The format of "rambling" with its implied repudiation of systematic coverage also meant that, unlike most books on Italy, she was able to exclude any account of the journey home. Instead she leaves the reader somewhat abruptly once she has reached and described Naples.
Despite the disparate nature of these letters, the book has an artistic unity, found not in its portmanteau-like literary form, but in its theme. The territory of the human heart it traces is the recovery of paradise. The travelling self is not a young man seeking lost love, not a Childe Harold, not an ennuyee, or any other Romantic persona but a middle-aged mother who has known bereavement and fears the loss of her student son.
In this role, Shelley constantly emphasises that she is only experiencing what any mother would feel; she does not underline her singularity. But the dominant self-characterisation as mother obscures, conveniently for a woman who wanted to deflect attention from herself, the fact that this mother is also a thinking woman and scholar, who has written authoritatively on Italian literature and believes that the cultural entity of the nation should have it political counterpart independent of foreign control.
This safe persona means that she can insinuate her strong views without confrontation. It also means that it is Shelley the scholarly writer who is implicitly being projected here, not Shelley the novelist or the Keepsake author. Scholarly writing was anonymous, the very opposite of the celebrity author.
In Rambles, the authorial presence is therefore both "philosophical" and deeply personal, but the personal is presented to a great degree as part of the experience of motherhood in general; this also makes it a philosophical kind of projection of motherhood. It is significant that Rambles was dedicated not to a friend like Lady Morgan with a political agenda, but to the poet Samuel Rogers.
She may have meant by this to underline her assertion in her preface that she was offering a collection of fragments, not a political dissertation; but it is a collection that has a poetic unity, which shared some characteristics of Rogers' esteemed poem on Italy. Rogers' poem Italy was based on his personal visits there but the obsessive reworkings he gave it produced a poem that was somewhat impersonal.
It was suffused with a nostalgia mediated through the poet's reading of classical poetry and medieval story. For instance, his visit to Modena recalls the story of the bride Ginevra, locked in her bridal chest on the eve of her wedding. This tale is a good example of the kind of sentimental picturesque anecdote which found its way into the annuals and keepsakes. Shelley wrote some herself and gave several of them this type of idealised Italian historical setting.
A central image however of Rogers' poem was not a prettified medieval incident, but an evocation of death. Following directly after his description of the Coliseum in Rome is a substantial section describing the funeral procession of a woman stabbed in jealousy; the gloom of the ceremony seems in harmony with the solemn surroundings:. Death, when we meet the spectre in our walks, As we did yesterday and shall to-morrow Soon grows familiar—like most other things, Seen, not observed; but in a foreign clime, Changing his shape to something new and strange Knocks at the heart.
His form and fashion here To me, I do confess, reflect a gloom, A sadness round; yet one I would not lose; Being in unison with all things else In this, this land of shadows, where we live More in past time than present, where the ground, League beyond league, like one great cemetery, Is covered o'er with mouldering monuments; And let the living wander where they will, They cannot leave the footsteps of the dead.
Concluding his poem, the poet prophesies he will return to the English winter and think about Elysium. So too Shelley had returned to England, leaving behind two dead children as well as a husband, and had spent seventeen years remembering her Elysian fields. Rambles covered three years of Shelley's life and recorded two visits to Italy.
The first was relatively brief; the party travelled down the Rhine and Moselle, stopping only briefly en route, before arriving at Lake Como, where they spent the rest of July and August. In mid-September her son and his two companions went on ahead while Mary waited in Milan for some delayed money; she then returned via Geneva, revisiting the area of Byron's Villa Diodati which had inspired Frankenstein: an opportunity to link herself to her literary progeny she did not exploit.
Her meditations on loss and death are superseded by the authorial persona she chooses to foreground: that of a mother, making her son and his needs into the centre of the travels. In its self-effacement and devotion to another, this is the opposite of a celebrity persona. She establishes her authorial persona as mother very immediately, plunging the reader in to the conclusion of family councils, as if already privy to the plans and suggestions for travel that have implicitly preceded the opening of the book.
She introduces herself as a traveller happy to accompany an undergraduate son and two friends:. I am glad to say, that our frequent discussions this spring have terminated in a manner very agreeable to every one concerned in them. My son and his two friends have decided on spending their summer vacation on the shores of the lake of Como-there to study for the degree, which they are to take next winter.
