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The Visual and Verbal Sketch in British Romanticism

The Visual and Verbal Sketch in British Romanticism

Richard C. Sha

288 pages | 6 x 9 | 21 illus.
Cloth 1997 | ISBN 9780812234206 | $79.95s | Outside the Americas £64.00
Ebook 2016 | ISBN 9781512807363 | Buy from Combined Academic Publishers £64.00
An Anniversary Collection volume

"Sha brings to life a neglected sphere of activity in this period and he moves skillfully between art history and literary criticism."—Times Literary Supplement

"A riveting literary/art historical account of an under-analyzed aspect of British culture. . . . It is written in an approachable, elegant, lucid style that invites the reader's interest."—Marlon Ross, University of Michigan

"A learned book which has unearthed a large amount of intriguing material, all of which relates to an expanded definition of the sketch during the English romantic period."—Review of English Studies

"Sha writes with enthusiasm and excitement, and with a shrewd eye for the well-taken point. He is convincing, intelligent, and fair."—Byron Journal

With their broken lines and hasty brushwork, sketches acquired enormous ideological and aesthetic power during the Romantic period in England. Whether publicly displayed or serving as the basis of a written genre, these rough drawings played a central role in the cultural ferment of the age by persuading audiences that less is more.

The Visual and Verbal Sketch in British Romanticism investigates the varied implications of sketching in late-eighteenth- and early-nineteenth-century culture. Calling on a wide range of literary and visual genres, Richard C. Sha examines the shifting economic and aesthetic value of the sketch in sources ranging from auction catalogs and sketching manuals to novels that employed scenes of sketching and courtship. He especially shows how sketching became a double-edged accomplishment for women when used to define "proper" femininity.

Sha's work offers fresh readings of Austen, Gilpin, Wordsworth, and Byron, as well as less familiar writers, and provides sophisticated interpretations of visual sketches. As the first full-length work about sketching during the Romantic era, this volume is a rich interdisciplinary study of both representation and gender.

Richard C. Sha is Professor of Literature and Affiliate Professor of Philosophy at American University. He is author of Perverse Romanticism: Aesthetics and Sexuality in Britain, 1750 1832 and editor of Historicizing Romantic Sexuality.

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