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As its founding act, Romanticism @ OSU arranged a panel proposal for the 2014 International Conference on Romanticism: “Enchanting Echoes: Folklore and Form in Romantic Ballads.” This last weekend, we made the journey to Minneapolis, despite the disastrous shutdown of Chicago airspace on Friday. Unfortunately, one of our panel members wasn’t able to make it due to the flight cancellations, and another of our panel members wasn’t able to stay after reading due to extreme illness. We were, in many ways, the panel of Last Romanticist Standing. But we had an engaged audience, and the Q+A session was especially collegial, with a lot of back-and-forth on difficult ideas rather than the more perfunctory “one and done” Q+A methods that sometimes plague a languishing session. Our heartfelt thanks go out to the friends, both new and old, who attended our session and provided such insightful feedback. We’re already looking ahead to ICR 2015!
I’m happy to announce that the panel proposal that emerged from the first meeting of Romanticism @ OSU has been accepted for the 2014 International Conference on Romanticism this coming September. With Romanticism @ OSU core members Sara Cleto, Joey Kim, and Brittany Warman, I’ll be a part of “Enchanting Echoes: Folklore and Form in Romantic Ballads.” Here’s the overall description that we submitted:
Taking seriously Wordsworth’s note that “repetition and apparent tautology are frequently beauties of the highest kind,” these papers investigate the relationship between echoes and enchantment in Romantic ballads. How did poets like Wordsworth, Shelley, and Keats imagine repetition working upon their readers, and just what is so enchanting about recurring language, form/structure, and ideas? Romantic poetry famously celebrates uniqueness, but, as Peter McDonald rightly observes, “[p]oetry is in central ways delineated by various figures of repetition.” Repetition thus emerges as a significant confluence of the most persistent questions about Romanticism. How do poets balance notions of adaptation and originality, tradition and innovation, the common and the beautiful, and so on? Echoes lead to enchanting perspectives on current exigencies of scholarship on Romantic poetry.
To do this, the panel takes echo in its broadest sense: both literally as the repetition of words and sounds and figuratively as the adaptive integration of extant stories and tropes. As Cleto and Warman argue, folkloric influences in the poetry of Keats and Wordsworth strikingly reveal the enchanting rhetoric and ritual of repetition. Kim traces the evocations of the Lucy figure across Wordsworth’s oeuvre to clarify the enchanting and therapeutic work of elegy, the latter of which Conatser picks up to articulate a poetics of confession grounded in the enchantment and repetition of the ballad form. Just as Romantic poets sought to enchant the common and traditional, this panel seeks to invigorate how we read some of the most iconic moments in Romantic poetry.
Additionally, I’d like to note that Joey Kim and I recently joined the board for the Graduate Student Caucus of the North American Society for the Study of Romanticism (NASSR). We’re looking forward to collaborating with scholars and teachers of Romanticism across the country!