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Romanticism and improvisation, 1750-1850


Esterhammer, Angela (2008). Romanticism and improvisation, 1750-1850. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Abstract

During the Romantic era, especially in Italy, performers known as improvvisatori and improvvisatrici extemporised poetry in public in response to subjects requested by their audiences. This type of performance fascinated Grand Tourists from northern Europe, who reported on poetic improvisers in hundreds of travel accounts, journals, letters, and periodical articles. By uncovering historical data and interpreting literary texts, Professor Esterhammer identifies patterns in the evolving responses of English, German, French, and Russian writers to the experience of improvisation. She explores how improvisation interacts with Romantic ideas about genius, spontaneity, orality, and emotional expressiveness, and relates to evolving concepts of gender and nation. Esterhammer goes on to interpret the influence that the figure of the poetic improviser had in nineteenth-century English and European fiction. In this context, the improvvisatore casts new light on conflicts between poetic genius and socio-economic constraints, and on the evolution of the Bildungsroman.

During the Romantic era, especially in Italy, performers known as improvvisatori and improvvisatrici extemporised poetry in public in response to subjects requested by their audiences. This type of performance fascinated Grand Tourists from northern Europe, who reported on poetic improvisers in hundreds of travel accounts, journals, letters, and periodical articles. By uncovering historical data and interpreting literary texts, Professor Esterhammer identifies patterns in the evolving responses of English, German, French, and Russian writers to the experience of improvisation. She explores how improvisation interacts with Romantic ideas about genius, spontaneity, orality, and emotional expressiveness, and relates to evolving concepts of gender and nation. Esterhammer goes on to interpret the influence that the figure of the poetic improviser had in nineteenth-century English and European fiction. In this context, the improvvisatore casts new light on conflicts between poetic genius and socio-economic constraints, and on the evolution of the Bildungsroman.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Monograph
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > English Department
Dewey Decimal Classification:820 English & Old English literatures
Language:English
Date:2008
Deposited On:14 Nov 2008 13:48
Last Modified:08 May 2016 11:47
Publisher:Cambridge University Press
Series Name:Cambridge studies in Romanticism
Volume:77
Number of Pages:269
ISBN:978-0-521-89709-9
Official URL:http://www.cambridge.org/catalogue/catalogue.asp?isbn=9780521897099
Related URLs:http://opac.nebis.ch/F/?local_base=NEBIS&con_lng=GER&func=find-b&find_code=SYS&request=005661719

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