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Horror and Melancholia in Romantic Greece: British Reviews of John Keats’s Lamia and John Polidori’s The Vampyre.

Oliver, S (2013) 'Horror and Melancholia in Romantic Greece: British Reviews of John Keats’s Lamia and John Polidori’s The Vampyre.' In: Bonifas, G and Monacelli, M, (eds.) Southern Horrors: Northern Visions of the Mediterranean World. Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 201 - 211. ISBN 9781443850308, 1443850306

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Abstract

Chapter abstract: The treatment by British periodicals in the early 19th century of literature about southern Europe raises questions about the agency of monstrosity and horror. For example, how and to what purpose did the review press use macabre imagery to manipulate public reading habits and tastes? In what ways did reviewers shape the affect and agency of literature about Greece, in particular, that employed grotesque or supernatural themes? This chapter focuses on a poem and story, each of which turns upon events occurring along the maritime road between Athens and Corinth: John Polidori’s 1819 novella The Vampyre and John Keats’s 1820 poem “Lamia.” The chapter argues that the review press responded to imagery of infection, sickness, death, and cultural southernness in those works by contending that literary sensationalism eroded readers' self control through a form of intellectual vampirism. Book Abstract: Rather than focus on the attraction exerted by the Mediterranean South on Northerners in search of health, pleasure, leisure and culture, the contributors to this book choose to bring out its less enticing aspects and the repugnance these induced in northern Europeans over four centuries, through a series of sixteen essays covering a geographical area stretching from Portugal to Turkey and Lebanon, from the Balkans to Egypt, and embracing several cultures, two religious faiths and very diverse populations. contributions centre around the manner in which British, German (and American) travellers, tourists, writers, thinkers, all members of Protestant modernizing nations rapidly rising in political and economic power reacted to their physical, or merely intellectual, encounter with a Mediterranean world whose pure light, warm sunshine and marvellous scenery could not make them overlook the fact that the glories of the classical past were now "set in the midst of a sordid present" (George Eliot in Middlemarch). Susan Oliver's chapter explores how the use of vampire motifs

Item Type: Book Section
Uncontrolled Keywords: History, John Keats, Lamia, Periodicals, Reviews, Vampirism, John Polidori, Vampyre, Greece, Italy, Gothic, 19th Century literature, Romanticism
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General)
P Language and Literature > PR English literature
Divisions: Faculty of Humanities > Literature, Film, and Theatre Studies, Department of
Depositing User: Susan Oliver
Date Deposited: 11 Jun 2013 14:07
Last Modified: 17 Aug 2017 17:59
URI: http://repository.essex.ac.uk/id/eprint/6877

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