They wish me to accompany them, and I gladly consent. What could be more respectable? A middle-aged mother of University sons decides rather unusually to join them on a summer reading party, implying they all enjoy an established position in the landed and professional elite of England whose children attended Oxford or Cambridge as a matter of course. This however is already a subtle re-positioning of the truth of Shelley's precarious toehold in English society and of her son's passivity.
As her letters to Claire Clairmont show, she despaired frequently at young Percy's lack of initiative in developing his interests or social contacts even while she tried to hard on the slender allowances allowed them by her father-in-law, to provide a suitable social context for his future as a Baronet and Sussex landowner. The second paragraph introduces the autobiographical sub-text that appears and reappears throughout the Rambles, alluding only briefly to her past but powerfully invoking the association of Italy and death:. Can it, indeed, be true that I am about to revisit Italy?
How many years are gone since I quitted that country! There I left the mortal remains of those beloved—my husband and my children, whose loss changed my whole existence, substituting, for happy peace and the interchange of deep-rooted affections, years of deep-rooted solitude, and a hard struggle with the world; which only now, as my son is growing up, is brightening into a better day The name of Italy has magic in its very syllables.
The hope of seeing it again recalls vividly to my memory that time, when misfortune seemed an empty word, and my habitation on earth a secure abode, which no evil could shake. Graves have opened in my path since then; and instead of the cheerfulness of the living, I have dwelt among the early tombs of those I loved. Now a new generation has sprung up; and at the name of Italy, I grow young again in their enjoyments, and gladly prepare to share them.
But notice how few details there are of this loss. The reader ignorant of Shelley's life could read this in fairly conventional terms of the grieving woman. After this introduction to the "landscape of the human heart", the rest of the letters describing the journey to Como contain little personal reflection; Shelley's reticence contributes to the charm of her book and lend gravity to her few personal allusions when she does make them.
The letters concentrate instead on comments on the means of travel, fellow-passengers, landscapes or townscapes. At Baden-Baden, the bereaved woman reappears: suddenly she longs to stay there instead of facing the scene of her memories and the possibility that her son's plans to sail on Lake Como, renowned for its storms and accidents, will tempt fate.
At Chur, the author literally finds again her Italian voice; to the amazement of the young men, her Italian is fluent and practical, she is able to make all the travel arrangements with despatch, and clearly feels at home. Soon the scenery changes from the bleak, northern face of the Alps to "ever-vernal" Italy, and "Thus The rest of Part I describes their daily life and a few excursions, reflects on the Italian character, opera and literature, quietly notes her victory over fear of sailing on the Lake, and records, quoting from Dante's Paradiso, moments of rapturous communion with the evening calm of the lake.
Works VIII, Shelley makes light in her published account of the hideous anxiety of waiting by herself in Milan for her delayed remittance, dwelling instead on her sight-seeing and on the need for the Italians' need for independence from Austrian control, just as her mother's letters to Imlay in the published version of Letters from Norway provide only a slight glimpse of all her tormented feelings, evincing instead a determination to immerse herself in the natural scenery and her social investigations.
Travelling home through Switzerland prompts more self-revelation. She must resume her mantle of middle-age and loneliness. But her allusions to her previous life in Geneva are again all the more powerful for being so distilled; a reader unaware of her history would have a lot to do to fill in the details of her allusions, and she declines the opportunity to identify herself as "the author of Frankenstein " which her visit to the scenes where she conceived the story might have prompted.
In fact she may have considered that it was superfluous to repeat her account of the novel's genesis which she had supplied in a preface for the edition; but a celebrity author of the Mrs. Sherbourne type would not have hesitated to remind her readership of this association. Instead she says reflectively and generalisingly as "an aged person":. While yet very young, I had reached the position of an aged person, driven back on memory for companionship with the beloved; and now I looked on the inanimate objects that had surrounded me, which survived, the same in aspect as then , to feel that all my life since was but an unreal phantasmagoria—the shades that gathered around there were the realities—the substance and truth of the soul's life, which I shall, I trust, hereafter rejoin.
Such interior landscapes implicitly undercut the whole genre of philosophical travel-writing's emphasis on external sites and their historical and cultural associations, suggesting that a journey or a place only really attains meaning in relation to our personal biography. Yet Part I swiftly changes key again, reverting to conventional subject matter: the conveniences and otherwise of a French diligence, and the new vulgarity of French manners which are compared with Frances Trollope's account of American behaviour.
