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Mapping Mythologies
Countercurrents in Eighteenth-Century British Poetry and Cultural History

Heather Glen
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  • Date Published: August 2015
  • availability: In stock
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781107116382


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About the Authors
  • In this groundbreaking work of revisionary literary history, Marilyn Butler traces the imagining of alternative versions of the nation in eighteenth-century Britain, both in the works of a series of well-known poets (Akenside, Thomson, Gray, Collins, Chatterton, Macpherson, Blake) and in the differing accounts of the national culture offered by eighteenth-century antiquarians and literary historians. She charts the beginnings in eighteenth-century Britain of what is now called cultural history, exploring how and why it developed, and the issues at stake. Her interest is not simply in a succession of great writers, but in the politics of a wider culture, in which writers, scholars, publishers, editors, booksellers, readers all play their parts. For more than thirty years, Marilyn Butler was a towering presence in eighteenth-century and romantic studies, and this major work is published for the first time.

    • A distinguished scholar who changed the intellectual landscape of Romantic studies here offers a provocative view of an earlier period
    • Drawing on wide-ranging reading in social and political history, in anthropology, in political theory, this is a book that challenges disciplinary boundaries
    • Sheds unexpected light on well-known texts and brings them into conjunction with less familiar writings of the period
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'This study of the 'mythologies' informing eighteenth-century British poetry is a book that Marilyn Butler was working on at the height of her powers, when she had already published major works on Maria Edgeworth, Thomas Love Peacock, Jane Austen, and Romantic writing more broadly. Had Butler managed to publish it a quarter of a century ago, surely it would be still be vigorously engaged by students of this field, just as those other books still are. Now, thanks to the skill and assiduity of Heather Glen's editorial endeavours, those same readers will be able to engage for the first time. What a rare experience they have in prospect.' James Chandler, University of Chicago

    'The book is a pleasure to read and captures Marilyn Butler's erudite, scholarly voice, always rich in charm and humour. One of the beauties of this study is that in it Butler writes at a level of generalization that articulates the tradition she has uncovered, yet always keeping the readers' senses alive to the boldness and idiosyncrasies of the writers she discusses. Mapping Mythologies will be cause for renewed interest in Butler's work as a whole and its importance to the study of the literary past.' Anne Janowitz, Emerita Professor, Queen Mary University of London

    'Mapping Mythologies is an unexpected gift from Marilyn Butler to her many admirers. Once again, we hear the fertility and originality of her ideas in a new literary history of popular antiquarianism in which she wittily and elegantly maps the provincial, socially marginal but highly influential British mythmakers of the later eighteenth century.' Deirdre Coleman, Robert Wallace Chair of English, University of Melbourne

    'Mapping Mythologies contains a vast array of critical insights, all of which are effortlessly delivered in the characteristically erudite, charming and articulate voice of Marilyn Butler.' Daniel Cook, Review of English Studies

    'Rich in knowledge, historical empathy and new angles of interpretation … essential reading.' Pamela Clemit, The Times Literary Supplement

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    Product details

    • Date Published: August 2015
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781107116382
    • length: 237 pages
    • dimensions: 235 x 159 x 17 mm
    • weight: 0.47kg
    • availability: In stock
  • Table of Contents

    Preface Heather Glen
    1. Mapping mythologies
    2. Thomson and Akenside
    3. Collins and Gray
    4. The forgers: Macpherson and Chatterton
    5. Popular antiquities
    6. Blake

  • Author

    Marilyn Butler, University of Oxford
    Marilyn Butler (1937–2014) was a prominent scholar in eighteenth-century and Romantic studies, a groundbreaking practitioner and theorist of the historicist criticism of literary texts, and pioneering scholarly editor of hitherto marginalized women writers. Her widely acclaimed publications include Maria Edgeworth: A Literary Biography (1972), Jane Austen and the War of Ideas (1975), Peacock Displayed: A Satirist in his Context (1979), Romantics, Rebels and Reactionaries: English Literature and its Background, 1760–1830 (1981), and seminal scholarly editions of works by Mary Wollstonecraft, Maria Edgeworth, Mary Shelley and Jane Austen. She was King Edward VII Professor of English Literature at the University of Cambridge from 1986 to 1993, and Rector of Exeter College, Oxford, from 1993 to 2004. Mapping Mythologies, finished in 1984, but never hitherto published, is the first volume of a never-completed larger project on literary mythologies between 1730 and 1830.

    Preface by

    Heather Glen, University of Cambridge
    Heather Glen was Professor of English Literature at the University of Cambridge until 2012, and is an Emeritus Fellow of Murray Edwards College.


    Heather Glen

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