Catalogue


Written on the water : British romanticism and the maritime empire of culture /
Samuel Baker.
imprint
Charlottesville ; London : University of Virginia Press, 2010.
description
xix, 320 pages : illustrations, map.
ISBN
0813927951 (cloth : alk. paper), 9780813927954 (cloth : alk. paper)
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
Charlottesville ; London : University of Virginia Press, 2010.
isbn
0813927951 (cloth : alk. paper)
9780813927954 (cloth : alk. paper)
contents note
Part One. Oceanic fables of culture: Change your lakes for ocean; Imperial solutions -- Part Two. The Wordsworth circle's modes of insular empire: The maritime georgic; Britannia's pastorals; The dissolution of epic -- Part three. Culture's midland waters: Coleridge, Byron, Arnold, America: Nautical existence; Shipwreck for a poet -- Envoi: For us repeopled were the solitary shore.
catalogue key
7227497
 
Includes bibliographical references and index.
A Look Inside
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 2011-04-01:
Until 1990, literary historians agreed that the georgic, pervasive in the 18th century, went into eclipse in the Romantic period. Recent scholars--e.g., Kevis Goodman (Georgic Modernity and British Romanticism, CH, Feb'05, 42-3272)--have argued that the form thrived after 1800. Baker (Univ. of Texas, Austin) argues that a Romantic "maritime georgic" was the site at which the modern notion of "culture" was created. In all this recent scholarship, the term "georgic" has become so vague that one has difficulty determining to what it does not apply. For Baker, Wordsworth's Prelude and Excursion qualify, as do many of his sonnets and other lyrics; Coleridge's "Lime Tree Bower" fits. One need no longer detect the structure or rhetoric that distinguished earlier georgics; any work treating labor or cultivation, of any kind, qualifies, even if it embodies simply a "georgic turning and returning of conversation." This book would be more useful if it dropped the word "georgic." Baker has much to say about writers' involvement in the developing British imperial project, but this study will be accessible only to those who already know the period, and recent criticism, intimately. Substituting learned playfulness for clear argument and forced analogy for persuasive reading, this book is not really about genre. Summing Up; Not recommended. D. L. Patey Smith College
Reviews
Review Quotes
"Water, water is everywhere in Romantic literature, but most treatments of the poetry of the period have not adequately registered this fact. By situating Romanticism within the historical context of an emergent British maritime empire, Baker provides a new way of thinking about literature. Written on the Water is a wonderful book, as expansive in its attempt to reinterpret Romantic poetry as the nautical horizons it examines."--Alan Bewell, University of Toronto, author of Romanticism and Colonial Disease
""Water, water is everywhere in Romantic literature, but most treatments of the poetry of the period have not adequately registered this fact. By situating Romanticism within the historical context of an emergent British maritime empire, Baker provides a new way of thinking about literature. Written on the Water is a wonderful book, as expansive in its attempt to reinterpret Romantic poetry as the nautical horizons it examines."--Alan Bewell, University of Toronto, author of Romanticism and Colonial Disease" --
This item was reviewed in:
Choice, April 2011
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Summaries
Main Description
The very word "culture" has traditionally evoked the land. But when such writers as William Wordsworth, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Lord Byron, and, later, Matthew Arnold developed what would become the idea of modern culture, they modeled that idea on Britain's imperial command of the sea. Instead of locating the culture idea's beginnings in the dynamic between the country and the city, Samuel Baker insists on taking into account the significance of water for that idea's development. For the Romantics, figures of the island, the deluge, and the sundering tide often convey the insularity of cultures understood to stand apart from the whole; yet, Baker writes, the sea also stands in their poetry of culture as a reminder of the broader sphere of circulation in which the poet's work, if not the poet's subject, inheres.Although other books treat the history of the idea of culture, none synthesizes that history with the literary history of maritime empire. Written on the Water tracks an uncanny interrelationship between ocean imagery and culturalist rhetoric of culture forward from the late Augustans to the mid-Victorians. In so doing, it analyzes Wordsworth's pronounced ambivalence toward the sea, Coleridge's sojourn as an imperial functionary in Malta, Byron's cosmopolitan seafaring tales, and Arnold's dual identity as "poet of water" and prose arbiter of "culture." It also considers Romanticism's classical inheritance, arguing that the Lake Poets dissolved into the idea of culture the Virgilian system of pastoral, georgic, and epic modes of literature and life.This compelling new study will engage any reader interested in the intellectual and literary history of Britain and the lived experience of British Romanticism.
Main Description
The very word "culture" has traditionally evoked the land. But when such writers as William Wordsworth, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Lord Byron, and, later, Matthew Arnold developed what would become the idea of modern culture, they modeled that idea on Britain's imperial command of the sea. Instead of locating the culture idea's beginnings in the dynamic between the country and the city, Samuel Baker insists on taking into account the significance of water for that idea's development. For the Romantics, figures of the island, the deluge, and the sundering tide often convey the insularity of cultures understood to stand apart from the whole; yet, Baker writes, the sea also stands in their poetry of culture as a reminder of the broader sphere of circulation in which the poet's work, if not the poet's subject, inheres. Although other books treat the history of the idea of culture, none synthesizes that history with the literary history of maritime empire. Written on the Water tracks an uncanny interrelationship between ocean imagery and culturalist rhetoric of culture forward from the late Augustans to the mid-Victorians. In so doing, it analyzes Wordsworth's pronounced ambivalence toward the sea, Coleridge's sojourn as an imperial functionary in Malta, Byron's cosmopolitan seafaring tales, and Arnold's dual identity as "poet of water" and prose arbiter of "culture." It also considers Romanticism's classical inheritance, arguing that the Lake Poets dissolved into the idea of culture the Virgilian system of pastoral, georgic, and epic modes of literature and life. This compelling new study will engage any reader interested in the intellectual and literary history of Britain and the lived experience of British Romanticism.
Table of Contents
Prefacep. ix
List of Abbreviationsp. xix
Introduction: Familiar with the Seap. 1
Oceanic Fables of Culturep. 21
Change your Lakes for Oceanp. 23
Imperial Solutionsp. 56
The Wordsworth Circle's Modes of Insular Empirep. 81
The Maritime Georgicp. 83
Britannia's Pastoralsp. 115
The Dissolution of Epicp. 153
Culture's Midland Waters: Coleridge, Byron, Arnold, Americap. 189
Nautical Existencep. 191
Shipwreck for a Poetp. 222
Envoi: For Us Repeopled Were the Solitary Shorep. 251
Notesp. 255
Works Citedp. 283
Indexp. 309
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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