Part I concludes implicitly with Shelley's role a mother, since the last letter is an account written by one of her son's companions of their difficult passage over the Alps on leaving Milan. It is a narrative underlining the youthful resilience her journey has invoked. Part I of the Rambles may thus be seen as a prelude which gave Shelley a glimpse of paradise regained, but it was of short duration. In Paris on the way home she learnt that her friend the widower Aubrey Beauclerk had in her absence married her friend and financial dependent Rosa Robinson. This was the second time that she had warmed toward him and he had married someone else.
The blow compounded her misery in returning to cold and lonely England, she fretted for Italian skies, and bewailed the frustrations of trying to motivate her son. Journals This was a season in hell. But before she could return to the south, she must pass through Purgatory. In the summer of she was finally able to resume her travels, again accompanied by Percy and two different friends of his, one of whom, the musician Henry Pearson, joined them in Dresden.
Her route to Italy therefore took her to new German scenes: to Bad Kissengen via Cologne and Frankfurt to take the waters; to Saxony, including the Wartburg and its associations with Luther, and Weimar with reminders of Goethe; and a diversion to Berlin before settling for a month in Dresden.
Shelley tried to enjoy this part of her journey, but she never felt at home in Germany. She had a reading but not a speaking knowledge of German so she had no "voice" there; her poor health and an unexpected heat-wave in Dresden also debilitated her. She wrote to Claire that she would not commit her disappointment to print, but her verdict even from beautiful Dresden was that "I cannot exercise my imagination about the Germans Part II of Rambles which covers this second set of travels elides completely the interval back in London and simply resumes a letter-form narrative, giving no details at all of the change of personnel, or the background to going abroad again.
She alludes briefly to various initial mishaps with money and luggage and then declares her credo, a determination to look forward to new experiences:. We read, to gather thought and knowledge; travelling is a book of the Creator's own writing, and imparts sublimer wisdom than the printed words of man. This manifesto of the pleasures and solace to be found in new places and new scenery shows herself truly to be her mother's daughter.
The deflection from mentioning her worries and health to declare her determination to embrace the journey ahead, though less dramatic than the famous passage in Letters from Norway when Wollstonecraft, reflecting on happier times, suddenly beckons the reader "Now—but let me talk of something else—will you go with me to the cascade?
April 27, 2010
Shelley dutifully writes of what she found interesting in Germany and invokes the idea of the country: a land of forests and heroes, according to Tacitus; or of the spiritual freedom imparted by Luther's Reformation—both familiar tropes. However her heart is never really in this section of the book.
The image that stands out is when she discovers a grass-hopper in the folds of her dress who had nestled there when she spent a few days in a country hamlet. She carelessly tossed it out of the window in hot and dusty Dresden and spent the night regretting her heedlessness. Finding it had come back through the window in the morning, she gave it water and eventually released it on the riverbank. Her identification with this fragile insect out of its element is palpable, and the most striking episode in the narrative in Germany. The only other lift to her spirits before arriving in Italy came as she travelled toward and through Austria.
Writing up her memories of this landscape back in London, this part of her book became an essay celebrating the modern form of religious struggle—the cause of secular nationalism and its "saint", the Tyrolese leader Andreas Hofer, who had led resistance to Napoleon: "these valleys are filled with his name, and it were sacrilege to traverse them without commemorating his glory and lamenting his downfall". Works VIII, Landscape here becomes a cultural artefact "seen" not through the lens of geological knowledge, or of a sense, so pervasive in her mother's Letters from Norway, of a progressive domination by man of the natural environment, but through contemporary history and romantic patriotism.
This coexistence of the historically epic and the personally idyllic has its counterpart in textual design and literary form: There is a parallel between the vignette and the anecdote. Many books were illustrated with frontispieces, half-title illustrations, and chapter heading vignettes. The format of the annuals was image-driven: an engraved picture would be offered to a writer as a theme around which a short story or poem would be written.
Shelley's first story for the Keepsake was 'The Lake of Albano' , built around a water-colour by Turner. Volumes of poetry were particularly likely to be illustrated. Only when Rogers' Italy was published with the vignettes and full-page illustrations by Turner and Stothard in did it really become a "hit".
