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The tavern is widely acknowledged as central to the cultural and political life of Britain, yet widely misunderstood. Ian Newman provides the first sustained account of one of the primary institutions of the late eighteenth-century public sphere. The tavern was a venue not only for serious political and literary debate, but also for physical pleasure - the ludic, libidinal and gastronomic enjoyments with which late Georgian public life was inextricably entwined. This study focuses on the architecture of taverns and the people who frequented them, as well as the artistic forms - drinking songs, ballads, Anacreontic poetry, and toasting - with which the tavern was associated. By examining the culture of conviviality that emerged alongside other new forms of sociability in the second half of the eighteenth century, The Romantic Tavern argues for the importance of conviviality as a complex new form of sociability shaped by masculine political gathering and mixed company entertainments.Read more
- Delivers a comprehensive study of one of the primary institutions of the late eighteenth-century public sphere, the tavern
- Combines exploration of architecture and culture to show how cultural production interacted with the built environment
- Focuses on the relevance of taverns to works of canonical literature
Reviews & endorsements
'At the opening of this fascinating study, Ian Newman assures us, with nimble irony, that 'I have had more fun researching and writing this book than accords with the usual image of academic pointy-headed severity'. Yet for all its self-deprecation, this is a learned account that sets about tracing such intricacies as 18th-century state surveillance, the tensions between feminised 'fashionable sociability' and 'the masculine commercialized politics of clubs and coffeehouses', and 'the pleasure of politics and the politics of pleasure, and how they gave shape to ideas about literature'.' Peter J. Smith, The Times Higher EducationSee more reviews
'… The Romantic Tavern is an important book that examines neglected literary traditions to shed light on canonical writings. It will stimulate literary critics and Romantic era specialists in general; the 'convivial public sphere' is a promising critical category.' Rémy Duthille, The Review of English Studies
‘Newman’s book does our field a great service by excavating the worlds of the Romantic tavern, reminding us that the image of the solitary Romantic was at its initial formation predicated on the communal and convivial, even if only its residue remains.’ Steve Newman, The Wordsworth Circle
‘In his essay 'Pleasure: A Political Issue' (1983), Fredric Jameson argues that the political left has often vacillated in its ideological approach to pleasure, shifting back and forth between the two extremes of individualist hedonism and high-minded puritanism. The Romantic Tavern gives us an animated picture of how the Romantic period negotiated these issues. We should toast that.’ Ian Haywood, The BARS Review
‘The Romantic Tavern will likely change the way readers encounter written Romantic works.’ John Savarese, European Romantic Review
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- Date Published: March 2021
- format: Paperback
- isbn: 9781108455923
- length: 300 pages
- dimensions: 230 x 150 x 20 mm
- weight: 0.44kg
- contains: 22 b/w illus. 3 maps
- availability: Available
Table of Contents
Part I. Tavern Space:
2. London tavern: Edmund Burke, the East India Company and literary men
3. Crown and anchor dreams: sedition in the Strand
Part II. Tavern Genres:
4. Political ballads: Captain Morris and the convivial Whigs
5. Anacreontic odes: drink poetry and the politics of pleasure
6. Bawdy and lyrical ballads: Wordsworth and the ballad debates of the 1790s
7. Toasting: political speech, convivial art
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