Troy J. Bassett. The Rise and Fall of the Victorian Three-Volume Novel.

From its obscure beginnings as “one publisher’s calculated gamble” in 1821 to its becoming the format most favored by women authors (96), the Victorian three-volume novel was central to how books were written, marketed, and consumed from the 1840s until the end of the century. The first study to provide a comprehensive examination of the form “as a literary and economic product” (12), Bassett’s rich history takes us from its inception to demise through scrutiny of the organizations that published, circulated, and, ultimately, rejected it. Beyond giving a general economic and cultural history of the format, the book addresses gaps in previous scholarship relating to the form’s financial viability, its longevity, and the complex reasons behind its decline in the 1890s. 

Despoix, Philippe, and Jillian Tomm, eds. Raymond Klibansky and the Warburg Library Network: Intellectual Peregrinations from Hamburg to London and Montreal.

This collaborative book uses Raymond Klibansky as a window through which the reader can become acquainted with the agents and circumstances the philosopher encountered and navigated throughout his life. Although the book demonsrates how Klibansky was the result of his context, it is also clear that his intellectual journey, his philosophical and philological enterprises, and his rigorous commitment to knowledge changed the intellectual landscapes of Art History, Medieval Studies, and Philosophy. The title accurately depicts the focus of the book; a discussion of Klibansky that does not acknowledge the network surrounding the Warburg Library is not possible, just as an attempt to revise the history of The Warburg Institute without mention of Klibansky’s contributions would be unimaginable.

Introducing Early Editions: Conversations with Emerging Researchers

In the absence of in-person conferences and networking opportunities due to COVID-19, SHARP News is pleased to present a new feature, Early Editions: Conversations with Emerging Researchers. Early Editions pairs an emerging researcher with an established SHARPist with similar interests and flips the script: through informal dialogue, the established scholar introduces the work and interests of the early-career researcher to the broader SHARP community. Our first conversation is between Joe Saunders, PhD student at the University of York, and Ian Gadd, Professor in English Literature at Bath Spa University.

Robert Mayer. Walter Scott and Fame. Authors and Readers in the Romantic Age

Professor Mayer’s book is an insightful, eye-opening exploration of the emergence of a new type of literary celebrity at the beginning of the nineteenth century based on close readings of Walter Scott’s correspondence. Considered by Byron himself as “the first man of his time,” Scott is an ideal case study due to the immense popularity he enjoyed during his lifetime as a result of his poetic and novelistic output, especially the Waverley cycle. Beautifully contextualized through comparisons with predecessors such as Pope and Johnson, contemporaries such as Wordsworth, Southey, and Byron, and successors such as Dickens, Hardy, and Hemingway, this study sheds considerable light on the evolution of literary celebrity in general and on the brand of celebrity that Walter Scott embodied in the public consciousness of his time in particular.

Treharne, Elaine and Greg Walker, eds. Textual Distortion

In the introduction to Textual Distortion, a volume of essays published as part of the English Association’s “Essays and Studies” series, Elaine Treharne notes that the process of distortion “remains resolutely associated with the undesirable, the lost or the deceptive” (1). In response to this primarily negative view of distortion, the nine essays that Treharne and her co-editor, Greg Walker, have assembled in this collection document the “varied, dynamic and often positive role of distortion in the transmission and reception of texts” (5). Many of the essays approach distortion from a bibliographic or book-historical perspective, examining the distorting effects of various processes of textual transmission, such as scribal intervention, photo-facsimile reproduction, and digital manipulation. Other essays treat distortion as a mediating factor in the transmission of historical and literary discourse.