Travel books were not commonly illustrated; instead the writer had to rely on her or his skill in constructing word-pictures, either passages of scenic description or the narration of a telling anecdote. Shelley had an acute eye; she had from a child been taken to see exhibited pictures and her father knew Turner. Her scenic descriptions of natural landscape are often very successful.
Additionally, in order to describe her Italian experiences better, she twice refers her reader to the Turner vignettes of Rogers' poem: once to conjure up the atmosphere of Venice, and once in connection with the last episode in the book, the excursion to Amalfi. The point about a vignette, especially in the hands of a master like Turner, was that it could distil and concentrate an intense historical moment or place redolent with associations without diluting it. The experience may be miniaturised, but it does not thereby diminish it. Thus Turner's vignette of Napoleon crossing the Alps has all the charisma we associate with large-scale history paintings like the famous image by David, portraying the general as heroic conqueror.
In a similar way, Shelley's account of the Tyrolean uprising conjures up events on a grand historic scale up within the confines of a relatively short letter and the episodic format of the epistolary travel book. This chapter distils Shelley's passionate identification with the Tyrolese and gives enough essential historical information to illuminate her subject.
This kind of topic is not the only one dealt with in a book of episodic travels, any more than a vignette can dominate physically the page on which it appears. The historical is succeeded by the contemporaneous and the personal, just as a jewel-like vignette will be followed by several unillustrated pages. But the sum total of the reading experience will be an anthology of moods, details, information, impressions, held together and sustained by the authorial presence. As Shelley intended, her book acts as personal journey through her interior landscape, but this landscape includes thought, and political opinion informed by historical knowledge, making it both an exercise in philosophical travel as well as a memoir.
After the Tyrol, the process of leaving the "abrupt, gloomy, sublime north" Works VIII, for the delicious joy of Italy is welcomed with classical allusions from herself and her student companions. Shelley subtly reminds the reader that the party includes gentlemen with the classical education to match, and that she is present in a role of adult, maternal chaperone. En route to Venice along the Brenta, however, grief makes its first appearance in the second set of rambles. In Shelley and her husband had travelled that way, nursing their dying daughter.
But Shelley generalises rather than specifies her grief as a sorrow proper to and peculiar to a mother: "I was agitated again by emotions—by passions —and those the deepest a woman's heart can harbour—a dread to see her child even at that instant expire—which then occupied me". Works VIII, She then aligns this universal emotion with four writers who have observed how under intense emotion the details of one's physical surroundings become deeply etched on the suffering mind: Shakespeare, Wordsworth, Coleridge and Holcroft.
This is a pantheon which assimilates three personal friends of her father's circle to the level of England's greatest writer, and by implication suggests that a mother's grief is a species of sublime. From this point, most of Shelley's letters become elegant essays of cultural criticism, i. The thinking and knowledgeable woman predominates over personal memory of Venice, Florence or Rome. Works VIII, Significantly, she is resolutely non-biographical; the pictures that move her most are those depicting the Virgin, that is to say, a mother.
She also persisted, against received opinion, in admiring Titian's Pieta portraying Mary Magdalen's sickening terror when she finds the body of Christ gone, which was not then held to be a masterpiece. Her empathy with this depiction of loss tells its own story in spite of her determination to welcome the new. In fact, although her retrospective account of this part of the trip suggests a calm and considered mood, her situation was not running smoothly.
She was constantly worried about money; every outing a pleasure had to be carefully managed. Unlike Fanny Trollope, she could not relax on outings and eat ices at will. Pearson became an awkward companion and left them at Florence; her health was bad; and the snubs she encountered from Lord and Lady Holland of the British embassy in Florence brought home forcefully to her that she no longer cared to placate British proprieties.
She alludes neither to her contemporary difficulties—though they fill her letters to Claire Clairmont written during these visits—nor to her memories. As she had declared in her credo, she wanted to dwell on new ideas, and at this time she was looking at paintings in Florence and Rome through the eyes of the French art critic Rio and his wife, whom she had met in London, seen in Dresden and now accompanied around galleries in Rome.
What is new for Shelley in revisiting Venice, Florence and Rome is her consistent study of art. Since to contemporary nationalists the nation was constituted by its cultural achievements, it is logical in compiling her book that after her summary of her new responses to Florentine art she should insert Gatteschi's essay on the Carbonari.
