Spontaneous Overflows and Revivifying Rays: Romanticism and the Discourse of Improvisation
Spontaneous Overflows and Revivifying Rays
Romanticism and the Discourse of Improvisation
- Autumn 2004
- ISBN 978-1-55380-020-0 (1-55380-020-6)
- 5-3/4″ x 9″ Trade Paperback, 36 pages
- Literary Criticism
In this Garnett Sedgewick lecture given to the Department of English at the University of British Columbia in 2004, Angela Esterhammer introduces us to the art of the nineteeth-century Italian improvvisatori, who created spontaneous verses on topics chosen by their audiences.
English Romantic poets such as Shelley and Byron witnessed some of these performances, especially by Tomasso Sgricci, and were greatly impressed. The ability of the improvvisatori touched on the very essence of poetic creation: is it simply, as the improvvisatori would seem to demonstrate, “the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings” or does it have to be “recollected in tranquility,” as Wordsworth had suggested?
Dr. Esterhammer examines the ramifications of these two questions through the poetry and letters of the of the English Romantic poets who had witnessed the art of the improvvisatori, and in so doing presents some fascinating material and insights into the act of creation and the springs of the artistic imagination.
Garnett Sedgewick Memorial Lectures:
- John Donne and the Line of Wit: From Metaphysical to Modernist by P.G. Stanwood (2008)
- Living Language and Dead Reckoning: Navigating Oral and Written Traditions by J. Edward Chamberlin (2005)
- Spontaneous Overflows and Revivifying Rays: Romanticism and the Discourse of Improvisation by Angela Esterhammer (2004)
- “Servile Ministers”: Othello, King Lear and the Sacralization of Service by Michael Neill (2003)
- Grandchild of Empire: About Irony, Mainly in the Commonwealth by W.H. New (2002)
- The Generation of Caliban by Jonathan Goldberg (2001)
- Double Crossings: Madness, Sexuality and Imperialism by Anne McClintock (2000)
- Professing English at UBC: The Legacy of Roy Daniells and Garnett Sedgewick by Sandra Djwa (1999)