About this Volume

About This Edition

While modern scholars often focus on examining Romantic-period works’ receptions around the times of their original publications, Romanticism is in many respects an event that continues to happen. Assumptions propagated by its major texts and authors strongly determine how we think and feel about a vast range of subjects, including nature, consciousness, art, and selfhood. This volume explores such patterns of influence by focusing on an artist who was shaped in part by inherited Romantic discourses, but who was also capable both of resisting them and of realising new aspects of their potential. While sixties rock stars often presented themselves as unreconstructedly Romantic, David Bowie offered a series of self-aware alternatives to this model, challenging many of its underlying assumptions about masculinity, sexuality, genius, aesthetics, and performance. His oeuvre engages with common Romantic-period themes—including space, childhood, identity, artistry, and the liberating power of images—but it also pushes forward in manners that iterate on, improve, and sometimes reject Romantic conceptions. Through examining this multifaceted and self-consciously constructed artist and his works, these five essays by Joanna E. Taylor, Beatrice Turner, Emily Bernhard-Jackson, Matthew Sangster, and Forest Pyle explore how Romantic-period modes of making artworks and selves constitute a living tradition that artists draw upon and challenge in seeking to improve our ways of seeing, being, and understanding.

About the Editor

Matthew Sangster is Senior Lecturer in Romantic Studies, Fantasy, and Cultural History at the University of Glasgow. His book Living as an Author in the Romantic Period was published by Palgrave in 2021. He is currently co-editing collections on institutions and the 1820s (with Jon Mee) and has recently published on William Hunter’s library, Robert Southey’s encounters with London, and reading in Enlightenment Glasgow. Forthcoming work includes a database of the Royal Literary Fund Archive, data-driven explorations of eighteenth-century library borrowing records, a chapter on Romantic metropolitanism, and an essay on the ethical and imaginative potential of fantastical cities.

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