This is followed by her own comments on the current political and social position of Tuscany, and a letter summarising the present state of literature and linguistic debate in Italy, which drew on the extensive reading she had done for the volumes of Italian lives she had written for Lardner.
In the next five letters of Part II, recounting her Roman experiences, it is the philosophic traveller who continues to predominate, and the personal sub-text is resolutely pared down. Compared with Trollope's growing sense of outrage at Italian mis-government, Shelley's support for change is muted by her historical perspective. Like Rogers' poem, where the sequence of the funeral followed the section on the Coliseum, she alludes to her losses in the same breath with these ancient ruins:.
Besides all that Rome itself affords of delight to the eye and imagination, I revisit it as the bourne of a pious pilgrimage. The treasures of my youth lie buried there. The sky is bright—the air impregnated with the soft odours of spring —we take our books and wile away the morning hours among the ruins of the Baths of Caracalla, or the Coliseum. The autobiographical sub-text is once again very distilled and like all distillations, powerful. Her "philosophic" topics include a letter devoted to Raphael and other religious art, one to the music and ceremonies of Holy Week, where she is sympathetic to their imaginative appeal to the worshippers, and one to a discussion of the Papal government's handling of the cholera epidemic, which lacks the bite of Trollope's strictures.
Her belief that the improvement of "just laws and an upright administration" is needed is muted by her historical awareness that there have been repeated calls for reform since Dante's era. It is in the final two letters that Shelley returns to the style of a travelogue of daily sights and excursions and allows her delight in Naples and associated visits free expression. Her determination to look forward is rewarded by an enjoyment of Naples far surpassing her previous, winter visits.
Now Paradise has been regained, a paradise not so much like the one described not by Dante or Milton, but invoked by Tasso or Ariosto in their descriptions of earthly delight. She is even tranquil at her son's sailing excursions, presided over by a conscientious young sailor. In contrast with Trollope's anger at being seen as a rich traveller for to whom the locals must defer, she refracts her sympathy for the hard-working peasants through a belief that the benevolent climate makes suffering more bearable. Visits to Capri, Pompey, Amalfi, Ravello are made; and returning from the latter she feels that their rented lodgings have become home.
Echoing Milton, when he described the earth as "this pendent world, in bigness as a star of smallest magnitude close by the moon" Paradise Lost , II, , she concludes her book with this vision of the earthly paradise:. It is as if, completing the book in familiar London with all its troubles and ill-health she could not bear to relate the expulsion from this second taste of bliss, and she leaves herself and the reader there in her spiritual home as if it had translated itself into permanence.
Her book has shown the reader glimpses of her own private landscape alongside the "philosophical" travel, and in concluding it is the personal that is allowed to dominate. Yet this self-revelation has been discreet and very distilled—almost classical in its restraint, the opposite of the path taken by the celebrity author mode of writing where the personal flavour if stimulating is also relentless. Like her mother's Letters from Norway, her book succeeds in blending the subjective and the philosophical.
It too conveys a "sensitive, imaginative, suffering" self, but the full extent of this suffering is seen only revealed in her letters and journal written at the same time as Rambles. Like her mother's book, Shelley's conveyed an "inexpressible charm" and it was one of her best received books.
This is testimony to Shelley's enormous powers of literary determination in wresting her material into published form and disciplining very severely the amount of herself she was willing to reveal. In this she was truly her mother's daughter. Letters from Norway represents a tremendous, and ultimately successful attempt to move outward from her misery over Imlay; to be comforted and inspired by the majestic scenery or the simplicity of Scandinavian small-holders, to connect with another sense of life.
Likewise Shelley has wrought gold from her alloyed life, but her persona is quieter, less intrepid than her mother's and her allusions to sorrow more generalised. Although her mother's book alluded to ill-health, its very subject matter of little-visited corner of Europe is testament to her intrepidity, and she is able to record her reinvigoration; with hindsight, we know that Shelley's book was written under the shadow of the brain tumour from which she probably died in her early fifties.
Often commenting wryly on her experience of taking the sure at the German spa of Kissingen, she makes light of her illness, though her text portrays her frequently being unable to take part in the youthful excursions of her son and his friends. Without the self-pity of the invalid or the self-dramatisation characteristic of the celebrity writer, she has quietly reflected on the poignant tragedy of her life and offered the reader a self-portrait without fuss or fanfare.
