An Oxford Companion to the Romantic Age: British Culture 1776-1832

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9780198122975: An Oxford Companion to the Romantic Age: British Culture 1776-1832

For the first time, this innovative reference book surveys the Romantic Age through all aspects of British culture, rather than in literary or artistic terms alone. This multi-disciplinary approach treats Romanticism both in aesthetic terms--its meaning for painting, music, design, architecture, and literature -- and as a historical epoch of "revolutionary" transformations which ushered in modern democratic and industrialized society.

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About the Author:

Iain McCalman, Director, Humanities Research Centre, Australian National University, Canberra. Jon Mee, Fellow, University College, Oxford. Gillian Russell, English Department, Australian National University.

From Booklist:

It is a truth universally acknowledged that most reference books on the Romantic Age highlight the literary outpourings of the era. Here is a work that paints a broader picture, taking in the whole landscape of those often turbulent times; revolution, social change, popular culture, law, medicine, the arts, politics, and, of course, literature are among the topics addressed in this comprehensive source.

Instead of the typical, single alphabetical arrangement of short entries, the book employs a two-part approach to the material at hand. The first part consists of just over 40 signed essays on four major themes: "Transforming Polity and Nation"; "Reordering Social and Private Worlds"; "Culture, Consumption, and the Arts"; and "Emerging Knowledges." The essays that are grouped within these themes address topics such as domesticity, empire, exploration, industrialization, novels, and utopianism. This section of the book has its own index. The second part is an alphabetically arranged offering of briefer but more specific (also signed) articles on a variety of terms, persons, organizations, ideas, places, etc. These two parts can be used separately (the second half will be of greater use in a ready-reference situation) or together, because a thorough system of cross-references links the essays to the articles, articles to the essays, essays to essays, and articles to articles. A variety of crisp black-and-white illustrations, including reproductions of period paintings (some full-or half-page size), art from chapbooks, and photographs of notable places or art objects, punctuates the text and adds considerable interest. Instead of a single appended bibliography, each of the essays concludes with a list of sources for further reading.

The interdisciplinary flavor of the work makes it an appealing choice for a variety of collections. Although it is by no means a revisionist history, each topic included is examined in the context of the times, often resulting in a fresh look at some of the icons of the era. Recommended for academic and large public libraries.

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Published by Oxford University Press (1999)
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