The Pennsylvania State University

The Graduate School

College of the Liberal


A Dissertation in



Kristen A. Fisher

© 2016 Kristen A. Fisher

Submitted in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of

Doctor of

August 2016 ii

The dissertation of Kristen A. Fisher was reviewed and approved* by the following:

Caroline D. Eckhardt Professor of Comparative Literature and English Director of the School of Languages and Dissertation Co-Advisor Co-chair of Committee

Jonathan P. Eburne Associate Professor of Comparative Literature and English Dissertation Co-Advisor Co-chair of Committee

Kathryn Grossman Professor of French

Anne McCarthy Assistant Professor of English

Daniel Purdy Professor of German Studies

Robert Edwards Department Head of Comparative Literature Professor of English and Comparative Literature

*Signatures are on file in the Graduate School



Identifying three versions of medievalisms that are associated with material , Sites of Romantic Medievalism probes intersections between , material history, international politics, and literary form in select Romanticisms. As the transitional period between the ancient and the modern, the “” provided a foundation for Romantic progress narratives and articulations of modernity. Thus, when foreign destinations troubled accepted conceptions of the “medieval,” the authors under inquiry set out to reposition the medieval legacy in contemporary contexts in order to reconsider how best to identify and to enact progress both socio-politically and aesthetically. William Wordsworth confronted the failings of fanatical Republican historiography at the on his Alpine tour in 1790. Employing anachronism, he situates medievalisms as a vital intervention in progressive reform and as the inspiration for his innovative poetics. Germaine de Staël’s Corinne, ou l’Italie frames the Italian “Moyen Age” as a testament to the Italian capacity to withstand hegemonic pressures, staging a medievalist intervention against modern tendencies either to repeat the past or to allow it to dominate the present. A melancholic rebellion against history is depicted in the 1816 compositions from ’s exilic sojourn in

Switzerland. Seeking an escape from the manipulative draw of the past, he represents

Chillon, a medievalist monument, as a tentative model for living between resignation from the world and the self-abandonment of active historical engagement. Together, these Romantic medievalisms insist that material sites best represent the Middle Ages and best convey the medieval legacy to the modern world. (249 words) iv


Acknowledgments...... v

Chapter 1. Introduction ...... 1

Chapter 2. William Wordsworth’s Anachronisms and the Medievalist Grande

Chartreuse ...... 41

Chapter 3. The Liminal Moyen Âge: Sites of Liberty and Grief in Germaine de Staël’s

Corinne, ou l’Italie ...... 90

Chapter 4. A Medievalist Monument “ponder’d fittingly”: Byron and the Chateau Chillon...... 146

Chapter 5. Conclusion ...... 194


Primary sources ...... 209

Secondary sources ...... 217



There are a number of people who contributed to this thesis and to whom I am greatly indebted.

Firstly, I thank my advisors and project directors, Professor Caroline D. Eckhardt and Professor Jonathan P. Eburne. Without their guidance and help this dissertation would not have been possible. Their complementary approaches to Comparative scholarship encouraged a spirit of adventure and exploration in my own research.

Together, they expertly model the finest blend of academic and teaching excellence.

Secondly, I thank my committee members, Professor Kathryn Grossman,

Professor Anne McCarthy, and Professor Daniel Purdy, whose work embodies the highest standards of Romantic scholarship. Their enthusiasm for new ideas and new approaches to Romantic criticism, together with their astute insights and analyses, provided invaluable contributions to my work.

Thirdly, I thank my fellow graduate researchers, most especially Atia Sattar,

Michelle Decker, Micah Donahue, Darwin Tsen, Anouar El Younssi, Molly Appel, Lea

Pao, Kelly Lehtonen, and Irenae Aigbedion, who acted as a sounding board for my ideas.

Thank you for the hot tea, the lunch breaks, the fresh pair of eyes, and, most of all, for the incomparable support and camaraderie.

This dissertation is dedicated to my family:

To my parents, whose support never wavers,

To my sister, who is always ready with a listening ear,

And to Ryan, the love of my life.



From ghostly gothic encounters to imagined exchanges with national literary heroes, literature of the long eighteenth century increasingly betrays a preoccupation with the Middle Ages. The gothic revival produced gothic romances in literature, such as Ann

Radcliffe’s The Mysteries of Udolpho (1794), and the historical , such as Sir Walter

Scott’s (1814), also solidified as a popular literary form during this period.1

Both genres sold out across national boundaries: Scott and Radcliffe’s medievalist were a favorite among English, American, French, and German, even Spanish, audiences.

Such trends in popular literature complemented shifts in tourism that highlighted spaces providing present points of access to past realities. Mark S. Phillips observes that

“history, traditionally regarded as a book to be read, [became also] a scene to be revisited” (Society 323), and these literary developments appealed to readers’ interest in temporally and spatially distant lands. Scott’s novels feature his antiquarian tendencies through agonizingly detailed accounts of historical costume and manners, just as

Radcliffe’s painstaking descriptions of foreign bring elements of the travelogue into her gothic romances. Historical tourism intersected with the medievalist fad and inspired another literary development of the period: Romantic medievalisms.

Since the late nineties, critics have worked to define medievalism, opening new investigative avenues for Romantic studies in turn. Building on annual reports from

Studies in Medievalism about the medievalist studies specialty, David Matthews published a critical history of medievalism in 2015 where he insists that Tom A. Shippey

1 Gamer traces the rising popularity of the gothic in and the Gothic, and Murray Pittock records the reception history of Scott’s novels. 2 provided a necessary intervention in the concept’s development. Shippey describes it as

“responses to the Middle Ages at all periods since a sense of the medieval began to develop” (Prospectus). As Matthews observes, this definition creates a space where medieval elements in Romantic literature are seen as an expression of historicity and circumvents inherently nostalgic or escapist readings. Previous definitions such as that of

Leslie Workman in “The Future of Medievalism” seemingly embraced medievalism as an escapist and fantastic concept. Nevertheless, they provided a useful tool with which critical discourse could map medievalist studies.2 Medieval studies, contemporary critics agree, pertains to materials and phenomena produced during the Middle Ages.

Medievalist studies, however, considers the reception of phenomena that has been labeled


At its etymological core, Romanticism is tied to the Middle Ages. It derives its name from the medieval “romanz” or romance genre named for its use of vernacular romance languages, though few would go so far as Leslie Workman and claim that

“Romanticism is Medievalism and Medievalism is Romanticism” (Medievalism in the

Modern World 451). Still, Romantic literature betrays an interest in the medieval past that is all the more striking in view of the criticism such medievalism garnered. Though

William Wordsworth, Germaine de Staël, and Lord George Gordon Byron did not explicitly identity as Romantics, their writing reflects this Romantic investment in the

2 Workman says that “medieval historiography, the study of the successive recreation of the Middle Ages by different generations, is the Middle Ages. And this of course is medievalism” (“The Future of Medievalism” 12). This definition offers a helpful acknowledgment that every definition of the medieval is a medievalism, an unauthentic and therefore distant or somewhat imposed standard, but it does not account for the authors who transform or adapt medieval material for their own uses. For a helpful discussion of this definition and its reception in the field, see the introductions in Petersen and Emery. 3

Middle Ages and links that investment to a larger ambition, the Romantic attempt to craft a universal and progressive literature.

The term “Romantic” comes from the debut issue of ’s 1798 journal, Athenaeum. There, he referred to a “romantisch” [“romantic”] school of writing that sought to unite the past with a modern present. He strove to develop as a culmination of cultural production that could drive progress, and he insisted that

Romantic writing must be progressive and universally relevant. To that end, Schlegel drew on the etymology of his terms, outlining a union of ancient poetics, the medieval of romance, and the polyphonic prose of the modern novel as the goal of

Romantic literature. The school drew its philosophical roots from thinkers like Jean-

Jacques Rousseau, a proponent of identifying the more natural human state, then adapting to that knowledge, and , a philosopher who was similarly preoccupied with the authentic of humanity. For example, his Beobachtungen über das Gefühl des Schönen und Erhabenen or Observations on the Feeling of the Beautiful and the

Sublime (1764) sought to discern how the faculties navigate sensory information and what kind of knowledge that information offers. Both of these philosophers, like many of their contemporaries, exhibit an admiration for Classical Antiquity that is common among Enlightenment thinkers, and both were troubled by the oppressive infrastructures that characterized political and religious life during the Middle Ages.3

Wordsworth stops short of applying Schlegel’s terminology to himself or his contemporaries, but he describes his artistic aspirations in similar terms. His close friend,

3 Though Enlightenment philosophy notoriously emphasized the negative features of medieval culture, Alicia Montoya recently demonstrated the prevalence of medievalisms in Enlightenment publications. See Medievalist Enlightenment (2013). 4

Samuel Taylor Coleridge, was a devout student of contemporary German philosophy, and their diaries record how often their discourse incorporated Coleridge’s studies. They published Lyrical together, selecting a title that unites the modern “lyric” with the traditional folk “.” The first edition appeared in 1798, and over the next four years, Wordsworth added expository that described the project and the goals of the collection. These essays echo Schlegel, calling for a union of modern dialects and literary forms with ancient poetic practices. His autobiographical poems furthered this project, and he spent his life perfecting a lengthy history of his poetic development in which he recorded the medievalism of Chartreuse.

