Written by Romanticism editor, Nicholas Roe.
The 25th publishing anniversary of Romanticism offers an opportunity to reflect on the origin of the journal three decades ago. In the mid-1990s there was no UK-based journal dedicated to publishing a broad range of essays, articles and reviews in the Romantic field. There were specialised journals, some of them of remarkable longevity such as the Keats-Shelley Memorial Bulletin and the Byron Journal. The Review of English Studies and Essays in Criticism published essays on Romantic literature from time to time alongside other material. In the US there were the Keats-Shelley Journal, Blake Quarterly, The Wordsworth Circle, and other author-focused publications, as well as the prestigious and long-established Studies in Romanticism. There seemed to be a gap for a new UK-based scholarly journal that would publish the most significant new critical and scholarly work in the field, with a reviews section dedicated to longer reviews of new work in the field.
The founding editors were myself, Drummond Bone, Jane Stabler, and Tim Webb. We met at Bow-of-Fife on a summer afternoon in 1994 and discussed how the journal might best be projected and published: we agreed that it should focus on the big picture, 1750-1850, that it should welcome critical, historical, textual and bibliographical essays prepared to the highest scholarly standards, and that it must seek to represent a full range of current methodological and theoretical debate. The immediate problem was how to find a publisher, and who to invite to join the board of Advisory Editors.
Vivian Bone was at that time Director of Edinburgh University Press, so there was, we hoped, a prestigious Scottish University publisher that would welcome the new journal and put it into successful production. The founding board of Advisory Editors comprised the following roster of distinguished scholars (with their 1995 affiliations):
John Barnard (Leeds University)
Anne Barton (Cambridge University)
Lilla Crisafulli Jones (University of Bologna)
John Donovan (University of York)
Kelvin Everest (Liverpool University)
David Fairer (Leeds University)
Neil Fraistat (University of Maryland)
Paul Hamilton (University of Southampton)
John Kerrigan (Cambridge University)
Greg Kucich (University of Notre Dame)
Nigel Leask (Cambridge University)
Grevel Lindop (Manchester University)
J. C. C. Mays (University College Dublin)
Vincent Newey (Leicester University)
Lucy Newlyn (Oxford University)
Michael O’Neill (Durham University)
David Punter (Stirling University)
Susan Wolfson (Princeton University)
The first issue of Romanticism was published by Edinburgh University Press in April 1995, with new work my Morton D. Paley, Jennifer Wallace, John Barnard, Philip Shaw, Simon Bainbridge, Jane Stabler, Timothy Clark and Mark Allen, Nick Havely, John Kerrigan and David Chandler.
Originally published twice a year, since 2006 Romanticism has been published triannually. Katie Garner at St Andrews University is now reviews editor, and the first of three 25th anniversary issues, a stimulating gathering of essays on ‘Transporting Romanticism’ has just been published. From bees to ballooning, ‘Jane Austen’s Mobility’, and Romantic and Victorian nonsense poetry Romanticism continues to show new directions of travel in Romantic studies. Some planned future issues will focus on ‘Romanticism and Ageing’, Thomas De Quincey, John Clare, and Jane Austen.