Material Transgressions

BookMaterial Transgressions

Material Transgressions

Beyond Romantic Bodies, Genders, Things

Romantic Reconfigurations: Studies in Literature and Culture 1780-1850, 11


July 3rd, 2020



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Material Transgressions reveals how Romantic-era authors think outside of historical and theoretical ideologies that reiterate notions of sexed bodies, embodied subjectivities, isolated things, or stable texts. The essays gathered here examine how Romantic writers rethink materiality, especially the subject-object relationship, in order to challenge the tenets of Enlightenment and the culture of sensibility that privileged the hegemony of the speaking and feeling lyric subject and to undo supposedly invariable matter, and representations of it, that limited their writing, agency, knowledge, and even being. In this volume, the idea of transgression serves as a flexible and capacious discursive and material movement that braids together fluid forms of affect, embodiment, and textuality. The texts explored offer alternative understandings of materiality that move beyond concepts that fix gendered bodies and intellectual capacities, whether human or textual, idea or thing. They enact processes – assemblages, ghost dances, pack mentality, reiterative writing, shapeshifting, multi-voiced choric oralities – that redefine restrictive structures in order to craft alternative modes of being in the world that can help us to reimagine materiality both in the Romantic period and now. Such dynamism not only reveals a new materialist imaginary for Romanticism but also unveils textualities, affects, figurations, and linguistic movements that alter new materialism’s often strictly ontological approach.

List of contributors: Kate Singer, Ashley Cross, Suzanne L. Barnett, Harriet Kramer Linkin, Michael Gamer, Katrina O’Loughlin, Emily J. Dolive, Holly Gallagher, Jillian Heydt-Stevenson, Mary Beth Tegan, Mark Lounibos, Sonia Hofkosh, David Sigler, Chris Washington, Donelle Ruwe, Mark Lussier.

Author Information

Kate Singer is Associate Professor of English at Mount Holyoke College. Ashley Cross is Professor of English at Manhattan College. Suzanne L. Barnett is an independent scholar.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents
Section TitlePagePrice
Introduction: Living in a New Material World15
Part One: Textual Embodiments 43
1. The Destabilizing Materiality of the Autograph for Blake, Coleridge, and Tighe45
2. Affect in the Margins: Marking Readers in the Elegiac Sonnets67
3. Remapping the Printed Page in Women’s Post-Waterloo Poetry99
4. Vibrant Art on the Grand Tour in Anna Jameson’s Diary of an Ennuyée121
Part Two : Transgressive Things 139
5. Hester Stanhope, ‘Un être à part’: Material Transgression and Belonging in the East141
6. ‘The Redundancy of Copious Nothings’: Fictional Offspring, Or, the Reproductions of Female Vanity167
7. Revolutionary Objects in Elizabeth Inchbald’s Nature and Art187
8. Dancing with Ghosts in ‘Isabella; or, The Pot of Basil’205
9. It’s the End of the World as We Know It and I Feel Queer: Mary Shelley, Queer Affect, and Shapeshifting Through The Last Man227
Part Three: Materialities Sexual and Animal 245
10. John Barnet and the Materiality of Desire in James Hogg’s Justified Sinner247
11. Werewolf Wollstonecraft: homo homini lupus, or, Romantic Beast Wars267
12. Phantasmion, or the Confessions of a Female Opium Eater289
13. Voices against the Universe: Material Transgressions in the Blakean Multiverse311