Romantic Realism/Victorian Romance: An Introduction to Four Provocations

1 New York University. Elaine Freedgood is a professor of English at NYU and the author of Victorian Writing aboutRisk: Imagining a Safe England in a Dangerous World (Cambridge 2000) and The Ideas in Things: Fugitive Meaning in the Victorian Novel (Chicago 2006) and the editor of Factory Production in Nineteenth-Century Britain (Oxford 2003). Her current project concerns metalepsis in novels from the eighteenth century to the present.

2 New York University. Maureen N. McLane is a poet and associate professor of English at NYU, where she teaches courses on British Romanticism, Anglophone poetics, and modernity. She is the author or editor of several books on romanticism, including Balladeering, Minstrelsy, and the Making of British Romantic Poetry (Cambridge, 2008). She is the author as well of three books of poems, including the forthcoming This Blue (FSG, 2014), and a work of experimental prose, My Poets (FSG, 2012).


Might we, Romanticists and Victorianists, be or become one people? This cluster of essays, by Ian Duncan, Mary Favret, Catherine Robson, and Herbert Tucker, addresses longstanding and emergent cruxes in our collective scholarship, including questions of periodization, mediality, trans/nationality, genre, and mode. “Romance” and “realism” provide two provoking terms for thought. An introduction, by Elaine Freedgood and N. Maureen McLane, lays out axes of categorization, questions for pedagogy and the profession as well as intellectual and disciplinary genealogies. Duncan notes the insufficiency of such terms as “long nineteenth century” and proposes Walter Scott as one figure who teaches us how to think period as well as realism and romance; Favret addresses the romantic lecture and its current resonance in the age of MOOCs; Robson explores the nature of Victorian reading, and directions for Victorianist readings; Tucker meditates on the status of desire and marriage plots—Romantic and Victorian “conjugalities.”


Copyright © Elaine Freedgood and Maureen N. McLane, 2014

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