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Poetics of Character
Transatlantic Encounters 1700–1900


Part of Cambridge Studies in Romanticism

  • Date Published: November 2013
  • availability: Available
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781107042407

$ 107.00

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About the Authors
  • This study of character in a comparative context presents a new approach to transatlantic literary history. Rereading Romanticism across national, generic and chronological boundaries, and through close textual comparisons, it offers exciting possibilities for rediscovering how literature engages and persuades readers of the reality of character. Historically grounded in the eighteenth-century philosophical, political and cultural conditions that generated nation-based literary history, it reveals alternative narratives to those of origin and succession, influence and reception. It also reintroduces rhetoric and poetics as ways of addressing questions about uniqueness and representativeness in character creation, epistemological issues of identity and impersonation, and the generation of literary value. Drawing comparisons between works from Alexander Pope and Cotton Mather through Robert Burns, Jane Austen, John Keats, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Edgar Allan Poe, R. W. Emerson, Margaret Fuller and Herman Melville, to George Eliot and Henry James, Susan Manning reveals surprising metaphorical, metonymic and performative connections.

    • Major work by an outstanding critic of transatlantic literature and of Romanticism
    • Reintroduces aspects of rhetoric and poetics in exploring literary character to go beyond treating literary texts as historical evidence
    • New insights into the work of major authors including Alexander Pope, Jane Austen, John Keats, Edgar Allan Poe, George Eliot and Henry James
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'Poetics of Character is a true masterpiece in Manning's areas of specialization - the literature and philosophy of the Scottish Enlightenment, Romanticism, transatlanticism - and, if I may be allowed the type of language that [James] Chandler employs, it displays Manning's thinking at its most agile and acute. A gift to multiple fields and the capstone of an impressive and influential career, [it] opens multiple new channels of thought for eighteenth- and nineteenth-century transatlantic criticism, a fitting legacy for a scholar already seen as a trailblazer in the field.' Matthew Wickman, Review of English Studies

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    Product details

    • Date Published: November 2013
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781107042407
    • length: 336 pages
    • dimensions: 236 x 160 x 23 mm
    • weight: 0.61kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Part I. Transatlantic Literary History and the Poetics of Character:
    1. 'Is analogy argument?'
    Part II. Reading Character in Comparison:
    2. Transatlantic contagion and the seductions of allegory
    3. Characterless women
    4. Characters and representatives
    5. Literary friendship and transatlantic correspondences
    6. Subjects and objects: 'always joined, never settled'
    7. Historical characters: virtue ethics and the limits of romantic biography
    8. Poetics of character.

  • Author

    Susan Manning, University of Edinburgh
    Susan Manning (1953–2013) was Grierson Professor of English Literature and Director for the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities at the University of Edinburgh. She published many books, book chapters and journal articles, including most recently Transatlantic Literary Studies, 1660–1830 (edited with Eve Tavor Bannet, Cambridge University Press, 2012) and Character, Self and Sociability in the Scottish Enlightenment (edited with Thomas Ahnert, 2011).

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