Beginning her writing career at the same time, de Staël published numerous treatises on contemporary culture and politics. One of these, De l’Allemagne, highlighted

Schlegel’s theories as a seminal mark of modernity and progress in the European literary , placing special emphasis on the “romantisch” literature he prescribed as the best model for contemporary cultural production. For that reason, Xavier Tilliette names de Staël, “l’importateur désigné de la rêverie originelle du romantisme” (“the designated importer of the original dream of Romanticism” 130). Unfortunately, she provides no explicit exposition for her fictional compositions, demonstrating her views by other means. One such publication, Corinne, ou l’Italie (1806), speculated on how the past influences the choices of modern peoples and furthers universal progress through the experiences of its main characters, Oswald and Corinne. Alain Vaillan argues that this work, as opposed to De l’Allemagne, illustrates de Staël’s new Romantic literature, “de son rôle et, par conséquent, de sa nature” (“concerning its role and, consequently, concerning its nature” 235). Resonating with and Wordsworth’s 5 aim for , Corinne distinguished a medievalism in the sites that its characters visited in and situated that medievalism as a progressive intervention in modern life.

Embarking on a public career with Hours of Idleness in 1807, Byron also refrains from contextualizing his work within any Romantic school. However, his writing betrays a similar emphasis on uniting the past with an innovative present. Byron knew

Wordsworth’s work very well, as it was a favorite of his friend and sometime travel companion, Percy Shelley. He also enjoyed an acquaintance with de Staël, frequenting her during his stay in in 1816, but his work presents a vision of progress that is all his own. The poem that made him a favorite among critics and the

British public, Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage of 1812, combines the with a medieval title and modern experimental poetics. Bearing the medieval subtitle “A

Romaunt,” it featured the medieval inheritance as the origin of modern problems, a mark of the burden of historicity, and lay a foundation for the medievalism that would characterize Byron’s work in 1816. Compositions from that year, specifically The

Prisoner of Chillon and the third canto of Childe Harold, turn to a medievalist monument, Chillon Castle, as a means of neutralizing the harmful burden of living in history.

Wordsworth, de Staël, and Byron helped to shape Romantic literature, and their writing exhibits a concern about contemporary medievalisms. Each of them probes the dangers that follow an absent past, a past determined by the whims of fancy rather than a material reality, and they emphasize the dangerous consequences of an immaterial

Middle Ages, citing contemporary violence, tyranny, and disappointment as the products 6 of engaging with an incorporeal past. As noted, medieval topoi became a fixture in popular culture during the eighteenth century through the gothic, historical romances, and an appetite for historical tourism. As a result, medieval allusions were powerful tools in political propaganda and social discourse, encouraging contemporary generations to uphold the values of and fight for their country or to cast off the tyrannical oppression of feudal overlords and the Catholic Church. As Romanticism developed and engaged contemporary culture, it too addressed the modern appetite for the medieval and modern tendencies to misrepresent the Middle Ages, and Wordsworth, de Staël, and

Byron privileged the medieval legacy in living modern structures. As an alternative to confining the medieval past to the imagination or to memory, they crafted place-based

Romantic medievalisms inspired by their experiences with such sites. In contrast with contemporaries, they highlight positive contributions to modern life from the medieval legacy and link medievalism with historic sites as a means of preventing dangerous repetitions of negative features of the Middle Ages while ensuring that those positive contributions will remain.

It is well established in Romantic criticism that Wordsworth, de Staël, and Byron drew on travel experiences in their writing. However, their fascination with the medieval heritage of places that they visited remains largely unexplored.4 Though numerous

4 Though Wordsworth and Byron studies noticeably lack analyses on medievalism, de Staël poses a special challenge to medievalist analysis because current French language criticism is still probing medievalism or médiévalisme as a distinctive phenomenon. As Dominique Iogna-Prat observes, “il n’existe pas, en français, d’équivalent à l’allemand ‘médiévalisme politique’ ou à l’anglo-américain ‘médiévalisme’” (“in French, there is no equivalent to the German ‘political medievalism’ or the anglo-american ‘medievalism’” 52). However, the collection of essays in Les tendances actualles de l’histoire du Moyen Age and Vincent Ferré’s Médiévalisme begin to lay some of this groundwork. In addition, Michael Glencross’s Reconstructing Camelot provides an English-language analysis of 7 examinations of these authors address gothic elements in their work, critics have yet to address how experiences abroad prompted literary interventions in contemporary portraits of the Middle Ages. Wordsworth, de Staël, and Byron all privileged historic sites in their tour itineraries and as they drew on their travel experiences in their writing, they all developed a medievalism that grounded the Middle Ages in places. In other words, they identified a historical testimony in foreign sites particular to the reception of medieval heritage and used that testimony to produce innovative Romantic literature.

Wordsworth, de Staël, and Byron each craft a Romantic medievalism specific to his or her own literary project, and these medievalisms intercede in contemporary approaches to the Middle Ages by insisting on linking conceptions of that period to medievalist places, places that articulate a history of approaches to the medieval legacy. Each addresses the role of imagination in conceptualizing the past, but locates the “Middle Ages” apart from realm of fantasy in a concrete reality, outlining a tangibly problematic, un-exotic, and thus less-beguiling medieval past than those depicted in gothic novels, historical romances, and propagandist publications.

Contrasting remnants of the ancient world, the sites of Wordsworth, de Staël, and

Byron’s medievalisms were neither ruins nor conventional monuments, spaces set aside for the purpose of recording collective memory.5 While classical structures such as the

French medievalism, and he cites de Staël’s De l’Allemagne as a representative example of medievalism in French Romanticism (3). 5 The Romantic fascination with ruins is well documented, and, like the medieval sites that I analyze in Wordsworth and de Staël, influenced literary forms by stimulating the fragment as a popular genre in Romantic . For a general survey on ruins and Romanticism, see Thomas McFarland and Roland Mortier. For a general survey on the Romantic use of fragments, see Sophie Thomas. Mario Domenichelli also examines the emphasis on ruins in de Staël’s De l’Allemagne, and Juan Calatrava traces the link between ruins and Romanticism in Spanish contexts. 8

Roman Coliseum rarely continued to function as anything more than a memory repository, medieval sites often operated much as they had in the Middle Ages or were repurposed according to modern needs. They were, to be specific, medievalist, testifying to receptions of the Middle Ages as well as the features of that epoch. They hosted the daily-life activities of those living in proximity, functioning as family homes, places of worship, military strongholds, hospitals, legal centers, etc. These medievalist survivors were juxtaposed with both ancient ruins and modern innovations, revealing the medieval label as a human construct. They served as a reminder that a so-called “medieval” past remained all-too-modern, that feudal taxation and abuses by the Catholic Church continued to thrive in the nineteenth century. The flaws of the ancient period were safely displaced, confined to the realm of memory, but those of the Middle Ages haunted the present, contradicting the historiography that located the medieval in the past. What was past could be forgotten or forgiven, but what remained present implicitly demanded an appraisal, a judgment about potential benefits and drawbacks for present and future life.

Highlighting the artifice of periodization, sites featured in the literature resulting from Wordsworth, de Staël, and Byron’s travels on the European continent testified to a history outside the confines of the Middle Ages. Wordsworth’s autobiographical writings highlight the medieval origins of the Grande Chartreuse in the south of France, though had a long history of hosting modern travelers and remained a thriving convent at the time of his visit in 1790. Conversely, de Staël’s Corinne, ou l’Italie (1807) mentions the Castel Saint Angelo (99), a tower that dates from Hadrian’s reign as the emperor of Rome (117-138 A.D.), among the numerous destinations visited by its main characters. It was designed to be his mausoleum and remained an important site in 9 nineteenth-century Roman life as a papal fortress and sometime prison, yet de Staël explicitly distinguishes its medieval heritage. Nine years later, Byron would fixate on the

Chateau Chillon, a Genevan fortress built in the tenth or eleventh century that functioned as a seat of political power well into the nineteenth century. In 1816, it bore markers of technological updates and regional conflicts from the twelfth through the nineteenth century. As a result, Byron’s work considers how the monument insists that a distinctly medieval culture remains present in the modern world and how that medievalism provides inoculation against enticements to historical violence. Wordsworth, de Staël, and Byron’s selective investment in the medieval history of places highlights medievalism as a purposeful literary construct, a noteworthy component of Romantic cultural production.

In the late eighteenth century, European historical sites were an ideological battle ground and medieval sites were particularly fraught.6 As Enlightenment historiography solidified, it established an era between the ancient world and the birth of modernity that became known as the Middle Ages. The exact boundaries of the medium aevum or

“middle of the ages” changed according to geography, as Gothic invaders moved across

6 Though I concentrate on medievalism in European literature, it is not exclusive to European . Vincent Ferré and Alicia C. Montoya’s “Speaking of the Middle Ages Today” addresses the increasing body of evidence that shows medievalism emerges in nations that dealt with Europe, either through Napoleonic expansion, colonialism, or less violent forms of cultural exchange. They identify a medievalism that emerges for “comparison purposes” (136). For example, Making Cairo Medieval contains a collection of essays that demonstrate how European encounters pressured Egyptian governments to cultivate a medieval identity in the nineteenth century, and Paula Sanders also considers how this pressure affects heritage management in Cairo in Creating Medieval Cairo. Raj Shila, Nadia R. Altschul, and Nile Green probe how this Middle Ages generates another body of medievalisms as a response to colonial rule. In addition, R.S. Sharma examines how the concept of a medieval period between ancient and modern worlds also applies to Indian contexts in Early Medieval Indian Society, laying the ground work for analysis of medievalisms in Indian culture. 10 the continent defeating existing political powers, and according to the defining such a period. Charles du Fresne, sieur du Cange (1610-88), for example, situated the medieval between the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 and the fall of the

Byzantine Empire in 1453 in order to establish distance between his compositions and those of the past (Considine 250-87). However, Petrarch (Francesco Petrarca 1304-

74), located the end of the medieval at the close of the thirteenth century, situating his own work as a new, modern literary development (Mommsen). As these boundaries imply, defining this liminal era meant defining one’s position in the present, and present claims to glory were emphasized through the contrast with past failings.

