Representations of the Gypsy in the Romantic Period

Hardcover | October 29, 2014

bySarah Houghton-Walker

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In early eighteenth-century texts, the gypsy is frequently figured as an amusing rogue; by the Victorian period, it has begun to take on a nostalgic, romanticized form, abandoning sublimity in favour of the bucolic fantasy propagated by George Borrow and the founding members of the Gypsy LoreSociety. Representations of the Gypsy in the Romantic Period argues that, in the gap between these two situations, the figure of the gypsy is exploited by Romantic-period writers and artists, often in unexpected ways. Drawing attention to prominent writers (including Wordsworth, Austen, Clare, Cowper and Bronte) as well as those less well-known, Sarah Houghton-Walker examines representations of gypsies in literature and art from 1780-1830, alongside the contemporary socio-historical events and cultural processeswhich put pressure on those representations. She argues that, raising troubling questions by its repeated escape from the categories of enlightenment discourses which might seek to "know" or "understand" in empirical ways, the gypsy exists both within and outside of conventional English society. Thefigure of the gypsy is thus available to writers and artists to facilitate the articulation of dilemmas and anxieties taking various forms, and especially as a lens through which questions of knowledge and identity (which is often mutable, and troubling) might be focussed. .

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In early eighteenth-century texts, the gypsy is frequently figured as an amusing rogue; by the Victorian period, it has begun to take on a nostalgic, romanticized form, abandoning sublimity in favour of the bucolic fantasy propagated by George Borrow and the founding members of the Gypsy LoreSociety. Representations of the Gypsy in the...

Sarah Houghton-Walker is a Fellow of Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, where she teaches on the literature of the long eighteenth century. Her first book was on John Clare, and she is a founding co-Director of the Cambridge Centre for John Clare Studies.

other books by Sarah Houghton-Walker

John Clare's Religion
John Clare's Religion

Kobo ebook|May 6 2016

$196.78

Format:HardcoverDimensions:304 pages, 8.5 × 5.43 × 0.01 inPublished:October 29, 2014Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0198719477

ISBN - 13:9780198719472

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Table of Contents

Introduction1. Background, Histories, and Myths: the Situation of the Gypsies in the Romantic Period2. Literary Contexts: the Gypsy on the Page in the Romantic Period3. William Cowper's Gypsies4. John Clare's Gypsies5. Wandering, Wordsworth, and Gypsies6. 'Place' in Austen's Emma: Englishness, Gypsies, and Harriet Smith7. Aesthetic Theories and Literary Traditions: Accommodating the Gypsy in Art8. Industry, Idleness, and ClassConclusion: The Art of Storytelling: the Literary Gypsy on the Cusp of ChangeBibliography