Victorians Reading the Romantics: Essays by U.Â 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 andÂ new scaffolding emphasize the interrelations among the essays, which together form a consistent approach to literary criticism.
Knoepflmacherâs 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 Woolfâs 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 flexibleâable 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.
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