As Enlightenment historiography delineated the medium aevum, a common substitution for that term arose that remains in use today: the “Dark Ages.” Petrarch was one of the first to adopt the expression as a stand-in for the Middle Ages, and he insisted that this terminology metaphorically reflected the truth of medieval history. He argued that a cultural sense of loss and mourning for the ancient world dominated the millennium between Rome’s fall to Odoaker in 476 and the modern era of the fourteenth century.7 The metaphorical comparison with was bolstered by Enlightenment histories recording the violence of chivalric law, the social inequality perpetuated by feudal rule, and the abuses of the Catholic Church. They identified crucial events in medieval history such as the , the wars with Islamic forces, the imperial histories that established modern monarchies, and the inauguration of the medieval via Gothic raids, bolstering the notion of the “Dark Ages” as a means to differentiate the past from the present. Others soon echoed Petrarch’s language, and by the time proto-romantic

7 For a history of that terminology and its significance through the nineteenth century, see Theodore E. Mommsen. 11 like that of Rousseau entered public domain, the Middle Ages carried a connotation of barbarity, darkness, and tyrannical abuse.

Though the medieval legacy included troublingly oppressive infrastructures,

Enlightenment historians also observed that the stability these systems provided helped to lay the foundations of the modern world. Vernacular literatures emerged during the medieval period, and many of the medieval geographical boundaries for monarchic domains remained visible in national borders during the eighteenth century, if not perfectly intact. Thus, discourse on and the glories of modernity necessitated anxious management of the medieval past.8 Though some emphasized the negative medieval inheritance, others viewed the Middle Ages in a positive light, hoping to preserve chivalric principles and Catholic devotion in modern society. Richard Hurd, for example, would publish one of many chivalric manuals that circulated throughout the nineteenth century, situating chivalry as the proper behavioral code for the modern gentleman.9 Conversely, would identify the Catholic Church as an

8 The dedication of the Historia byzantina duplici commentario illustra by Charles du Fresne, sieur du Cange, for example, observes that “ut Regia prorsus illa Byzantinorum Scriptorum editio, quam suspiciunt upique gentium exteri ut eximium Gallicae magnificentiae monumentum, tandem absolvatur” or “that truly regal edition of Byzantine authors, which foreigners everywhere admire as the monument par excellence of the magnificence of France, should be completed” (Considine 284). For further exploration of medievalism in nationalist identity, see Isabel DiVanna, Michael Glencross, Dominique Iogna-Prat, Claire Saunders, and Claire Simmons. 9 Richard Hurd’s Letters on Chivalry and Romance (1762) implicitly pointed to medieval custom as prescriptive for modern gentlemen, but subsequent attempts would make this pedagogical intent explicit. Kenelm Henry Digby’s manual, The Broadstone of Honour: or Rules for the Gentlemen of , was originally published in 1822, and was not the first or the last of such volumes. Digby’s work illustrates another place-based medievalism that explains its origins the reader. The opening sequence explains that while contemplating a castle that evoked Platonic discourse in the French countryside, Digby decided to provide a manual for young men on chivalric behavior, naming that manual for another castle that he would visit, the Ehrenbreitstein Fortress on the Rhine 12 oppressive and dark force in human history in Was heist und zu welchem Ende studiert man Universalgeschichte or What is and to what end does man study Universal History

(1789), but he also claimed that its prominence and stability cultivated a sense of in humanity that would ultimately contribute to positive changes over time.

Though many offered such moderate approaches to the medieval inheritance, others took radical stances either in favor of or against preserving the medieval legacy.

Conflicting perspectives on how to manage the medieval inheritance reached a crisis through the , and historic sites physically manifested diverse points of view. The demolished Bastille, a medieval fortress, recorded a symbolic break with the oppressive infrastructures of the past and anticipated the ban on feudalism that the National Constituent Assembly passed in 1789. This break was reiterated in other medieval structures throughout France, but surviving medieval sites recorded alternative approaches to the problematic past, highlighting the views of those who opposed the destruction of French heritage. Citizens transformed Notre-Dame de Strasbourg and

Notre-Dame de into temples of reason, tearing down the Catholic relics and erecting shrines to philosophy and liberty in their place. The Strasbourg cathedral even bore a

Phrygian liberty cap, a metal bonnet rouge, on its bell tower as a protective measure against revolutionary violence.

Adopting yet another , Henri Grégoire, an abbot who supported the

Revolution and became an important political official during the tenure of the National

Constituent Assembly (1789-91), developed the concept of “vandalisme” or “vandalism”

near Koblenz. He significantly expanded the work by 1829 to include four volumes, and the work was a best seller. even recommended the book to friends in her correspondence. 13 as a criminal act against France. He hoped to curb significant alterations to the material inheritance, such as the destruction of the statues at Notre-Dame de Paris. Though he agreed with those who sought to end problematic medieval legacies, e.g. feudalism and the oppressive abuses of the Catholic Church, he encouraged the new Republican governments to preserve material testimonials of that past, however problematic, as part of the French patrimoine or national heritage.10 This concept became so crucial to individual stances on revolutionary change that Rémi Dauphinot observes, “l’étude du vandalisme révolutionnaire, on ne le répétera jamais assez, est l’étude d’un discours de la

Révolution sur elle-même” (“the study of revolutionary vandalism, one cannot repeat enough, is the study of a discourse on the Revolution itself” 171).11

Although managing the past for the sake of the present by no means originated as a result of the French Revolution, this conflict generated systematic approaches to managing the past that brought the concept of staging history to the fore of collective consciousness. In the ancient world, Hesiod’s Theogony (700 B.C.E.) had pointed to a stone formation, the omphalos or bellybutton of the world, as evidence supporting his history of the , just as the medieval Welsh (c. 12th or 13th Century)

10 For more information on the development of “vandalisme” and its applications, see Joseph L. Sax, Godehard Janzing, and Rémi Dauphinot. ’s “Guerre aux démolisseurs” provides an example of how vandalism continued as part of the vocabulary surrounding the response to the medieval inheritance. For more information on the development of French patrimony, see Jean-Marie Roulin, Dominique Poulot, Rémi Dauphinot, Magalie Lenoir, and the collection of essays in Hugo et le débat patrimonial edited by Ronald Recht and Gennaro Toscano. 11 The link between one’s stance on the Middle Ages and one’s stance on the Revolution existed beyond the material inheritance. For example, the execution of the French King and Queen prompted international debates that included condemnation and defense of the medieval political systems that the monarchs represented. famously painted a tragic portrait of the Queen’s death in his Reflections on the Revolution in France from November of 1790, lamenting that the glory of Europe and the age of chivalry had ended at her death. 14 provided histories of places such as St. Michael’s Mount in . Furthermore,

Marion Bowman’s article on illustrates how the medieval management of history included conscientious physical staging of sites and relics. However, the language designating and cataloguing such historical materials solidified after the Revolution, and new management practices such as museum collections became commonplace.12 Just as the notion of vandalism became a specific crime against heritage, the monument began to designate a particular genus of material history, performing a specified function in recording collective memory for modern society.13

Pierre Nora’s introduction to Les Lieux de Mémoire, “Entre Histoire et Mémoire,” explains how the Revolution contributed to the solidification of systems that manage the past. He suggests that a conceived rupture from the past necessitates and accelerates the development of monuments as a repository of collective memory. He argues that such repositories are necessary to those in political power because they help displace the untamed, spontaneous nature of memory away from individual citizens, thereby reinforcing homogeneous identity narratives and encouraging conformity. The systems of memory management, he concludes, were only fully crystallized by the tenure of the

Third Republic in France (1870-1940), but they nevertheless carried tremendous cultural

12 Museums were already in their infancy by 1789, but practices crystallized through the pressures resulting from Revolutionary change. Specifically, the eighteenth-century cabinet of curiosities developed into public archives and heritage repositories. For more information on these changes, see Siegel, Bennett, and McClellan. 13 Although the language solidified after the Revolution, there is evidence that such structured approaches to managing history began in the Ancien Régime. Louis XVI had plans to transform the into a museum for the public where they could see the glories of the royal family’s art collection, for example. See Aubin-louis Millin for an eighteenth century source on patrimoine. For more information on these early forms of systemic management, see Magalie Lenoir, Dominique Poulot, Jonah Siegel, Andrew McClellan, and Tony Bennett. 15 capital while in flux, marking a territory where ideological war was waged. That war was not limited to France, for neighboring nations adapted their systems alongside their

French neighbors. In some regions, commodity sales increased as foreign investors began to seek out relics of French heritage, but these sales only ensured an international effort to solidify management systems for national heritage. Nevertheless, the debates about the medieval past, while present in international discourse, retained special significance in

France where ever-changing governments articulated their relation to the national past.14