In conclusion I would like to suggest a way in which we can regard Rambles in relation to English Romanticism. Consideration of women's writing has extended the conventional periodisation of Romanticism into the s, but it is usually still argued that the s are important for the writing careers of the first Victorians: Gaskell, Thackeray, Dickens, and the Brontes.
How does "late romanticism" relate to "early Victorianism"? How—if we need these labels and schematic periodisations—can we do justice to a variety of writers as well as reintegrate women into our understanding of the literary profession? I believe the work of the American comparatist Virgil Nemoianu, though written without explicit attention to women writers, let alone feminist literary revisionism, nonetheless offers some useful ideas.
In The Taming of Romanticism: European Literature in the Age of Biedermeier , he argues that the continental label of "Biedermeier" can be extended to describe the literature and culture of Britain and France between and , in addition to its more normal usage with reference to Germany and Central Europe. Nemoianu takes as a starting point of his definition of Romanticism that of Murray Abrams, summarising it as "The possible-impossible expansion of the self to a seamless identification with the universe".
It accepts separation rather than integration: the separation from universalism into different national schools, for instance; the distinction between nature and culture, and between reason and imagination. Fragmentation means acceptance of loss and disappointment, not the glimpses of an impossible totality.
Absolute love makes way for "the glorification of family affection and domestic peace". Projects for regenerative political and social change have to accept defeat and limitation as inherent to the process. Applying this specifically to England, Nemoianu draws a line between the "high romantics"—the s of the Lyrical Ballads, Blake, Gothic novels, Paine and Godwin's radical politics, Southey's ballads and shorter epics, the oeuvre of P. Shelley, the Scott of the ballads and Scottish songs, Keats's Endymion, and Byron's Childe Harold- -and the period after , when there is a withdrawal from the absolutist paradigm to "peaceful zones of intellectual activity".
There follows first a transitional stage: the later, ironic poems of Byron; Keat's realisation that paradise is never going to be reached; Wordsworth's revisions to The Prelude; the political conservatism of Coleridge, Wordsworth and Shelley.
By the s, writers are taming romanticism to the practical and domestic, the social and intimate. For Nemoianu, Charles Lamb is the quintessential Biedermeier writer, whose literary criticism offers a positive evaluation of romantic writing while toning down its excesses, while his essays offer a deliberate miniaturisation of conflicts between self and infinitude. Meanwhile, Scott's historical novels move romanticism acceptably into the parlour.
The boom in travel writing signals an armchair reduction of the romantic quest. Nemoianu's argument is a subtle one, worked out with detailed parallels between comparable German developments. Myopically, however, in spite of noting the emphasis on domestic affection and intimacy, which Anne Mellor and Stuart Curran have both seen as characteristic of female romanticism, Nemoianu does not broaden his sights to look at women alongside men.
Nonetheless, the foregoing suggests how readily Shelley's oeuvre would fit into a category of English Biedermeier. Indeed, the circumstances of her family life already suggest the beginning of this "taming of romanticism, as her father Godwin began to accept the idea that publishing children's books might serve as a quieter, more feasible way of educating the new generation than the Utopian vision of Political Justice. Tellingly, it is Godwin who commissions from Charles and Mary Lamb the Tales from Shakespeare , that reduction of the great romantic cultural icon to children's presumed capacities.
Emily Sunstein's biography traces Shelley's path from "Romance" to "Reality". Anne Mellor never uses the term "taming" as such but she sees as a major characteristic of Shelley's fiction a critique of male egotism, and its advocacy in contrast of "an ethic of care". She also discerns in Frankenstein a mistrust of the heroic revolutionary project, which devoured its own children. But what I find particularly pertinent in Nemoianu's characterisation of Biedermeier is his idea of the high romantic projects coexisting with disappointment or reversal; with epic aspiration nestling alongside quotidian contentment.
For it is this pluralism of mood which above all characterises the Rambles : the celebration of the Tyrolean struggle follows on from the stultifying heat of Dresden where a released grasshopper carries symbolic weight; the sublimity of ancient Roman ruins is a backdrop for a family picnic in which a reminder of private grief is included. The personal and monumental coexist, with neither displacing the other.
