maintained long friendships with Leigh Hunt, Mary Shelley, Charles Eastlake, Richard Monckton Milnes, amongst others, and enjoyed a rich family life.
The letters of John Keats are, T. S. Eliot remarked, "what letters ought to be; the fine things come in unexpectedly, neither introduced nor shown out, but between trifle and trifle." This new edition, which features four rediscovered letters, three of which are being published here for the first time, affords readers the pleasure of the poet's "trifles" as well as the surprise of his most famous ideas emerging unpredictably. Unlike other editions, this selection includes letters to Keats and among his friends, lending greater perspective to an epistolary portrait of the poet. It also offers a revealing look at his "posthumous existence," the period of Keats's illness in Italy, painstakingly recorded in a series of moving letters by Keats's deathbed companion, Joseph Severn. Other letters by Dr. James Clark, Percy Bysshe Shelley, and Richard Woodhouse--omitted from other selections of Keats's letters--offer valuable additional testimony concerning Keats the man. Edited for greater readability, with annotations reduced and punctuation and spelling judiciously modernized, this selection recreates the spontaneity with which these letters were originally written.
In tracing those deliberate and accidental Romantic echoes that reverberate through the Victorian age into the beginning of the twentieth century, this collection acknowledges that the Victorians decided for themselves how to define what is 'Romantic'. The essays explore the extent to which Victorianism can be distinguished from its Romantic precursors, or whether it is possible to conceive of Romanticism without the influence of these Victorian definitions. Romantic Echoes in the Victorian Era reassesses Romantic literature's immediate cultural and literary legacy in the late nineteenth century, showing how the Victorian writings of Matthew Arnold, Wilkie Collins, the Brontës, the Brownings, Elizabeth Gaskell, Charles Dickens, Gerard Manley Hopkins, Thomas Hardy, and the Rossettis were instrumental in shaping Romanticism as a cultural phenomenon. Many of these Victorian writers found in the biographical, literary, and historical models of Chatterton, Coleridge, Byron, Shelley, Keats, and Wordsworth touchstones for reappraising their own creative potential and artistic identity. Whether the Victorians affirmed or revolted against the Romanticism of their early years, their attitudes towards Romantic values enriched and intensified the personal, creative, and social dilemmas described in their art. Taken together, the essays in this collection reflect on current critical dialogues about literary periodisation and contribute to our understanding of how these contemporary debates stem from Romanticism's inception in the Victorian age.
Brimming with the fascinating eccentricities of a complex and confusing movement whose influences continue to resonate deeply, 30 Great Myths About the Romantics adds great clarity to what we know – or think we know – about one of the most important periods in literary history. Explores the various misconceptions commonly associated with Romanticism, offering provocative insights that correct and clarify several of the commonly-held myths about the key figures of this era Corrects some of the biases and beliefs about the Romantics that have crept into the 21st-century zeitgeist – for example that they were a bunch of drug-addled atheists who believed in free love; that Blake was a madman; and that Wordsworth slept with his sister Celebrates several of the mythic objects, characters, and ideas that have passed down from the Romantics into contemporary culture – from Blake’s Jerusalem and Keats’s Ode on a Grecian Urn to the literary genre of the vampire Engagingly written to provide readers with a fun yet scholarly introduction to Romanticism and key writers of the period, applying the most up-to-date scholarship to the series of myths that continue to shape our appreciation of their work
Taking into account the popularity and variety of the genre, this collaborative volume considers a wide range of English Romantic autobiographical writers and modes, including working-class autobiography, the familiar essay, and the staged presence. In the wake of Rousseau's Confessions, autobiography became an increasingly popular as well as a literary mode of writing. By the early nineteenth century, this hybrid and metamorphic genre is found everywhere in English letters, in prose and poetry by men and women of all classes. As such, it resists attempts to provide a coherent historical account or establish a neat theoretical paradigm. The contributors to Romantic Autobiography in England embrace the challenge, focusing not only on major writers such as William Wordsworth, De Quincey, and Mary Shelley, but on more recent additions to the canon such as Mary Robinson, Dorothy Wordsworth, and Mary Hays. There are also essays on the scandalous Memoirs of Mrs. Billington and on Joseph Severn's autobiographical scripting of himself as "the friend of Keats." The result is an exploratory and provisional mapping of the field, provocative rather than exhaustive, intended to inspire future scholarship and teaching.
Today, we do not expect a symptomatic reading to refer to bodily symptoms, or a literary dissection to be more than metaphorical. But this was not always true. In Romantic Autopsy, Arden Hegele considers a moment at the turn of the nineteenth century, when literature and medicine seemed embattled in rivalry, to find that the two fields collaborated to develop interpretive analogies that saw literary texts as organic bodies and anatomical features as legible texts. Together, Romantic readers and doctors elaborated protocols of diagnosis-practices for interpretation that could be used to diagnose disease, and to understand fiction and poetry. This volume puts essential works of British Romantic literature that seem at first to have little to do with medicine, such as the lyrics of William Wordsworth, the elegies of Percy Shelley and Alfred Tennyson, and the novels of Mary Wollstonecraft, Jane Austen, and Mary Shelley, back into conversation with emergent medical disciplines of the period — anatomy, pathology, psychiatry, and semiology. Poems and novels, Hegele argues, were historically understood through techniques designed for the analysis of disease; meanwhile, autopsy reports and case histories adopted stylistic features associated with literature. Countering the assumption of a growing specialization in Romanticism, these practices suggest that symptomatic reading (treating a text's superficial signs as evidence of deeper meaning), a practice still used and debated today, might have originated from Romantic diagnostics. The first study of the interconnected literary and medical analytics of British Romanticism, Romantic Autopsy charts an important history underlying our own approaches to literary analysis.