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A Transatlantic ‘Field of Stars’: redrawing the borders of English literature in the late nineteenth century

Rosenquist, R. (2015) A Transatlantic ‘Field of Stars’: redrawing the borders of English literature in the late nineteenth century. Critical Survey. 27(3) 0011-1570.

Item Type: Article
Abstract: This article examines a map of the English coast surrounding Romney Marsh in 1895, hand-drawn by Ford Madox Ford for his memoir, Return to Yesterday (1931). The map is read as a cultural reconstruction of the shifting terrain of fin-de-siècle literary reputation, representing late-Victorian English letters as a distinctly transatlantic realm. Ford’s illustration is analysed as an early incarnation of the celebrity ‘star map’: it positions authors in specific locations, while also tracing constellations of developing alliances, dividing the aesthetically minded foreigners from a defensive grouping of British institutional icons. Ford redraws the centre and the boundaries of English literature through his act of map-making, positioning his ‘alien’ literary celebrities – including transatlantic icons of the late nineteenth century, like Henry James, Stephen Crane and W.H. Hudson – along the Romney coast, a site associated with invasion, fluid boundaries, and shifting coastlines.
Uncontrolled Keywords: Ford Madox Ford, Henry James, Joseph Conrad, Stephen Crane, W.H. Hudson, literary celebrity, Victorian literature
Creators: Rosenquist, Rod
Faculties, Divisions and Institutes: Faculties > Faculty of Education & Humanities > English and Creative Writing
Research Centres > Centre for Critical and Creative Writing
Date: 1 December 2015
Date Type: Publication
Journal or Publication Title: Critical Survey
Volume: 27
Number: 3
Language: English
ISSN: 0011-1570
Status: Published / Disseminated
Refereed: Yes

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