The framework of "English Biedermeier" to characterise writing in the s to the s by men and women might well prove fruitful for "placing" other women: Mary Howitt, who with her husband William combined translation of and critical commentary on German and Scandinavian literature, with writing for children; or Mary Cowden Clarke, nee Novello, who in another marital partnership with Charles Cowden Clarke, son of Keat's schoolmaster, followed Charles and Mary Lamb by writing children's versions of an iconic writer, Chaucer, and composed numerous children's books alongside the literary work of scholarly editions and a concordance of Shakespeare; or Anna Jameson, who wrote for the "Keepsake" type of female audience, moved on to interpret German Beidermeier culture to a British audience, and then matured into a scholar of art history.
Beidermeier culture could include the novels of Mrs. Far from being a trough between the peaks of Romanticism and Victorianism, the period is a varied and important chapter in English culture. The recent attention given to Shelley opens just one door into this period, which awaits deeper investigation in spite of the advances that have been made. The idea of Biedermeier culture might help to open other doors, and frame new vistas in assessing writing by men and women, as well as exploring aspects of the visual, musical and theatrical culture of these decades, and its architecture, design, and domestic decoration.
London: William Pickering, vol. II, p. The title page of the first edition read Letters written during a short residence in Sweden, Norway, and Denmark. For this essay, I shall follow Shelley in calling it Letters from Norway. I must express here my appreciation to my colleague Nora Crook, whose invitation to contribute a paper on Shelley's Rambles at her Bicentenary Conference at Anglia Polytechnic University, Cambridge 'Mary Shelley: Peers, Parents, Progeny' th September was the genesis and inspiration for this paper.
I am extremely grateful to all the participants at the conference for a stimulating discussion. Audrey A. Fisch, Anne K. Mellor, Esther H. Schor New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, , which also begins with Shelley's review of Villani, came to my attention after I had completed the first draft of this essay. Schor is also interested in Shelley's construction of the self, the relationship of Rambles to Letters from Norway, and of both texts to Enlightenment and mid-Victorian discourses of anthropology, but from within a different if often complementary emphasis on textual analysis.
As a literature student turned intellectual historian, trained originally in the history of science, I am however unhappy with her assertion that Shelley "outstrips her Enlightenment paradigm to anticipate the analytic methods of twentieth-century anthropology", which, perhaps unintentionally, suggests a linear development in the "progress" of scientific discourse that can therefore be "anticipated", and that writers are the more valuable to us because of the way they might approximate ourselves; e.
Instead of looking for anticipations, more historically, we can suggest Shelley may well have derived this sympathetic interest in national difference from the books we know she read, written by members of the Coppet circle. The danger of drawing comparisons forward into the twentieth century is that this overemphasises the search for foremothers, and we blur our own differences from them.
Historical discourses then have a tendency to collapse into our own current languages the more affinities that are 'found'. I am more comfortable with Schor's endeavour to show that British Romanticism engendered a variety of egotisms, and that what characterised Shelley's self-presentation is a two-fold sympathy, one of "emotional accord" as well as "political inclination".
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What I characterise as Shelley's refusal to play the celebrity card and invest her book with her own egotism, is for Schor a hall-mark of her desire to direct her reader toward the plight of the Italian people and their hopes for political emancipation: "Instead of exploiting description to portray her own sensibility, Shelley assimilates description to the discourse of companionship".
See also my introduction to Wollstonecraft's Daughters: Womanhood in England and France, Manchester: Manchester University Press, and references there, for women and philosophical travel. Janet Todd and Marilyn Butler, 8 vols. Wollstonecraft, Letters from Norway, rpt. VI, p. Mary Favret, Romantic Correspondence: Women, Politics and the Fiction of Letters Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, offers a stimulating reconsideration of the rhetorical use of letters in the revolutionary era by Wollstonecraft and by Helen Maria Williams, insisting that the "interplay between the feeling woman and the acute thinker" in Wollstonecraft's book demands these two aspects of her literary persona be considered together, not separately, forcing us to reconsider in what way Wollstonecraft's letters can be characterised as "womanly correspondence".
Her treatment is informed by Nancy Chodorov's psycho-analytical approach. Moskal does not draw on the Enlightenment discourse of philosophical travel; her concern is to rescue the genre of travel writing from being seen simply as a quarry for Romantic writers' imagery, so that it can be seen as "formally central and thematically integrated into the literary and cultural world of the British Romantic period. Emily W. Betty T. Bennett, 3 vols.
