Jane Austen’s famous reference to Ann Radcliffe and ‘all her imitators’ in Northanger Abbey can be understood both as a satirical characterisation of popular gothic novels and as a record of a historical mode of describing those same texts. This article provides a new reading of fictional ‘imitation’ in the Romantic period arguing that, as it was practised by Minerva Press novelists, it became a crucial fulcrum in the ongoing Romantic debate over the literary status of the novel. While charges of ‘imitation’ are often understood as derogatory, and were frequently deployed against the Minerva Press’s fiction by critics, looking closely at the novels in question suggests that many novelists used imitation quite deliberately as a literary strategy. This essay suggests that the fiction produced by Minerva’s novelists is deeply entwined with the press’s status as England’s highest-producing novel publisher, in that the form and function of Minerva novels stems from their collective identity: each novel is produced and consumed specifically as one of many—one of many narratives, but also one of many physical, circulating objects, lent, sold and exchanged between readers. Using allusions, parodic inversions, self-referential prefaces and a multitude of other narrative strategies, the novelists exploit the creative potential of their imitative parameters. Continue reading
Home » Items tagged with 'reviews'
Items tagged with 'reviews'
Article: Minerva in the Review Periodical
As the most infamous novel publisher of the Romantic period, William Lane’s Minerva Press garnered significant attention in the book review periodicals of the day. This article uses the Novels Reviewed Database, 1790–1820 and quantitative methodologies to track the ways that Lane, his press and the novels it published, were presented to England’s reading public while the press flourished. The Reviews critique the novels’ subject matter, originality, the material makeup of the printed books and gendered authorship. Taking up that data, this article provides a qualitative analysis of the long reaching implications of the rhetoric deployed by the Reviews in their scathing criticisms, and traces how it continues to pervade modern scholarship on the press today. Continue reading
The new year is ringing in further changes at Romantic Textualities, and in this spirit we are delighted to announce our new Reviews Editor: Barbara Hughes-Moore. Barbara takes on the mantle from Dr Katie Garner, … Continue reading
This essay provides an overview of patterns of reception and production of Irish fiction published between 1800 and 1829, with particular discussion of the fiction of Maria Edgeworth and Sydney Owenson (Lady Morgan). The essay is followed by a bibliographical checklist of 114 works of fiction published during the survey period. Continue reading
Article: Wordsworth’s ‘Library of Babel’
In ‘Bibliomania: Book Collecting, Cultural Politics, and the Rise of Literary Heritage in Romantic Britain’,  Philip Connell argues that the decade of the 1810s saw the rise of diverse strains of bibliomania involving the … Continue reading