Although select historical sites were destroyed as political power changed hands on the continent, others were either carefully restored and protected or broken down and removed to museums, places devoted to presenting a modern interpretation of the material past. Some relocation efforts occurred by government decree, organized and executed through committees. Other government decrees encouraged a systematic memeism, a destruction of any material reminders that might lead to a positive conception of the Middle Ages. The Committee of Public Instruction, for example, would publish pamphlets allowing and even encouraging the people to halt preservation efforts and to destroy medieval remnants such as the Basilica of Saint Denis, a Parisian cathedral that has yet to be fully restored after its destruction in 1792.15 However, a Commission

14 The National Constituent Assemby ruled from 1789 to 1791, followed by the Legislative Assembly from 1791 to 1792, the National Convention from 1792 to 1795, the Directory from 1795 to 1799, the Napoleonic empire from 1799 to 1814, and a reinstitution of the monarchy until 1830 with a brief interruption in 1815 when tried to regain control. The monarchy was finally abolished in 1830, ushering in a new set of Republican governments. The government in power in 2016 is the fifth Republic. 15 Viollet-le-Duc restored much but not all of the damage, and work continues on the façade today. For more information about the committee and examples of their publishing, see Josiane Boulad Ayoub’s edition of the Procés-verbaux du Comité d’institut publique and Jean-Marie Gall’s Le mythe de Saint Denis: entre renaissance et révolution. A more comprehensive history of preservation committees and praxes appears 16 des Monuments performed the opposite function: designating materials and sites worthy of preservation, celebration, and publicity in travel guides. They worked closely with

Alexandre Lenoir from 1790 until their dissolution in 1793, designating which materials should be saved. Lenoir then gathered, preserved, and catalogued the artifacts at the depot des Petits-Augustins in Paris. 16 Much to their annoyance, Lenoir began to publish those catalogues, a reminder to those who sought to destroy remnants of the Middle Ages that others had carefully saved that heritage, if only in part.17 This contributed to the end of the commission and the formation of a new system for preserving the French medieval heritage in the Commission des Arts, a less specialized and less controversial undertaking.

Though the Commission des Monuments escaped the scrutiny of anti- preservationism with simple dissolution, other events highlight the gravity of individual approaches to managing the medieval inheritance. , one of the leading figures of the Revolution, used accusations of vandalism to reinforce his negative portrayal of the Hébertists, fanatical supporters of the de- efforts. In a speech given on November 21, 1793, he classified their treatment of medieval heritage as a new form of fanaticism that replaced, rather than improved upon, the Catholic religion.

By July of the next year, the Hébertists had used these comments, along with other remarks in favor of moderation, as evidence that Robespierre was a counter-

in Astrid Swenson’s The Rise of Heritage, and chapter three, “Exhibition mania” concentrates on French history from Lenoir through Viollet-le-Duc. 16 Pierre de Lagarde credits Lenoir with solidifying the concept of monument and fathering subsequent of preservation and historical staging. He offers a thorough analysis of Lenoir’s responses to political change in the first chapter in La Mémoire des Pierres. 17 Though this committee dissolved after only a few years, a version of it survives to this day. In the nineteenth century, Prosper Merimée, another significant voice in Romantic cultural production, even served as its Inspector General for a time. 17 revolutionary, executing him by means of the infamous guillotine. Three months prior to his death, his friend Camille Desmoulins was similarly persecuted for moderate views.

The inaugural issues of Desmoulins’s journal, the Vieux Cordelier (December of 1793), had denounced de-Christianization and vandalism as an act against French heritage: he was convicted and executed for conspiring against the Revolution on April 5, 1794.18

Though the investment in French patrimoine was not the only accusation leveled against these Republicans, its citation in the so-called trials underscores the stakes in any approach to managing the medieval past.

When exhibiting materials from a period as controversial as the Middle Ages, curators could not rely on the exhibition contents to speak for themselves, lest the interpretation result in public outcry and eventual exile or execution for those staging the exhibits.19 When the Commission des Monuments dissolved, Lenoir remained dedicated to preserving the national past, and he transformed the dépot into the Musée des

Monuments Français, continuing with his painstaking documentation and staging the exhibits according to contemporary controversies. Even as the publications recorded the contents of Lenoir’s museum, they recorded the politics of the medieval inheritance in contemporary contexts. Catalogues from 1795 and 1796 highlighted materials evoking liberty, equality, and reason, those same virtues that Enlightenment critics found lacking in the Middle Ages. By 1802 the catalogues described the medieval inheritance as a

18 The of vandalism and de-Christianization also played a role in the White Terror that followed the . French forces united with and Austria to purge suspected and known . See Jean-Luc Chappey. 19 Hugo’s “Guerre aux démolisseurs” records an instance where one who opposed the destruction of a monument began to receive public accusations of Carlism, a conservative movement in Spain devoted to Catholicism and the rights of the monarchy. Such accusations in Fance could lead to execution in extreme cases. See “Guerre” 10-12. 18 continuation of Classical accomplishments, aligning with Napoleon’s preferred imperial propaganda.20 His catalogues were so significant a reminder of the precarious existence of French medieval materials that authors outside of France such as Wordsworth and

Scott kept copies in their personal libraries. Even after the Musée closed due to

Napoleon’s defeat in 1815, the collection moved to the Louvre, a museum site more in keeping with the of a restored monarchy.

At the height of these debates, William Wordsworth traveled the European continent, confronting the diverse testimonies about the Middle Ages and its relevance to the present. He moved extensively throughout England and and took two continental tours: one as a young man from 1790 to 1792 and another thirty years later.21

Thus, Wordsworth was in France at the same time Grégoire developed “vandalisme” and committees began to designate specific sites as monuments of French patrimoine. He composed his earliest autobiographical poem as moderate French Republicans were fighting for their medieval heritage. In addition, his writing singled out the Grande

Chartreuse monastery among all of the sites that he visited, a place that was not designated a monument and was the focus of destructive “vandalisme” in 1792.

Chartreuse appears in compositions throughout his life, a testimony to the enduring impression of this visit and its influence on his poetic development.

Germaine de Staël was similarly well-traveled, and similarly attuned to the debates surrounding the places she visited. Her thinly veiled objections to Napoleon’s

20 Lenior’s catalogues on the “Musée” begin in 1796 and continue until 1815, though the title subtly varies. In 1815, he titles the catalogue Musée royal des monumens français, ou Mémorial de l’histoire de France et de ses monumens. 21 Wordsworth also traveled to select continental destinations outside of these journeys, but they were not such extensive surveys. 19 rule resulted in her exile from Paris after 1802 and in an oppressive censorship of her work. She returned to her salon at her estate in Coppet, and from there she traveled throughout Europe and Russia until Napoleon’s defeat enabled her return to Paris in

1816.22 One of her primary objections to Napoleonic rule concerned his heavy-handed management of heritage and his interference in international intellectual exchange. His censorship of her work exemplified the offense, for it was de Staël’s writing on foreign culture, her most successful publications, that garnered his most severe criticism.

Drawing on her travels through Italy, Corinne, ou l’Italie (1807) honors Italy’s past as a means to make positive contributions to modernity, and De l’Allemagne (1810) honors that of , similarly drawing on its author’s personal experiences. Both were international best sellers, and both disregard Napoleon’s distaste for honoring foreign . Furthermore, they each craft a positive medievalism, a contrast to his preference for the classical heritage. Corinne locates that medievalism in Italy’s historic sites, encouraging readers to engage with foreign cultures through travel, and even situates medieval Italian heritage as an indispensible comfort for the trauma of Napoleonic violence.

Like Wordsworth and de Staël, Byron toured the continent extensively. He first traveled in his youth from 1809 to 1811, and, unlike Wordsworth, he included a thorough exploration of the Eastern Mediterranean. His unsavory reputation among British audiences led him to a self-imposed exile by 1816, and Byron used that exile to pursue an even more extensive and lengthy journey, spending months at a time at select

22 De Staël had established herself there years earlier when the Terror took hold of Paris in 1792. She returned to Paris after in 1794, but feared the wrath of Napoleon with the publication of Delphine in 1802. For a brief time in 1806, she lived near Paris, but it was the exception rather than the rule until Napoleon’s defeat in 1815. 20 destinations. That same year, he met the Shelley party in Switzerland, and they toured the sites around together.23 Their diaries record a conscious awareness that historic destinations were fraught with controversy. The French Revolution had inspired uprisings in the area, and one focus of Byron’s fascination, the Chateau Chillon, acted as a prison for these Swiss revolutionaries. The diaries of his companions affirm that they knew of this history: it was featured in the remarks of their tour guide. Thus, Byron’s medievalism, like that of Wordsworth and de Staël, consciously intervenes in an international debate about the virtues of the medieval inheritance and establishes its authority through the author’s personal experience with historic sites.

While Wordsworth, de Staël, and Byron all develop place-based medievalisms that de-exoticize the Middle Ages, the sites that each author references exhibit different kinds of interpretive management. Wordsworth privileges the Grande Chartreuse in his autobiographical poems, a monastery that functioned according to the mandates outlined in the medieval rules for the order. It thus provides an example of a site that lacks anachronistic interpretive interventions, and Wordsworth’s writing on the site points to its destruction in 1792 as a crime against the natural progression of historical change. De

Staël’s Corinne explores many sites in Italy. Though they lack sign posts or written markers designed to instruct tourists about their import, de Staël includes interpreters at each of them in the form of native inhabitants, Corinne, and the narrator. Her interventions offer a middle ground between a materially manifest staging of history and a lack of such interventions. Byron fixates on Chillon, a site that was heavily managed through the on-site tour guides and caretakers who personally informed travelers about

23 The group included Percy and , as well as Claire Claremont. Byron’s physician, John Polidori, accompanied the group initially, but left due to illness. 21 the castle’s history and posted signs about the noteworthy events that occurred there.

