The Return of the Visible in British Romanticism

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In this path-breaking study William Galperin offers a major revisionist reading of Romanticism that emphasizes the visible - as opposed to visionary - impulse in British Romantic poetry and prose. Employing a wide variety of theoretical insights, Galperin shows not only that the visual impulse is central to an understanding of Romanticism but also that the Romantic preoccupation with the "world seen" forms an integral part of the prehistory of cinema. Galperin challenges the assumption that a single philosophy ...
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Overview

In this path-breaking study William Galperin offers a major revisionist reading of Romanticism that emphasizes the visible - as opposed to visionary - impulse in British Romantic poetry and prose. Employing a wide variety of theoretical insights, Galperin shows not only that the visual impulse is central to an understanding of Romanticism but also that the Romantic preoccupation with the "world seen" forms an integral part of the prehistory of cinema. Galperin challenges the assumption that a single philosophy characterized the art and culture of high Romanticism. Instead, he argues, the culture of the period - both high and low - was a site of competing ideas. From the poetry of Wordsworth and Byron to the painting of John Constable and Caspar David Friedrich to the precinematic institutions of the panorama and the diorama, The Return of the Visible in British Romanticism lends new vigor to ongoing debates about the nature of Romanticism lends new vigor to ongoing debates about the nature of Romanticism, nineteenth-century culture, and the origins of cinema.
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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
The author offers a major revisionist reading of Romanticism that emphasizes the visible, as opposed to the visionary, impulse in British Romantic poetry and prose and shows also that the Romantic preoccupation with the "world seen" is an integral part of the prehistory of cinema. He challenges the assumption that a single philosophy characterized the art and culture of high Romanticism and argues that both the high and low cultures of the period saw a variety of competing ideas. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780801845055
  • Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press
  • Publication date: 3/1/1988
  • Pages: 344

Table of Contents

Illustrations
Acknowledgments
Introduction: The Visible Subject and the Agency of the Text 1
I The Romantic Visible and the Visibly Romantic
1 The Return of the Visible 19
2 The Panorama and the Diorama: Aids to Distraction 34
3 Constable's Deception 72
II Resisting the Visible
4 The Mind in the "Land of Technology": Resistance to Spectacle in Wordsworth's Prelude 99
5 Lamb and Hazlitt: Romantic Antitheatricality and the Body of Genius 129
6 Coleridge's Antitheatricality: The Quest for Community 156
III Writing the Visible
7 Wordsworth, Friedrich, and the Photographic Impulse 207
8 The Postmodernism of Childe Harold 244
Postscript: The Feminization of Don Juan 271
Notes 283
Index 321
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