The Oxford Guide to Romanticism Oxford University press has recently published the Oxford guide to Romanticism (743 pages) which provides a comprehensive and stimulating introduction to the richness of the Romantic field and offers University students informed , specially commissioned, essays on a variety of aspects of Romantic Literature and Culture by a 'distinguished international team of scholars'. Romanticism: an Oxford Guide has four main sections dealing with the historical and literary backgrounds to the Romantic Age; the various critical and literary approaches to Romanticism ; and the final section dealing with the rich and varied legacy of Romanticism in Literature and the Arts. This volume, which is designed as a standard reference work for University students, is edited by Nicholas Roe, Professor of English at the University of St Andrews.
The Section on Romantic Narrative Poetry is contributed by Professor Peter Vassallo, head of the Department of English at the University, and focuses on the Romantic narrative revival in the longer poems of Sir Walter Scott and Robert Southey and ,later, in Bryan's 'romaunt' Childe Harold. Professor Vassallo also discusses English adaptations of the Italian ottava rima narrative form (notably by John Hookham Frere and Lord Byron), Leigh Hunt's adaptation of Dante's tragic episode of Paolo and Francesca in his The Story of Rimini and the romantic poetsí fascination with the Orient with particular reference to Shelley's The Revolt of Islam and Moore's Lalla Rookh. Professor Vassallo demonstrates how literary encounters with the East , as mediated in the longer poems, often enabled Romantic poets to engage with another culture and civilization 'in a manner which obliquely reflected their own particular social, religious and political concerns'. In the concluding Section , Professor Vassallo provides a detailed 'close reading' of Keats's narrative poem Isabella: or the Pot of Basil and shows how Keats subtly introduced a 'modern sensibility' to the narrative voice of Boccaccio's original prose tale.