The Two Romanticisms, and Other Essays
The Two Romanticisms, and Other Essays
William Christie
Sydney University Press
ISBN: 9781743324646

The Romantic period is the most appealing but also the most confusing period of English literature for the student. Crucially, this book distinguishes between ‘the Romantic’ as modern critics use the term and ‘the romantic’ as it was used during the period itself.

The Two Romanticisms, and Other Essays is a collection of critical essays on Romanticism and select Romantic texts, designed to help teachers and students to make sense of the period as a whole and of the poems and novels that appear most frequently on school and university curricula. Each chapter offers a self-contained reading of a different canonical work while engaging with broader themes.

Through close readings of Jane Austen, Lord Byron, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, John Keats, Mary Shelley, Percy Bysshe Shelley and William Wordsworth, Professor Christie explores the complexities of the Romantic period and offers fresh insights into pivotal Romantic texts.

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Praise for The Two Romanticisms

“Will Christie’s book will be welcomed by both scholars and students of Romantic literature, since it presents fresh and original accounts based on thorough research, and is written in an accessible and elegant way. Each chapter is framed with a helpful general point of entry which illuminates the period as a whole, followed by close examination of a range of central texts, opened up with insight and suggestiveness. The book is suffused with a depth of experience and an infectious enthusiasm which cannot fail to ignite the interest of all readers, whether novices or experienced scholars. Will Christie’s The Two Romanticisms is the ideal companion for exploring Romanticism and romanticism in England.”

R. S. White, author of John Keats: A Literary Life

“With this new volume of collected essays, Christie’s substantial critical insights into Romanticism and a suite of iconic literary works from the period will now be accessible to an even broader audience. Readers will delight in Christie’s signature talent for considering familiar texts through a refreshing interpretive lens, inviting new ways of approaching and understanding the nuanced contexts, distinctive preoccupations, ‘ways of thinking’ and idiosyncrasies of Romantic literature…”

A Prof. Jacqueline Manuel, Faculty of Education and Social Work, the University of Sydney

“The clarity of the language in which the book is written and hence its great readability is all the more admirable in that it is expertly deployed to expose and explore the ambiguities at Romanticism’s heart. The combination of breadth of interest and intense attention to detail makes this book a fascinating excursion into territory which continues to intrigue…”

Graham Tulloch FAHA, Professor of English, Flinders University

About the author

Professor William Christie is Head of the Humanities Research Centre at the Australian National University, foundation president of the Romantic Studies Association of Australasia, and a Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities.


1. Coleridge, Austen, and the Two Romanticisms
2. Wordsworth and the Language of Nature
3. Crossing Over: Samuel Taylor Coleridge and the Conversation Poems
4. ‘The burden of the mystery’: William Wordsworth’s ‘Tintern Abbey’
5. The Search for Meaning in The Rime of the Ancient Mariner
6. Interpreting the Politics of Pride and Prejudice
7. ‘Such Is Modern Fame’:The Byronic Hero from Childe Harold to Don Juan
8. Amelioration and Madness in Percy Bysshe Shelley‘s ‘Julian and Maddalo’
9. Mary Shelley‘s Frankenstein: A Critical and Cultural Heritage
10. Questing and Questioning in the ‘Ode on a Grecian Urn’
Epilogue:The Romantic Imagination
Further Reading

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