In Romantic Interactions, Susan J. Wolfson examines how interaction with other authors—whether on the bookshelf, in the embodied company of someone else writing, or in relation to literary celebrity—shaped the work of some of the best-known (and less well-known) writers in the English language.
Working across the arc of Long Romanticism, from the 1780s to the 1840s, this lively study involves writing by women and men, in poetry and prose. Combining careful readings with sophisticated literary, historical, and cultural criticism, Wolfson reveals how various writers came to define themselves as "author." The story unfolds not only in deft textual analyses but also by provocatively placing writers in dialogue with what they were reading, with one another, and with the community of readers (and writers) their writings helped bring into being: Mary Wollstonecraft and Charlotte Smith in the Revolution-roiled 1790s; William Wordsworth and Dorothy Wordsworth in the society of the Lake District; Lord Byron, a magnet for writers everywhere, inspired, troubled, but always arrested by what he (and his scandal-ridden celebrity) represented.
This fresh, informative account of key writers, important texts, and complex cultural currents promises keen interest for students and scholars, literary critics, and cultural historians.