Byron’s signature on a pillar in the dungeon may be the work of such a person in an attempt to add to the Castle’s fame, rather than the mark of the himself. By engaging varied methods for staging history, Wordsworth, de Staël, and Byron’s medievalisms correct false conceptions about the Middle Ages and emphasize how travel results in a more accurate understanding of the past.

Like medievalism, a displaced past, travel is a transgressive proposition. It requires moving beyond the confines of the familiar, the local, or the domestic in search of the foreign, the alien, and the different, implicitly drawing attention to the nature and origin of such boundaries. In other words, travel facilitates a conscious awareness of the categories, such as the , which are designed to convey similarity and difference and to delineate human collectives. A tourist in England, moving from one historic site to another and applying to guidebooks and on-site experts for interpretive help, concentrates on ruptures and uniformity, honing in on the architectural markers that distinguish

Norman, as opposed to Anglo-Saxon, as opposed to Gothic styles (the form that followed

Norman Romanesque). That same tourist will be encouraged by those guide books and experts to locate commonalities in these styles and to discern a definitively English past, to bolster conceptual temporal and spatial categories. However, travel also presents a distinct challenge by troubling categorical designations contingent upon a specific spatial or temporal context.

Medieval sites prove especially troubling to the practical application of eighteenth-century terms that organize territories and cultures. Castle, a remnant of the conquest of England by William, Duke of Normandy, paradoxically signifies how 22 modern English sovereignty arose through the influx of foreign invaders. The careful preservation of the structure testifies to its domesticated presence in the minds of the people inhabiting the region and in the minds of the tourists who come to see the structure. However, in displaying distinctly Norman architecture, the celebrated ruins insist on their geographically and temporally foreign origins, marking a break from the of the Anglo-Saxon peoples from whom “England” derives its name. Still, the monument reflects a critical development on the road to British nationhood and gestures to other Norman remnants in today’s , such as the modern English lexicon derived from romance languages. Even this testimony troubles categorical boundaries, however, because it displaces features of “medieval” culture in the “modern” world. Characterized by such paradoxes, medieval sites confront the traveler with the weaknesses inherent to accepted categories and offer an alternative perspective on the similarity and difference among modern peoples.

When gauging the medieval inheritance in foreign nations, Romantic travelers accessed a model of shared heritage that also preserved regional differences. The feudal socio-economic systems that characterized medieval England and France closely resembled those of Italy and Germany. Furthermore, Catholicism predominated medieval religious life in Europe. However, medieval history also testifies to regional differences.

As noted, vernacular literatures emerged, and native populations incorporated foreign influences into their collective identities. Even among devout Catholics, disagreements produced diverse theological factions. The variety of medieval monastic orders, even of occupations within a monastic order, demonstrates the diversity in medieval culture. Yet even as differences solidified, commonalities thrived. In addition to the prevalence of 23

Catholic and feudal rule, literary production continued to employ Latin as a shared vocabulary that facilitated cultural exchange. This balance of similarity and difference, communal and exclusive identity was a compelling lure to Romantic travelers.

It is well-known that Romantic literature frequently employs cosmopolitan topoi.

Andrew Cusack notes that links the concept with Romanticism in L’École romantique or Die Romantische Schule (“The Romantic School” 1833).24 Drawing on

Heine’s (“The Journey” 1826), a travel narrative detailing Heine’s tour through the Harz mountains, Cusack concludes that offers

Romantics a means of crafting identities based on human interests. This method transcends limited temporal and spatial contexts and provides an alternative to regional or national models, an appealing contribution to the Romantic interest in crafting a universal literature (167). In addition, he observes that it resolves the Romantic skepticism that any form of identification ever could transcend the fluctuating realities of historical existence.

Joseph Texte’s 1895 study of Rousseau also links Romanticism and cosmopolitanism. He concludes that “Romantisme, c’est cosmopolitisme” (“Romanticism is cosmopolitanism”

454), but other analyses offer a more moderate perspective. Esther Wohlgemut suggests that cosmopolitanism provided Romantics with a concept of community that allowed for diversity in shared experiences (3-4). She explores how cosmopolitanism “subordinates the historical inescapability of place to a trans-historical, trans-national ethical constant,

24 Though Heine published the in French and German, German was his native language and preferred language for publications. My quotations, therefore, are taken from the German edition. This essay was written in French and German as a rejoinder to Germaine de Staël’s De L’Allemagne, a text that names both A.W. and F. Schlegel the most renowned literary critics in Germany (see chapter 31). Her opening observations of the German people point to “l’esprit du moyen âge” as their brightest collective memory, but others like Heine identified a problematic tendency to incarnate a fantasized Middle Ages in the modern world. 24 creating a form of nationness” (1). To reinforce her conclusion, she draws on Bruce

Robbins’ definition of the nation as “situatedness in displacement” (173), speaking to the

Romantic investment in moving beyond the need for boundaries delineated through contingent circumstances.

Wohlgemut accurately describes a tension inherent to Romantic cosmopolitanism and the category of nation, but the historical inescapability of place is not always subordinated in Romantic literature. More specifically, the historical testimony of place is not subordinate when that place manifests a medieval legacy as an active contributor to modern life. Wordsworth, de Staël, and Byron’s Romantic medievalisms emphasize the ways that places manifest alternative modes of being in the world and gesture to those modes as a means of solving contemporary problems. Medieval history is defined by its position between the ancient and modern periods, and medievalism inherently presumes a medieval presence outside those boundaries. Their work implicitly argues that medievalist sites, places that remain integral to modern life while testifying to the medieval past, manifest a displaced history, a history beyond conventional borders that provides alternatives to problematic contemporary categorization. Like cosmopolitanism, medievalism manifests a departure from the confines of spatial and temporal contingency, accounting for the prevalence of Romantic medievalisms.

As more identifiably Romantic literature entered public circulation, select texts cemented the link between Romanticism and a fundamental interest in managing the medieval past for modern audiences. One of the most cited and celebrated texts in

Romantic circles, Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s Julie, ou Lettres des Deux Amants, ou La

Nouvelle Héloïse, had established a connection between modernity and the Middle Ages 25 in 1761, explicitly invoking the famous medieval love affair of Abelard and Heloise. In

German circles, the name “Romantic” appeared in the Athenaeum precisely because the medieval inheritance proved so central a foundation to the innovation Schlegel prescribed. In France, de Staël brought Schlegel’s notion of “Romantisch” to France through the publication of De l’Allemagne in 1810. Though concepts of the “romantique” were already circulating throughout Europe, some critics believe that de Staël’s text launched French Romanticism.25 François-René de Chateaubriand is also hailed as a founder of French Romanticism in conjunction with de Staël, and he celebrated the medieval cultural inheritance in Génie du christianisme (1802). In England,

Wordsworth’s 1798 unites the modern “lyric” with the traditional medieval folk “ballad” through its title. Numerous texts explicitly connected the new

“Romantic” literature with the medieval past as a way to further progress and generate innovative cultural production.

In contrast, makes no mention of the medieval romance in his 1797 essay “Of History and Romance,” but his description of romance nevertheless builds on the medieval tradition. Naming “Romance” the highest form of historical writing, Godwin describes its aim as the “delineation of consistent, human character, in a display of the manner in which such a character acts under successive circumstances”

(372). His description implicitly gestures to traditional interpretations of medieval knight- errancy. Walter Kudrycz, for example, characterizes the “knight-errant journeying through a mysterious and hostile environment” as “a process of self-discovery and

25 See Allain Vaillan and Stéphanie Tribouillard. Machteld de Poortere calls her a “précurseur du romantisme” (“a precursor of romanticism” 49), but Chantal Bertrand Jennings’ opening chapter in his book on the Romanticism of the Romantics analyzes her novels. 26 transformation” (55). He concludes that Schlegel’s “romantisch” was therefore an encapsulation of the new movement’s most fundamental concerns and beliefs, as well as an embracing of the medieval world” (55). Although “embracing” is perhaps too sympathetic a term for the general Romantic investment in the medieval, Kudrycz’s work demonstrates how Godwin’s “romance” reflects a medievalism. Furthermore, this medievalism illustrates the prevalence of the Romantic investment in offering prescriptive examples of how to negotiate the medieval inheritance.

As noted, for such as Wordsworth, de Staël, and Byron, contemporary medievalisms posed a problem that required an intervention. From the eighteenth century onward, gothic novels and propagandist literature presented a sensationalized, lurid, and bewitching Middle Ages. Claire Saunders argues that British women writers observed how medieval allusions contributed to a modern dismissal of the violence and oppression that accompanied imperial expansion and, as a result, developed corrective medievalisms that emphasized chivalric violence and the suffering caused by tyrannical subjugation.

