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I won’t claim to fully resolve this conundrum, but I will insist that we need to look outside the narrow field of poetic or even literary collecting to understand the changing cultural role of anthologies and miscellanies—and even single-author collections of verse—in the Romantic period.
As I will argue, Romantic-era collections of poetry were not just metaphorically but also materially conditioned by the projects of botanical collecting, preservation, classification, description, and illustration of the previous century.
Editors legitimated their selection and organization of poems in collections by trading on the aesthetic paradigms and material practices of botanical science and art.
It brings together essays by many of the finest nature writers of our time.
Each essay articulates the nature of a place to which each writer feels attached.
It was spurred, as I will argue here, by dramatic changes in what we see as a distinct sphere of knowledge making—namely the collection, organization, naming, and representation of plants in the previous century. Botanical metaphors for the poetic collection have a very long history. Tropes of the bouquet, garden, and forest were regularly deployed throughout the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries to legitimate the heterogeneous content of verse and prose collections, but the field of nineteenth-century literary annuals was lush with these figures.
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This efflorescence of the botanical metaphor for collections was spurred by a vigorous debate about the purpose, audience, and content of poetic collections in the decades around 1800.Scholars of late eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century poetic collections have noted the abundance of botanical metaphors, even occasionally employing them to structure their own arguments about literary compilations.Most studies of poetic collections in Britain before the twentieth century, however, focus on a set of issues common to miscellanies and anthologies: the economics of the publishing market, changes in copyright law, canon formation, expanding readerships, and editorial practice.Critics have frequently used literary anthologies to take the pulse of the eighteenth-century book trade: printed anthologies and miscellanies proliferated throughout the period, and the forms they took responded (at least in part) to ongoing legal disputes over publishers’ rights to valuable literary property, increases in literacy and access, and changing technologies of print.Scholars agree that the form and function of the anthology shifted in the decades around 1800, but they disagree about exactly when it occurred, how it was manifested, and what provoked this change.It is now commonplace to say that the canon wars of the 1980s and early 1990s provoked changes to anthologies in the following decades.What we read in the Norton, Blackwell, or Broadview anthologies of British or American literature is not what we read thirty years ago.Even with the addition of thematic sections, anthologized literature as we know it today remains fundamentally historical, and each selection implicitly functions as a representative specimen, an illustrative example standing in for a larger authorial corpus or class of work.The justification for a literary collection based on historical representativeness—the legitimating force behind modern anthologies of English, American, or Anglophone literature—emerged in Britain around 1800.We hire well-educated and experienced professionals for your success in any discipline.They possess progressive knowledge and skills in any field of study to offer first-rate academic assistance and quick result to customers!