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What did Wordsworth wear, and where did he walk? Who was Byron’s new mistress, and how did his marriage fare? Answers—sometimes accurate, sometimes not—were tantalizingly at the ready in the Romantic era, when confessional poetry, romans à clef, personal essays, and gossip columns offered readers exceptional access to well-known authors. But at what point did familiarity become overfamiliarity? Widely recognized as a social virtue, familiarity—a feeling of emotional closeness or comforting predictability—could also be dangerous, vulgar, or boring. In The Limits of Familiarity, Eckert persuasively argues that such concerns shaped literary production in the Romantic period. Bringing together reception studies, celebrity studies, and literary history to reveal how anxieties about familiarity shaped both Romanticism and conceptions of authorship, this book encourages us to reflect in our own fraught historical moment on the distinction between telling all and telling all too much.
British Romanticism, authors and readers, 18th century literature, reception studies, celebrity studies, literary history, William Hazlitt, Lord Byron, Lady Caroline Lamb, Charlotte Smith, William Wordsworth
Copyright © 2022 by Lindsey Eckert All rights reserved No part of this book may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without written permission from the publisher. Please contact Bucknell University Press, Hildreth-Mirza Hall, Bucknell University, Lewisburg, PA 17837-2005. The only exception to this prohibition is “fair use” as defined by U.S. copyright law.
text; 228 pages