However, this medievalist intervention was not unique to British women writers of the nineteenth century, and it appears in Wordsworth, de Staël, and Byron’s work. Their medievalisms address how imagination can cultivate an exotic notion of the medieval and implicitly remedy such misapplied imagination by tying the Middle Ages to the places that manifest an authentic medieval past. This intervention correlates to their

Romanticism because it attempts to promote a better, more progressive future by correcting present flaws. However, contemporaries feared that Romantic medievalisms, like sensationalist gothic novels, only perpetuated nostalgic, escapist, and problematic modern tendencies. 27

Even as the earliest conceptions of Romanticism and the Romantic circulated, criticism censured tendencies within those labels to privilege the medieval. Heinrich

Heine’s famous 1833 essay on the Romantics offers such a criticism and attempts to redefine Romanticism without such unfettered nostalgia. Naming Schlegel as the leader of the school, Heine fondly remembers a time when Schlegel and his followers had not yet been transported “ganz ins Mittelalter zurück” (27) or “completely back to the Middle

Ages” (Mustard 17).26 Even further, he defines the Romantic School according to

Schlegel’s own characterization, insisting that the school was “nichts anders als die

Wiedererweckung der Poesie des Mittelalters, wie sie sich in dessen Liedern, Bild-und

Bauwerken, in Kunst und Leben manifestiert hatte” (11) or “nothing other than the revival of the poetry of the Middle Ages as manifested in the songs, sculpture, and architecture, in the art and life of that time” (3). Heine explains that the problem with such nostalgic preoccupations lies in their detraction from progress, in how that kind of medievalism “saugt uns das rote Leben aus der Brust” (163; “sucks the red life from the heart” 125) of German people. Heine cautions that the public will no longer strive for progress when indulging in the fantastic nostalgia of an exoticized Middle Ages.

The Romantic fascination with the medieval inheritance garnered similar criticism beyond German intellectual circles. In France, Désiré Nisard laments the popularity of Sir

Walter Scott’s historical romances in his 1830 review of the author’s complete works from the Journal des Débats. Even further, Nisard’s 1844 history of describes everything written between the fall of Rome and the sixteenth century as

26 Die Romantische Schule, a.k.a. L’École romantique or “The Romantic School.” English translations are taken from Mustard’s edition. 28

“bégayements” or “stammerings” (2).27 That same history insisted that the medieval romanz did not, as antiquarians would suggest, mark the beginning of French literature.

Nisard concluded that the French language remained too primitive and unsophisticated in those texts, even if the compositions signaled a move toward vernacular literature in lieu of the Latin lingua franca.

Those sympathetic to also criticized its tendency toward overly indulgent medieval fantasies. Théophile Gautier, an active participant in French

Romantic circles, satirizes the tendency among his contemporaries to disappear into the

Middle Ages through his “Elias Wildmanstadius” (1833). Gautier insists that

“de toutes ces espèces de jeunes France, le jeune France Moyen Âge est la plus nombreuse” (296; “of all the species of Young France, the medieval is the most numerous” Sumichrast 271) and cautions the reader against criticizing “celle âme du XVe siècle au XIXe” (297; “a fifteenth century soul in the midst of the nineteenth century”

Sumichrast 272), naming the deceased Elias a former friend.28 However gently he advises the reader to judge such a protagonist, the story reveals Elias to be a ridiculous and pathetic figure, happy only at the moment of his death when lightning strikes his beloved cathedral and they unite in their mutual destruction.

English critics adopt similar postures. In 1825, published textual portraits of key players in contemporary cultural production. One of these names Sir

Walter Scott as the most popular writer of the time, but “just half what the human intellect is capable of being” (Spirit 123) because his work mires the present entirely in

27 Nisard also published Essais sur l’ècole romantique where he noted that some critics viewed Victor Hugo as a “vrai demon du moyen âge” (21), a real medieval demon. 28 The original story appears in his collection Les Jeunes France, but an English translation also exists. See “Elias Wildmanstadius.” 29 the past and never looks to the future. Hazlitt views this tendency in the “author of

Waverley” so negatively that he indulges in violent, tortuous comparisons: “He has ransacked old chronicles, and poured the contents upon his page; he has squeezed out old musty records” (133). Yet Hazlitt admits the virtue in this art, that “there is no romance like the romance of real life” (133). Still, he wonders, “Would [Scott] carry us back to the early stages of barbarism, of clanship, of the feudal system as ‘a consummation devoutly to be wished?’“ (138). This inner conflict over the attraction of the medieval disappears in the comments on Godwin’s Caleb Williams (1794), where Hazlitt describes Falkland,

Caleb’s master, as a of the “romantic and chivalrous principle of the love of personal fame” (45), overlooking the character’s marked indiscretions.29 In the end,

Hazlitt explicitly compares Godwin’s style of romance with Scott’s, pointing to Godwin as the superior because of his originality.

Even after the nineteenth century, accusations of escapism continued to haunt

Romantic writers. Ezra Pound (1885-1972) and his fellow modernists famously dismissed for its idealist, escapist tendencies. Pound’s accusations against Romantic literature appear in writings throughout his lifetime, rather than concentrate in any single text. His general observations on literary production, of which comments on Romantic writings constitute a small portion, insist that, rather than

29 Hazlitt refers to Falkland as the victim of Caleb’s curiosity and never mentions the torture that Falkland inflicts on Caleb. At the beginning of the novel, Caleb observes Falkland’s occasional fits of rage and seeks to discover the cause. His investigation uncovers a serious transgression: Falkland murdered a neighbor and participated in the conviction of two tenants for that crime. As a result, Falkland torments Caleb as punishment for such curiosity, and it is curious that Hazlitt would overlook this plot in such a popular work. Perhaps he relied on the reader’s knowledge of the work to situate his comment as an ironic reading that highlights the problems with medieval imitations in modern contexts. 30 reinvigorate the present through the past, authors should strive to “make it new” (the title of a collection of essays on modern literature published in 1934). In a similar vein,

György Lukács (1885-1971), a Marxist Hungarian philosopher, described the Romantic spirit as escapism from a capitalist reality in the 1961 Goethe and His Age (58-9).

Today, criticism still exhibits a burdened preoccupation with such accusations.

Jerome McGann attributes “an escapist gesture of a special sort” to Romanticism, “not into the future, or into art, but into the flux of everything which is most immediate, a flight into the surfaces of poetry and life, the of verse, the high energy of instant sensations and feelings” (Romantic Ideology 127). Richard C. Sha anticipates how his analysis of Romantic sexual liberation will “result in a less escapist Romanticism” (16), and P.M.S. Dawson explains that escapist tendencies arise from too much Romantic investment in social change rather than too little. For him, accusations of escapism misread the “strategy of compensation, an attempt to lodge themselves (and their readers) in more congenial worlds of their own creation to console them for their inability to transform this world” (79). Nevertheless, notions of a problematically escapist

Romanticism remain embedded as the distinction between “Romantic” and “romantic” testifies. The first applies to a movement or school in cultural production, but the second often serves as a synonym for that which is idealistic, nostalgic, or unrealistically optimistic. Such applications echo the critiques of Romanticism levied by Heine, Nisard, and Hazlitt, rendering the hesitance in contemporary criticism to concentrate on medievalisms in Romantic literature understandable. Still, the newer conception of medievalism as a presentist phenomenon provides a foundation for research that precludes escapist readings. 31

Taking a cue from Heinrich Heine, contemporary Romantic criticism may concentrate on medievalisms that seek to augment rather than overtake the present. As

Jerome McGann explains, “At every point Heine is concerned with the immediate relevance of removed cultural resources” (The Romantic Ideology 34). In other words,

Heine did not criticize Romantic medievalism because it recuperated medieval elements: he abhorred how the medieval swallowed the present in select Romantic texts. In fact,

Heine admitted that the medieval revival did not have to cause harm. Contrasting French and German medievalism in “The Romantic School,” he argues that the French deprived the medieval of any power to cause harm by adopting it only for pleasure, or for “artistic interests” (124). He compares the “Gothic fad” in France to fashionable coiffures and insists that the French will change the style as soon as fashion promotes another fad.

However, he insists that German Romantic medievalism remains a threat because it encourages escapist inattention to present events and future obligations. Still, there are glimmers of light in the literary landscape, notably the works of who,

Heine insists, “had no intention of producing a faithful copy of the German past” (118).

Despite his heavy use of medieval motifs, Uhland exemplifies what medievalism could and should be, according to Heine. As McGann explains, Uhland’s work is self- referential and progressive precisely because it proceeded from investigation of the past as the method by which the present can be understood and critiqued (55). Heine suggests that the historical self-consciousness embodied in this kind of medievalism forces historical self-consciousness on future readers, a necessary prerequisite to positive change.30

30 Although she does cite Heine, Elizabeth Fay’s articulation of medievalism posits a 32

Claire A. Simmons has demonstrated how prevalent such medievalisms were in the early nineteenth century. The introduction to her seminal work in medievalist studies,

Popular Medievalism in Romantic Era Britain (2011), considers the relationship between the Romantic and the medieval inheritance as a necessary component of progressive ideologies. Establishing the relevance of the medieval in Romantic era politics, she draws on Elizabeth Fay’s description of Romanticism as a “Janus-faced movement” (Romantic

Medievalism 1). Fay coined the phrase because the Romantic looks to the past in order to look toward the future and she insists that the political impulses driving the viewer determine his or her image of that past. Simmons agrees with Fay that “medievalism is never disinterested” (Popular Medievalism 12), though she argues that some interpretations of the medieval prove more subjective than others. Nevertheless, this constitutes the appeal, for medievalism compels “some level of conscious contrast between the reader’s (or observer’s) present and the recreated medieval past” (12).

