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Defining Movements: Romanticism across Europe

dal 14/11/2008 alle 00:00 al 15/11/2008 alle 00:00

Dove Aula VI, Dipartimento di Lingue e Letterature Straniere Università degli Studi di Bologna, Via Cartoleria, 5

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Defining Movements: Romanticism across Europe  

Friday, 14 November





Welcome & introduction:

Prof. Keir Elam (Università di Bologna) Head of the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures

Prof. Lilla Maria Crisafulli (Università di Bologna) Director, Centro Interdisciplinare di Studi Romantici

Dr Elinor Shaffer FBA (University of London) Director, British Academy Network




Part I - Medieval Studies and Romanticism



Prof. Cecilia Pietropoli (Università di Bologna)

Romantic Middle Ages: Images of Medieval Italy in 19th-century English Literature

Medieval Italy is a favourite spot of Romantic medievalism and some selected episodes of Italian history recur in a number of 19th-century novels and plays. Imagination and fiction are in some works more relevant than history and the historical background is merely ornamental, while some others look self-consciously historical, in the sense that they show awareness of the fact that the present is a consequence of the past. Works that consider history and realism more important than romance and fiction are politically oriented and aim to exploit the didactic potentiality of historical literature. We shall try to retrace the purpose of some novelists and playwrights, such as Mary Shelley, Mary Mitford and Lord Byron, by comparing their version of the selected episodes and the sources they made use of.





Prof. Edoardo Zuccato (Università IULM, Milano)

The British Romantic Reception of Petrarch: Old Allies, New Antagonists – Old Antagonists, New Allies

In Europe the Romantic era is known as the age of the revival of Dante and the decline of Petrarch. However, this is not true for England which, together with Germany, gave rise to Romanticism.

The enormous interest in Petrarch which characterized British literary culture from 1750 to 1840 should make us rethink our views of the revival of the sonnet and lyric poetry. Another point of the traditional image of Romanticism which is worth reconsidering is the relation between the two generations of Romantic poets. Their attitude towards Petrarch and the sonnet does not fit into the habitual division into elder and younger poets. Wordsworth and Byron were the heralds of anti-Petrarchism, though for different reasons. Shelley’s views were in part like Coleridge’s, in part like Hunt’s and Keats’s. These two continued the work of the poets of Sensibility, even though the direct heirs were women poets like L.E.L.


15:45-16:15: Coffee Break


Part II - Modernism and Romanticism



Prof. Massimo Bacigalupo (Università di Genova)

Wordsworthian Readings: Robert Frost vs. Ted Hughes

The New Englander Robert Frost, arguably a high modernist, and the Yorkshireman Ted Hughes, chronologically a post-modernist, can be read through Wordsworthian eyes, as chiefly concerned with man’s place in the natural world and with the revelations or intimations of the self-reflective mind. Contrary to what we would expect, the American poet follows Wordsworth’s intellectualizing bent, while Hughes seeks contact with a primitive subconscious and rebels against social convention. This throws light on the national cultures to which they belong and on the reception of Romanticism in our conflicted times.



Prof. Claudia Corti (Università di Firenze)

Romanticism via Modernism

The pioneering studies Axel’s Castle by Edmund Wilson (1931) and The Romantic Image by Frank Kermode (1957) opened the debate on the role of Romanticism in Modernist aesthetics. This debate has been carried on during the twentieth century, resulting in a re-writing of the literary and critical canon. Far from the ostracism posited at the beginning of the debate, Romanticism has been found to constitute the basis of Modernism itself. Two exemplary cases can be detected in the re-evaluation of the most controversial Romantic poet, William Blake, undertaken by two leading figures of Modernism, T. S. Eliot and James Joyce.



Book presentation

Organized by the Seminario di Teoria della Narrazione (Dipartimento di Italianistica), directed by Prof. Barnaba Maj (Bologna) with the assistance of Prof. Remo Ceserani (Bologna):


Dr Francesca Billiani (University of Manchester) Member of the British Academy Network

Culture nazionali e narrazioni straniere. Italia 1903-1943 (Florence: Le Lettere, 2007);

  -----  (ed.) Modes of Censorship and Translation: National Cultures and Diverse Media (Manchester: St Jerome, 2007)




Saturday, 15 November





British Academy Network Lecture

Prof. Lilla Maria Crisafulli

Mazzini as Byron’s Reader


10:30-10.45: Coffee Break



Responses (20 minutes each response)


Prof. Flavio Gregori (Università Ca’ Foscari, Venezia)

Romanticism and Classicism


Prof. Francesca Orestano (Università di Milano)

‘The Picturesque’ and ‘The Romantic’


Dr Michael John Kooy (University of Warwick)


Short break



Seminar discussion involving all participants



The Meeting concludes with a buffet lunch at the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures