Pub DateMay 2007
Link to Publisher

Romantic Encounters: Writers, Readers and the “Library for Reading”

Melissa Frazier
Stanford University Press

Romantic Encounters draws on the works of canonical Romantic writers to show how the Romantic text apparently emerges from complicated exchanges among various reading and writing selves. The author shows that the Romantic ideal of intersubjectivity appears in a very particular light when we turn to later and lesser-known Romantic literary periodicals, above all O.I. Senkovskii’s Library for Reading. The Library for Reading is famous not for its Romanticism, but for its crass commercialization of literature. In the author’s reading, however, Romanticism and the literary marketplace produce the same destabilization of reading and writing identities.

Romantic Encounters restores to Russian literary history a writer and a work long marginalized. As the book places Senkovskii in a broader European context, it argues for a re-evaluation of the relationship of Russian to European Romanticism, and for a particular understanding of European Romanticism as a whole. Romanticism is often described as a movement valorizing sincerity, authenticity, and originality. This book argues exactly the opposite, returning subversiveness to a movement long part of the literary establishment.

About the Author

Melissa Frazier is Associate Professor of Russian Language and Literature and Hyman K. Kleinman Fellow in the Humanities at Sarah Lawrence College. She is the author of Frames of the Imagination: Gogol’s Arabesques and the Romantic Question of Genre (2000).