Ranging across literature, theater, history, and the visual arts, this collection of essays by leading scholars in the field explores the range of places where British Romantic-period sociability transpired. The book considers how sociability was shaped by place, by the rooms, buildings, landscapes and seascapes where people gathered to converse, to eat and drink, to work and to find entertainment. At the same time, it is clear that sociability shaped place, both in the deliberate construction and configuration of venues for people to gather, and in the way such gatherings transformed how place was experienced and understood. The essays highlight literary and aesthetic experience but also range through popular entertainment and ordinary forms of labor and leisure.
Kevin Gilmartin is Professor of English at the California Institute of Technology, and has been a regular visiting professor in English at the Centre for Eighteenth-Century Studies, University of York. He works on late eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century British literature, with a particular interest in the politics of print culture and the history of print media. His most recent book is William Hazlitt: Political Essayist (2015).
Introduction Kevin Gilmartin; Part I. Print Relations: 1. Recovering the country book club Ina Ferris; 2. 'Bread and cheese and porter only being allowed': radical spaces in London, 1792-5 Jon Mee; 3. Piccadilly booksellers and conservative sociability David Fallon; Part II. Sociable Spectacle: 4. Proxy Israelites: staging ethnic violence in the ring and the pit Daniel O'Quinn; 5. Fashionable subjects: exhibition culture and the limits of sociability Paul Keen; Part III. Interior Places: 6. 'The place is not free to you': the Georgian assembly room and the ends of sociability Gillian Russell; 7. Unconventional calling: Godwin, women and visiting in the 1790s Mark Philp; Part IV. Traveling Sociability: 8. Sociability among the ruins: the Colosseum by moonlight, circa 1820 Christopher Rovee; 9. Sociability by the sea side: Margate before 1815 Harriet Guest; 10. Lower deck narratives and sociability in the British Navy, 1750-1815 Nicholas Rogers.