Though the link between Romanticism and the Middle Ages remains one of the more ideologically burdened qualities of the Romantic, recent analysis has revitalized interest in exploring that connection.31 In the mid-nineties, Barbara Keller’s Middle Ages

Reconsidered (1994) demonstrated the importance of the medieval as “le bon vieux temps” for the old order in France and as a subjective ideal that could serve as a suitable foundation for the modern nation. Michael Glencross considered a similar relationship

similar significance. She insists that medievalism is always a self-aware and comparative phenomenon. 31The degree of interest in the medieval varies according to national disciplinary boundaries. German critical circles accept the medieval connection to Romanticism as an inheritance from the movement and have the benefit of contemporary definitions like that of Schlegel or Heine that interweave the medieval revival directly with Romantic innovation. Self-aware definitions and clear ties to medieval texts are less forthcoming in other national traditions like French or British literary studies. 33 between medieval studies and conceptions of the nation in Reconstructing Camelot

(1995), where he identified two distinct medievalist trends, one in the professional and the other in the popular sector. A few years later, Elizabeth Fay published Romantic

Medievalism (2002), which reads conceptions of the poet in Romantic writing as a radical reinvention of the troubadour. Picking up this thread, Saunders identified a feminine medievalism where medieval motifs provide a protective veil for criticizing contemporary politics and glorified imperial violence (Women Writers and Nineteenth-

Century Medievalism 2009), and Simmons demonstrated the critical role that the medieval inheritance played in rights discourse from the late eighteenth to early nineteenth centuries (Popular Medievalism in Romantic Era Britain 2011). Walter

Kudrycz adopted yet another approach in 2011, characterizing Romantic medievalism as an attempt to salvage and to reinvigorate unity, as well as to end alienation (Historical

57). Such studies prove invaluable as a demonstration of the important contribution medievalism offers to Romantic criticism, but they have far from exhausted possible avenues of investigation.

This dissertation maps their Romantic medievalisms, a previously unidentified feature of Romantic writing in general and in the writing of these authors in particular.

While Wordsworth, de Staël, and Byron each approach medievalism in his or her own way, they all communicate that a physical location is essential to a beneficial medievalism. Each of them identifies a problematic manifestation of the past in the present and corrects it by gesturing to manifestations of the past that are tied to places.

These place-based medievalisms offer a considerable testimony about the prevalence and nature of the Romantic investment in the Middle Ages. As a correction to contemporary 34 folly, their medievalisms correspond to their Romantic investment in crafting literature that enacts positive change, and through the connection to medievalist temporality, their literary medievalisms transcend limited spatial and temporal contingencies.

Chapter one of the present study explores an oft-remarked yet little-analyzed phenomenon in Wordsworth’s autobiographical poems: anachronism. Descriptive

Sketches (1793), Tufts of Primroses (1806), and editions of following 1816 all include anachronistic descriptions of his 1790 visit to the monastery as both a biographical anomaly and as a formal construct. Identifying two forms of anachronism in his passages on Chartreuse, 1) the merging of his experiences 1790 with the 1792 destruction of the monastery and 2) a-historical poetics via narrative lyric, I argue that he critiques contemporary responses to the medieval legacy and crafts a corrective medievalism based on his experience at Chartreuse. I suggest that these anachronisms emerge as a response to conceptions about medieval barbarity and tyranny held by his contemporaries, especially by his more fanatical pro-Revolutionary acquaintances in

France. Furthermore, I maintain that the historical and national contexts of his monastic sojourn led him to incorporate anachronism as a formal structure in his writing, i.e., as the interruption of biographical narratives by a lyric voice, and that anachronism provided a means by which the Middle Ages could inhabit the present without dominating it, ensuring that its positive legacy remained accessible, while preventing the negative legacy from further influence. In other words, I claim that Chartreuse modeled a mode of existing in the world that transcended spatial and temporal contingency and that 35 he incorporated that model into his writing as a remedial medievalism for present problems and as an example of the kind of temporality he hoped to achieve in literature.32

The second chapter of this study considers de Staël’s portrait of the medieval

Italian inheritance in her travelogue/novel Corinne, ou l’Italie. Rather than counter the association of the medieval with the Dark Ages, de Staël crafts a medievalism based on the very qualities that troubled Enlightenment philosophers. She insists that the past becomes all the more oppressive when physically absent and points to the testimony of medieval sites in Italy as a model for navigating the inevitable recurrence of oppression and grief. Setting the novel only a few years before Napoleon’s Italian campaign in 1795, de Staël emphasizes the rise and fall of empires, the ebb and flow of domination and liberation, through medieval sites such as Santa Croce or the Bonaventura monastery at

San Giovanni e Paolo. She demonstrates that this medievalism, though grounded in place, is categorically displaced, recording a history of the liminal, in-between era where the only unifying qualities among Italian people are the prevailing ambition for liberty and the grief that that ambition is thwarted so often. Like Wordsworth’s anachronism, de

Staël’s medievalism corresponds to the innovative formal structure of Corinne, a chimerical amalgamation that occupies a position outside the generic conventions of the gothic novel, sentimental literature, travelogue, and travel narrative; thus, she also likewise connects her place-based medievalism with her Romantic attempts to craft a progressive, universal literature.

32 Jonah Kishel identifies violence as the source of Wordsworth’s objection to the destruction of Chartreuse, and while I agree that Wordsworth certainly paints revolutionary violence in problematic terms, there is a broader objection tied to historiography and temporality. For Kishel’s argument, see “Wordsworth and the Grande Chartreuse.” 36

The third chapter concentrates on Byron’s Prisoner of Chillon and selections from the third canto of Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage. Byron lived close to the castle from which the former derives its name for some months, from June through November of 1816, taking more than one guided tour and often walking to enjoy the prospect of Lake

Geneva from the hill facing the castle’s one and only entrance. This period proved to be one of the most fruitful for his writing, and critics identify a significant shift in his work during this time. This chapter attributes that shift, at least in part, to his interactions with

Chillon, an inhabited, operating medieval monument. Proceeding from Germany to

Geneva and travelling down the Rhine, Byron encountered numerous examples of impressive ; none captured his attention or received such extensive attention in his writing as Chillon. I attribute that interest to Chillon’s medievalist monumentality. I suggest that Byron encountered a medievalism at Chillon similar to those found in Wordsworth and de Staël’s work and that he theorized a means to circumvent the chains of history without self-annihilation through that medievalism.

Inhabiting history through imagination, he set out to write the monument and points to monumental testimony as the answer to Childe Harold’s torment. Doing so exposed the mechanisms that drive historical testimony and deprived history of its power to control the individual’s response to contemporary historical pressures.

To date, Romantic criticism enacts the Romantic investment in transgressing contingent categories by charting a field of specialization that transcends the borders traditionally used to plot literature. Over two hundred years after William Wordsworth and first published Lyrical Ballads in 1798, Romanticism conferences amass presentations on literary works from the eighteenth century to the 37 twenty-first, defying conceptions of a Romantic “Period,” “School,” or “Movement.”

Yet, the diversity among these selections and the blossoming of such texts during select historical moments problematizes definitions based on aesthetics or themes. Ideology offers no solution, for the “Romantic” label covers both conservative and liberal political and moral views. Ricarda Schmidt observes, “The Romantic epoch has, as is well known, been associated with diametrically opposed evaluations,...escapist or realist, or progressive in many evaluations” (21).33 However, critical consensus has identified particularly Romantic qualities such as historicity, a self-awareness of one’s position in historical narrative; local color, an attention to the minute details that mark distinct qualities of individual places and cultures; and the school of nature, an attention to natural phenomena as a point of metaphysical enlightenment and moral education.34

33 “From early to late Romanticism” 21-40. 34 Although critics agree that existing boundaries for Romanticism prove problematic at times, key contributors like René Wellek, , , M.H. Abrams, and Jerome McGann posit definitions that illustrate Romanticism’s wayward tendencies. Wellek, an advocate for a European Romantic school, identifies Romanticism according to themes, such as the power of creative imagination, symbolism, and the conception of nature. Though Abrams stops short of such a comprehensive analysis, he also emphasizes Romantic themes like alienation and limits Romanticism to , tracing the development of Romantic lyricism from seventeenth and eighteenth century loco-descriptive poems. For Abrams, the Romantic emerges through the failure to realize millennial expectations, resulting in a natural-supernaturalism that secularized theological concepts like hope and spiritual transcendence. Bloom’s “The Internalization of Quest- Romance” frames Romanticism as an adaptation of the medieval romance-quest in which the libidinous self searches for liberation from its anxiety, but Frye emphasizes less qualitative boundaries. He names Romanticism “a historical center of gravity, which falls somewhere around the 1790-1830 period” in an effort to account for the aesthetic qualities of the Romantic as well as the historical ties of the texts. McGann similarly emphasizes the historical period in which the “Romantic” manifests. Advocating analytical methods rather than a fixed definition, he insists that critics must avoid engaging Romantic self-representations and concentrate instead on the differences between Romantic texts, those that preceded them, and contemporary literary works outside of the “Romantic” label. Taking McGann’s suggestion to heart as a way of mitigating the limitations of a fixed Romantic category, my analysis seeks not “to 38

These qualities establish a critical field for Romantic studies, facilitating analytical exchange and interpretive developments, and it is telling that many of the accepted seminal works in Romantic literature derive from the author’s venturing out away from home either literally or through his or her imagination.

