Refiguring Romanticisms: Cross-Temporal Translations and Gothic Transgressions, American Comparative Literature Association, Utrecht University, the Netherlands, 6-9 July 2017.
Cross-temporal translation and Gothic transgression are present in Romanticism from its beginnings. In the 1800 Preface to Lyrical Ballads, Wordsworth maintained the superiority of English Romanticism, presenting German Gothic as a corruption of literary tradition. In turn, Poe’s poems and tales exemplify a ‘dark’ Romanticism partly inspired by the German E.T.A. Hoffmann. Beyond the Romantic era, Kandinsky called his art ‘today’s romanticism’, while Angela Carter’s reinvention of French and German fairy tales is a ‘bloody revision of the Romantic aesthetic’ (Kramer Linkin, 1994). More recently, the Spanish-Argentine Andrès Neuman advertised his 2009 novel Traveller of the Century as ‘a post-modern interpretation of Romanticism’. Despite their great diversity, these examples are linked by ‘the persistence of Romanticism’ (Eldridge 2001), a phenomenon that seemingly ignores geographical and temporal boundaries. This seminar will examine refigurations of Romanticism across chronological and national boundaries, and in its transgressive sister genre of the Gothic.
Our primary aim is to interrogate how and why aesthetic, formal, and philosophical aspects of Romanticism have been re-appropriated and transformed to fit differing agendas, from the early revisions of the Gothic to postmodern and contemporary manifestations of the Romantic. Which aspects of Romanticism express modern concerns under a new guise, and how far do translations or transgressions of Romanticism depart from their models to promote a new aesthetic? Finally, what do such translations and transgressions tell us about what we as critics conceptualise as Romantic? We hope to discuss Post-Romanticisms as a range of cross-temporal, cross-cultural, and Gothic reworkings that project Romantic ideas, forms, and styles differently for new audiences.
Questions / topics may include:
Romantic cosmopolitanism and world literature: how does Romanticism project within/beyond Europe? How can we understand Romanticism’s transnational origins?
Rewritings of Romantic works and genres in new contexts (e.g. postcolonial) and new media: which aspects of Romanticism are privileged / suppressed? How and why have Romantic forms (e.g. the fragment, the fairy tale, the Kunstmärchen) been revived?
Gothic texts as transgressions of the boundaries of Romanticism: how do Gothic tropes and figures subvert, reaffirm or revise the ‘romantic ideology’ (McGann 1983; cf. Hoeveler 2014)?
Critical interrelations of Romanticism and Gothicism: is their long ‘relationship of mutual antagonism and suspicion’ (Townshend and Wright 2016) being refigured now? How relevant is the opposition of ‘high’ Romanticism / ‘low’ Gothic (Gamer 2002)?
Romantic philosophy and theory then and now: how are Romantic ideas of perfectibility, revolution, nature, or the author translated across time and space?
If you are interested in participating in this seminar, please get in touch with the organisers over the summer with your ideas/ abstract before formally submitting an abstract via the ACLA website. Contact Joanna Neilly and Gero Guttzeit. Submissions for abstracts open from 1st September, with a deadline of 23rd September.
More information about the seminar can be found here.