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This present issue of Romantic Textualities continues from our last in delivering a very full slate of material. Our previous issue (23) was the largest in the journal’s history, and no. 24 is just about equal in length. Originally slated for winter 2021, the present issue has encountered a number of delays, not least the continuation and aftermath of the covid-19 pandemic, and its impact on academic life; the ongoing industrial action taking place within the UK’s higher education sector; and the personal and professional obligations of the editorial team. We remain grateful to our contributors and readers for their patience while we have prepared the present issue.
As has been the case in previous years, despite the gaps in our publication schedule, the journal has been active in other areas, such as our blog and our Twitter platforms. We have recently resumed our ‘Teaching Romanticism’ series, edited by Daniel Cook, who is now joined by Sarah Burdett and Jonathan Hicks. The team continues to expand and we are delighted to announce the appointment of Andrew McInnes as our Digital Editor. Andrew most recently organised the tremendous New Romanticisms conference for the British Association for Romantic Studies and North American Society for the Study of Romanticism in summer 2022. In his role as Digital Editor, Andrew will oversee the development of our general blog and its various sub-series, as well as exploring additional digital platforms, such as podcasting, for the dissemination of new content. A fuller announcement regarding Andrew’s appointment and his aims for the role will be published shortly on our blog. Alongside this, we will also be advertising for an Associate Editor, whose role will be to assist our editorial team in preparing our serial issues and digital content, as well as standardising our archive of back issues.
Over the past 25 years, Romantic Textualities content has appeared in both html and pdf formats. From this issue onwards, we will only display content in pdf format, on pages where users could previously see the html versions. Our reasoning was that the almost doubled workload that comes with preparing content in two formats did not reflect any clear and distinct benefit, especially given the static nature of html. Liberating ourselves from this publishing paradigm will expedite the preparation and delivery of future issues. We will also begin replacing previous html versions of our material with viewable pdfs, for a consistent visual appearance. As always, the pdfs will also be downloadable for personal use. Thanks are due to our Platform Developer, Andrew O’Sullivan, for implementing these changes.
Turning to the present, Issue 24 focuses on Romantic Novels 1817 and 1818, building on a successful series of seminars directed in 2017 and 2018 respectively by our guest editors, Susan Civale and Claire Sheridan. Examining various novels, both famous and lesser known, the authors of the five essays—and general introduction by Susan and Claire—demonstrate the range and complexity of the late Romantic literary marketplace. The research of the guest editors reflects more widely this interest in the intersections between the canonical and the popular. Susan has published widely on Romantic women’s writing, adaptations and afterlives: her first monograph was Romantic Women’s Life Writing: Reputation and Afterlife (Manchester University Press, 2019), and she is currently preparing a monograph on Mary Shelley to be published in 2024. Claire is the author of articles on William Hazlitt, Mary Shelley, William Godwin and Alan Moore, among others. Her research interests include the influence of Godwin’s ‘philosophical gothic’ on later gothic writers, and the various communities associated with Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. For a fuller consideration of the Romantic Novels 1817 and 1818 project, and the five essays published in Romantic Textualities that have emerged from it, see Susan and Claire’s introduction to the special issue.
In addition to these six essays, Issue 24 also includes two standalone articles. The starting point of Peter Garside’s ‘Shadow and Substance: Restoring the Literary Output of Robert Pearse Gillies (1789–1858)’ lies in Gillies’s deep regret over his eventual incapacity to piece together his own literary record owing to the loss of materials at significant points in his life. Garside’s article attempts to ameliorate this situation by providing a fuller record than was then available to Gillies himself, through means such as the recovery of rare editions, identification of periodical contributions and information provided by the archives of the Royal Literary Fund. In ‘Fugitive Text: Robert Southey and S. T. Coleridge’s Ballad of the Devil’, Robert William Rix examines the print history of Robert Southey and S. T. Coleridge’s co-written, but anonymously published, ‘The Devil’s Thoughts’ (1799), which was transcribed, reprinted and imitated over the next three decades. Rix’s article examines the poem’s genesis and reproduction, as well as unpacking its most significant satirical barbs in the context of contemporary print satire, alongside considering how book market entrepreneurs cashed in on the popularity of the 1830 illustrated version.
The second part of this issue consists of reviews of nine books on Romanticism, literary history and print culture, published between 2015 and 2021. Titles examined span a range of subjects, from Romanticism and race, to scholarly editions and biographies, as well as studies of the worlds of warfare and statecraft and of readers and the regulation of minds. Authors treated in the books reviewed include Jane Austen, John Keats, the Shelleys and Phyllis Wheatley.
The final section provides Update 8 to three linked bibliographical projects, all of which originated alongside Romantic Textualities at Cardiff University’s Centre for Editorial and Intertextual Research, under the direction of Peter Garside: volume 2 of The English Novel, 1770–1829: A Bibliographical Survey of Prose Fiction Publihsed in the British Isles (2000); The English Novel, 1830–1836: A Bibliographical Survey of Prose Fiction Published in Britain and Ireland (2003); and British Fiction, 1800–1829: A Database of Production, Circulation and Reception (2004). For the first time, in addition to new information gathered between 2020 and 2023, Update 8 collects and updates all previously published Updates 1–7 to these bibliographical resources, stretching back to April 2000. Spanning over 100 pages, this report provides updated author attributions, new titles previously undiscovered or omitted from the bibliographies, fresh information on the location of surviving copies, as well as further details about existing entries. We hope to take Update 8 forward by revising, expanding and augmenting our Database of British Fiction, 1800–1829, so that it remains fit for purpose for another two decades.
Speaking of the future, despite the recent hiatus in serial publication, we have lined up a number of new issues for the coming years, which we cannot wait to share with you. Issue 25 will take the theme Romanticism Goes to University, guest edited by Andrew McInnes, and due for publication in autumn 2023. This will be followed by a special issue on Romantic Boundaries, edited by Yu-Hung Tien and Andrew Taylor, with the assistance of Cleo O’Callaghan-Yeoman. Due for publication in the first half of 2024, Issue 26 will include essays that draw on presentations given in the same-named Postgraduate and Early Career Research Conference hosted in June 2023 by the British Association for Romantic Studies. This will be followed in late 2024 by Issue 27, edited by Christopher Stampone and Joel Pace, entitled In Other Wor(l)ds: Romanticism at the Crossroads. At the time of writing, the Call for Papers will remain open until mid-August 2023, and can be found here. Alongside these scheduled issues, we are planning to publish a special or standalone issue based on our successful ‘Teaching Romanticism’ blog series. This issue would consolidate and update the blog posts (36 to date) into essay format, gathered into thematic sections. Beyond this planned activity, we continue to welcome submissions for standalone essays or future special issues: please read our Instructions for Authors for more information.