II, 89n; hereafter abbreviated as Letters. London, Richard C. Paula R. Feldman and Theresa M. Clara Thomas, Love and Work Enough. Shelley first met Anna Jameson in at Lady Morgan's house. She had told the latter she had long wanted to meet her; see Letters III, London, vol. Helen Heineman, Mrs. Trollope makes this philosophical intention explicit in her preface to Domestic Manners of the Americans: "The United States of America contain a considerable variety of interesting objects in most branches of natural science, besides much that is new, a good deal that is beautiful, and some things which are wonderful.
Nevertheless, as it is the moral and religious condition of the people which, beyond anything, demands the attention of the philosophical enquirer , the author would consider her work as completely successful, could she but awaken a more general interest in this subject". Van Thal London: Folio Society, n. Heineman also argues that Trollope substituted her original preface for one in which was opportunistically linked to Reform Act agitation; e. Trollope comments "the chief object she has in view is to encourage her countrymen to hold fast by a constitution that ensures all the blessings which flow from established habits and solid principles.
If they forego these, they will incur the fearful risk of breaking up their repose by introducing the jarring tumult and universal degradation which invariably follow the wild scheme of placing all the power of the state in the hands of the populace". Trollope was making a genuine point, surely, as well as a topical one. Similarly her preface to the revised edition emphasised the topicality of her comments on slavery, given the recent agitation in Great Britain to abolish it altogether in British possessions.
This too was a good marketing strategy, but does not mean her abhorrence of slavery was any the less sincere. A Visit to Italy by Mrs.
Trollope, 2 vols. London, II, ; hereafter abbreviated as A Visit. However, despite her success in sounding fresh and engaging about a familiar place, the book did not attract very admiring notices; reviewers liked the more caustic Mrs. Trollope than the enthusiastic and sympathetic one. I am very grateful to my colleague Rick Allen for making this point and prompting me to enlarge on Shelley's reasons for shunning the "celebrity author" strategy. Shelley and before his death and that of her children, betrays a very different tendency to project herself as an eccentric and improvident young traveller on a youthful escapade and is full of her opinions and negative reactions to new scenes; much more a "celebrity author" production in the making.
Soon I Will Be Invincible
The numbers are daunting and might discourage some prospective purchasers. After all, there is little chance that many collectors could hope to fill a significant majority of the spaces in the Masterwork album. But the album does offer a realistic challenge. There still are tens of thousands of stamps that sell for pennies. Collectors can spend hours at shows or in shops filling spaces individually. Another approach is to purchase large packets to enjoy at home. If this avenue is taken, the cost-effective approach is to purchase single-country packets, rather than worldwide groupings.
In the long run, buying the largest packets affordable also makes economic sense. Whatever the approach, an album with , spaces offers unlimited collecting opportunities. The pages are housed in brown vinyl. Screwpost binders have gold-color letters. Further information can be obtained from local dealers or from H. From France. France enjoys a prominent place in the stamp world. The beauty of the nation's issues and its sensible philatelic program are instrumental in maintaining that interest. Since the first issue in , France has released more than 2, stamps.
Approximately 50 stamps are released each year. The topics are worthy and the designs are superior to those of most nations. Most stamps are issued to meet ordinary postage rates in France, so they also are affordable for collectors. The first major set for was released Feb. Six citizens selected for honors in the field of medicine were Charles Riehet, who won the Nobel Prize for medicine in ; Alexandre Yersin, discoverer of the plague bacillus; Eugene Jamot, who was instrumental in combating sleeping sickness; Jean Rostand, a leader in the field of genetics; the immunologist Bernard Halpern and the biologist Jacques Monod.
Four more stamps were issued in March. Redon, in western France, was selected for a single stamp in the tourism series. Thiers, ''the cutlery capital of France,'' also was highlighted on a single value. Another key issue released in March salutes Philexfrance '89, the international stamp show scheduled for Paris in France and many other nations are expected to produce a bevy of attractive ''Philex'' stamps.
Please upgrade your browser. See next articles. View page in TimesMachine. Worldwide Album The number of collectors attempting to build a worldwide collection has diminished as the number of annual issues has increased. Newsletter Sign Up Continue reading the main story Please verify you're not a robot by clicking the box. Invalid email address. Please re-enter. You must select a newsletter to subscribe to. Sign Up. You will receive emails containing news content , updates and promotions from The New York Times. You may opt-out at any time.
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