August 2010

Brian Goldberg, The Lake Poets and Professional Identity

Brian Goldberg, The Lake Poets and Professional Identity (Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press, 2007). viii + 297pp. ISBN 978-0-521-86638-5 (Hdbk.), $100.00.

Reviewed by
Mark L. Barr
Saint Mary's University

Brian Goldberg's The Lake Poets and Professional Identity is a careful and subtle exploration of the cultural tropes and social forces that William Wordsworth, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, and Robert Southey invoked and struggled against in attempting to forge their distinct notions of authorial identity. Goldberg's central thesis is that the Lake School poets, caught between the unsustainable binary conception of the author either as reclusive (and unpaid) genius or as remunerated hack, sought in legal, medical, and clerical professionalism a more palatable model to help reconfigure the authorial relationship to both work and audience. In this intensive and necessarily episodic study, Goldberg manages a fine balance between both obscure and well-read texts and between the Lake Poets and their eighteenth-century forebears to trace the often uncomfortable fit between the notion of "professional gentleman" and an emerging vocational identity arising alongside the economic model gradually replacing the patronage system.

Michael Wiley, Romantic Migrations: Local, National, and Transnational Dispositions

Michael Wiley, Romantic Migrations: Local, National, and Transnational Dispositions (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2008). Xvi + 209 pp. (Hdbk; ISBN: 978-0-230-60468-1).

Reviewed by
Evan Gottlieb
Oregon State University

Romantic Migrations represents a welcome addition to what I suspect may be a nascent trend in literary studies of the long eighteenth century: the development of (for lack of a better term) post-postcolonial critical approaches. Few would deny that postcolonialism has yielded tangible results, even modern critical classics: Saree Makdisi’s Romantic Imperialism, Suvir Kaul’s Poems of Nation, Anthems of Empire, and Srinivas Aravamudan’s Tropicopolitans, for example, seem likely to remain important touchstones for many years. But with the work of Said, Spivak, and Bhabha (to name three of postcolonialism’s most visible practitioners in the 1980s and 1990s) having been thoroughly digested by literary studies for quite some time now, it seems only natural that scholars might begin to wonder what might lie on the far side of a postcolonial approach to Romanticism.