Romantic Circles is pleased to announce the following new resources, along with a substantive update to an existing resource.
Robert Bloomfield, The Banks of Wye. An edition of Bloomfield's multimedia picturesque tour of the Wye valley. Poem, tour journal, sketchbook. Ed. Tim Fulford.
This edition presents a rare surviving example of the kind of multimedia production that arose from one of the new cultural activities of the late eighteenth century—the picturesque and antiquarian tour. It comprises a facsimile of the manuscript sketch- and scrap-book that Robert Bloomfield made after his 1807 tour of the Wye, an annotated transcription of the prose tour-journal that he incorporated into his scrap book, and a collated and annotated text of the poetic versions of the tour that were published (as The Banks of Wye) in 1811, 1813, and 1823. Also included are reproductions of the engravings that illustrated the 1811 and 1813 publications, deleted or unadopted passages from the manuscript of the poem, and a selection of reviews from journals of the time. The whole represents a visually and verbally rich response to the fashionable tour of the Wye. Bloomfield’s manuscript sketch- and scrap-book is an example of the newly popular fashion for on-the-spot sketching. Full of self-penned images of views and ruins, it is a fine example of the visual culture that the English gentry began to produce and to value, a homemade book to pass around in drawing rooms before turning either to the latest set of picturesque engravings or to the poetic tour —The Banks of Wye — that Bloomfield himself issued in print. Bloomfield, indeed, hoped to issue not just the poetic tour but also the ‘whole triple-page’d Journal, Drawings, prose, and rhime’. Cost prohibited such a publication at the time: only now, with this composite edition of poem, prose, scrap- and sketch-book, can we see the multimedia response to the Wye that was then accessible only to the intimate friends among whom the manuscript circulated.
This website presents the first scholarly edition of Robert Southey’s various writings about the prophetic movements of Romantic-era Britain. Its aim is to throw new light on two related areas: the nature and history of millenarian prophecy in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries—especially William Bryan, Richard Brothers, and Joanna Southcott—, and the significance of prophecy in Southey’s social, political analysis of his times. A fascinated commentator upon what he termed ‘enthusiasm’, Southey published two of the earliest accounts of Southcott and her predecessors ever written, accounts derived both from personal acquaintance with some of the major figures involved and from a detailed study of their writings. These accounts are reproduced here, collated with the manuscripts on which they were based, and with explanatory notes. In addition, a selection of Southey’s remarks on millenarians in his private manuscript correspondence is presented, and an introduction comprising a brief history of the prophetic movements in the Romantic era and a critical discussion of Southey’s writings on the subject.
The Letters of Robert Bloomfield and his Circle. Ed. Tim Fulford and Lynda Pratt The editors are delighted to announce an update to their edition of Bloomfield collected letters, comprising four previously unknown letters that throw new light on Bloomfield's relationship with his patron, Capel Lofft, and on the patronage of labouring-class poets in the early nineteenth century more generally. The letters also throw new light on periodical culture in the period and present an early draft of one of Bloomfield's popular songs.