First Published in 1992. Routledge is an imprint of Taylor & Francis, an informa company.
Library JournalThe Romantic period in Britain was dominated by brilliant poets like Robert Burns and Samuel Taylor Coleridge. During this period, there were also great philosophers, talented artists, and original thinkers who did not receive the same attention though their ideas were just as influential. What makes this encyclopedia such a well-rounded guide to the consciousness of Britain during the late 1700s and early 1800s is the inclusion of these lesser-known artists and philosophers along with the era's more celebrated poets. This work provides a synopsis of larger works, defines popular concepts and abstract ideas such as the ``Byronic hero,'' and offers a Works Consulted list at the end of each entry, making access to further information quick and easy. Essential to any academic library's reference collection, this encyclopedia will be coveted by students and professors alike.-- Jacqueline Garlesky, Cambria Cty. Lib., Johnstown, Pa.
Zom ZomsWith its emphasis on the individual, the imagination, and a return to nature, the romantic movement in England has long struck a responsive chord in twentieth-century readers, and it has inspired a large body of critical scholarship. Thus, it is surprising that this is the first work to attempt to provide encyclopedic coverage of the era. Roughly spanning the period from the 1780s to the mid-1830s, the "Encyclopedia of Romanticism" complements Garland's "Victorian Britain: An Encyclopedia", which covers the years 1837-1901 In surveying the "social, cultural, and intellectual climate of English Romanticism," the encyclopedia focuses on individuals, ideas, historical events, technological innovations, and social and economic issues that influenced and shaped the time. While the emphasis is on the romantic period in England, separate articles are devoted to American, French, German, Russian, and Spanish romanticism. The majority of the 345 alphabetically arranged entries were contributed by individuals associated with academic institutions. Varying in quality and authority, articles range in length from 500 to 2,500 words. Each signed entry is followed by a brief bibliography. Although conventional "see also" references are used generously both within and at the end of articles, many users will miss the statement in the preface that the use of only the last name of an individual from the period indicates that he or she has a separate entry in the encyclopedia. The use of boldface type would have been a better means of providing such cross-references Almost 60 percent of the entries are devoted to individuals, ranging from major and minor literary figures (e.g., William Wordsworth, Agnes Maria Bennett) to artists, philosophers, and scientists (e.g., Joseph Turner, Jeremy Bentham, Joseph Priestley). The encyclopedia also provides extensive coverage of literary forms, movements, themes, and concepts, for example, the articles "Byronic Hero", "Gothicism", "Reconciliation of Opposites", and "Willing Suspension of Disbelief". In addition, the volume treats a diversity of other subjects, such as "Criminality", "Domestic Architecture", "Food and Culinary Habits", and "Opium and Laudanum". Amazingly, for a source devoted to a movement that celebrated nature, there are no articles on nature or natural history, except for "Geological Sciences". Other topics that one would have expected to merit articles include agriculture, fashion, transportation, and women. Also conspicuously lacking are an introductory essay providing an overview of the romantic period in England and a selective bibliography of general sources for the period Another of the encyclopedia's flaws is its index, which provides pagination only for the titles of entries and for some names of individuals. The majority of the index entries refer the user only to titles of pertinent articles. Thus, the user looking for information on Edward Young is referred to "Blake, William" and "Sentimentalism" and must skim those articles to find mention of Young. Such an index obviously simplified the editor's task, since no effort was required to group subentries into meaningful categories. However, the result is inefficient for the user. Anyone seeking references to Wordsworth's "The Prelude", for example, has the formidable task of reading more than 80 articles in pursuit of such allusions. Secondly, the index provides insufficient cross-references between topics. For instance, there is no cross-reference from "Mental Illness" to the article "Insanity and Eccentric Genius". In addition, a more detailed index would have increased the value of the work. For example, a number of the periodicals discussed in "Journalism" are not found in the index Although the unevenness of its coverage and the inadequacies of the index diminish the quality of this volume, at present this is the only work of its type for the romantic era. However, St. Martin's has announced its intention to publish a similar compendium, "A Handbook to English Romanticism", later this year. While it does not measure up to the calibre of "Victorian Britain", the "Encyclopedia of Romanticism" will be a useful companion for students and scholars of the romantic period.
BooknewsSurveys the social, cultural, and intellectual climate of English Romanticism. The focus of the work is what Hazlitt called "the spirit of the age," not just the aesthetic but also the scientific, economic, and social environment in which flourished the Romantic poets and many other artists, thinkers, and agents of change. The Encyclopedia also explores ideas, trends, fads, and conventions, from the well- known to the newly discovered to new interpretations and innovations by feminist and neohistoricist critics. Includes references. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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- Garland Reference Library of Social Science Series
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