In the last decade, criticism has increasingly probed the Romantic interest in travel and uncovered a plethora of readings that emphasize the transcendent or transgressive experiences that travel affords. Nicola J. Watson’s The Literary Tourist

(2006) tracks the growing obsession among the Romantics with visiting the places that had been mentioned in books, an act that blurs the lines between and reality, and others note even more radical breaches. Similarly invested in tourist trends, Paul

Westover recently tracked the increasing attempts to commune with the dead by visiting historical sites from the mid-eighteenth to mid-nineteenth centuries in Necromanticism

(2012). Criticism, he suggests, has failed to adequately emphasize the examples of

“‘necromantic’ verse” in of the Romantic Era and their “fundamentally touristic” qualities (8), entreating future analysts to consider at length “the culture’s need to visit the issues [necromantic verses] raise time and again” (9). Recognizing these wayward qualities in Romantic literature, Jeffrey Cass’s introduction to Romantic Border

Crossings insists that scholars should strive to craft definitive narratives for Romanticism that mirror its errant tendencies. He calls on Romanticists to heed concerns voiced in studies on the state of Comparative Literature that boundaries can stagnate and kill a discipline and to engage in scholarship that crafts identity narratives without problematic

‘define’ the period but to sketch its dynamic possibilities” (Byron 241) through medievalisms. 39 temporal and national boundaries (10-1).35 Significantly, he insists that Romantic literature itself communicates this need by noting that potentiality in landscapes becomes limited through markers and reminders of human history. Like Watson and Westover,

Cass connects a peculiarly keen interest in transgressive ventures, i.e., travel, with the flowering of Romanticism, calling on future critics to puncture existing boundaries and to chart a new transgressive identity for Romanticism that relates to its literal and figurative wanderings.

Through place-based medievalisms, this dissertation explores another intersection between Romanticism and tourism. It gestures to medievalism as a common feature in

Romantic production, illustrating how encounters with the Middle Ages in the long eighteenth century contributed to formal literary innovations. Rather than promote escapism and nostalgic longing, the medievalisms that I chart circumvent fantastic engagements with the medieval legacy, correcting overly nostalgic medievalisms by insisting on active engagement with authentic historical testimonies. I assert that medievalism is a significant component in European Romanticism and that it is intimately connected to the Romantic investment in travel. As with the scope of

Romanticism itself, the nature and significance of the medievalism change according to the text under inquiry. Thus, I outline a broader understanding of medievalism by identifying three different manifestations of a common type of medievalism in Romantic cultural production: a medievalism based on historical sites that record approaches to

35 Cass cites Gayatri Spivak’s Death of a Discipline, Djelal Kadir’s study on the state of the discipline from 2004, Susan Bassnett’s Comparative Literature, and David Damrosch’s What is World Literature as evidence of a crisis in the disciplinary boundaries of Comparative Literature. 40 medieval history. Doing so contributes to critical attempts to engage the abstract and establish boundaries, however permeable, for the field of Romantic studies.

In narrow terms, this dissertation uncovers new readings of Romantic texts. In broader terms, this dissertation identifies a previously unexamined form of Romantic medievalism that advances Romanticism’s overarching work: driving progress by crafting universal cultural production and by charting the commonalities of human experience that transcend contingent spatial and temporal contexts. As a whole, my analysis of the place-based medievalisms in the writings of William Wordsworth,

Germaine de Staël, and Lord George Gordon Byron opens a new investigative avenue in

Romantic studies and furthers the critical ambition to map the nature and breadth of

Romantic literature.


William Wordsworth’s Anachronisms and the Medievalist Grande Chartreuse

Although William Wordsworth’s work rarely appears in critical analyses of medievalism, close readings of specific texts have long observed his anxious attraction to the medieval.36 Complementing medievalist works like The White Doe of Rylstone

(1815) and The Egyptian Maid (1835), Wordsworth’s poetry frequently reveals a preoccupation with medieval sites. The Prelude (1798-1850), for example, traces the development of his poetic genius through interactions with the natural world, and gothic structures punctuate his experiences. As a child, he plays by the castle, “a shattered Monument/ of feudal sway” (I. 284-5);37 in his youth, he races through the country around Abbey; and at the university, he finds refuge among St. John the

Evangelist’s “gothic Courts” (III. 47). On the 1790 continental tour, such scenes were no longer ruins but living incarnations of a problematic inheritance. One of them, the Grande

Chartreuse, proved especially interesting to Wordsworth and, when it was destroyed, profoundly disappointing. It is likely his first experience with a working monastery, and he consistently returned to his memory of it in his writing.38

36Though select critics observe a medieval presence in Wordsworth’s works, that presence is most often attributed to a desire to appeal to contemporary popular tastes rather than conscientious interest. For example, Peter Manning identifies Wordsworth’s medievalism as a literary convention, suggesting that the shifts in his poetry toward more and more medieval content correspond to changing tastes in literary circles. See “Wordsworth at St. Bees: Scandal, Sisterhoods, and Wordsworth’s Later Poetry.” 37 Quotations taken from the 1805 Prelude unless otherwise noted. 38 Though Wordsworth had the opportunity literally to revisit Chartreuse in his 1820 tour of the continent, he refused to do so. Dorothy and Mary went up to the gate to view the prospect from the hill “Chartreuse,” but could not visit the monastery proper because the monks neither allowed female visitors nor had yet rebuilt the monastery proper. Female travelers in the past who wished to rest there were given quarters in the gatehouse while 42

Nestled high in the between Grenoble and Chambéry, the Grande Chartreuse was in 1790 and is today an isolated and self-sufficient estate that stimulates the aim of

Carthusian life: silent and solitary contemplation. It was founded in the eleventh century by St. Bruno in what would become known as the “desert of the Carthusians,” and the isolated location proved critical to the cloister’s way of life. The order hosts two kinds of monks, both of which take vows of silence and solitude.39 One group upholds that vow by living within an almost entirely self-sufficient cell, while the other group tends the monastery lands and provides supplies to their hermit brothers. This uniquely reclusive lifestyle was the subject of Philip Gröning’s Die Grosse Stille [Into Great Silence], a

2007 documentary that follows the modern lives of the monks. His film reflects the monastery’s ongoing commitment to its medieval roots as well as the order’s connection to their Alpine surroundings. The harsh and inhospitable setting reinforces their austere lifestyle, encouraging an inward retreat from the corporeal world, and in the eighteenth century, it denied easy access to revolutionaries seeking to destroy medieval sites in their

Republican zeal.

The 1789 destruction of the Bastille launched the Revolution that led to the formulation of the National Assembly. As the Revolution progressed into the formation of a new government, Republican propaganda of the time continued to link oppressive infrastructures with the architectural structures in the French landscape.40 Soliciting

their male companions stayed in guest quarters within the cloister, but Mary and Dorothy stayed in Liège, the village below, with Wordsworth. 39 For more information about the Carthusian way of life, see Jessica Brantley 121-66. 40 From 1789 to 1792, the French government transformed several times, each articulating a subtle shift in the kind of assembly and moving closer toward the First Republic, founded in September of 1792. The dislike of medieval infrastructures remained consistent through the various governments. 43 support from the French public through historiographical propaganda, the new government articulated its claim to authority in the early 1790’s through a progressive view of history. The Assembly deposed an aristocracy that had been in power since the

Middle Ages, insisted that living remnants of the medieval world were fundamentally opposed to progress and modernity. Functioning Castles, cathedrals, and cloisters, they asserted, perpetuated abusive power structures like the feudalist regime and the Catholic

Church. To that end, the systematic destruction and adaptation of living remnants became an emblem that a new, better era had begun in France.41 In 1789 the Assembly banned all functioning monasteries along with feudalism, and in 1790 Chartreuse was a dangerously symbolic remnant, despite its seclusion from the outside world.42 Thanks to that seclusion, the monastery continued to function until 1792 when the state sent soldiers to enforce its anti-monastic policies and occupy what had been Carthusian property.43 At the

41 I have addressed the variance in approaches to the material inheritance in the introduction. For more information on the variety of approaches to revolutionary violence and conceptions of progress, see Jochen Schlobach. 42 Most of the monastic property was auctioned to raise money for the state, and critics of the new government argued that this simply shifted ownership from one oppressor to another. For more information about the dissolution of the monasteries or the relationship between the governing body and the church after the Revolution, see Michael P. Fitzsimmons The the Old Regime Ended 47-92 and Noah Shusterman The French Revolution: Faith, Desire and Politics 55-87. Elizabeth Rapley provides an extensive history of French monasticism from the Revolution to the fall of Napoléon in The Lord as Their Portion 227-59. 43 The government’s impetus to destroy Chartreuse stemmed from the rising Cult of Reason and increasing efforts to de-Christianize France. Although other monastic holdings included fertile and productive land, the Carthusian desert produced little income and was therefore less implicated in the argument that monasteries prevented the French populace from accessing the best possible land for agricultural enterprises. The 1789 decree was partially the result of financial motivations, for the Catholic Church had the largest land holdings in France as well as a sizable income from tithes. However, external and internal pressures soon required a more attentive regulation of the religious ideology. The pope denounced the French constitution in 1791, and by 1793, groups in the French populace had grown increasingly resistant to any Christian presence in the 44 time of Wordsworth’s visit in 1790, therefore, Chartreuse remained largely unaltered since its foundation, a precariously living medieval institution that would be destroyed before he finished composing a record of his visit.

Today, accounts of Wordsworth’s life bear a striking testimony to the importance of his monastic sojourn. Dorothy Wordsworth wrote Henry Crabb Robinson that no other

“spot which he visited during his youthful travels with Robert Jones made so great an impression on his mind; and, in my young days, he used to talk so much of it to me, that it was a great disappointment when I found that the Chartreuse was not to come into our tour” (Letter). notes himself “fully disposed to believe, with Wordsworth, that there is nothing finer” than Chartreuse after visiting it in person in 1817 (Letter). 44

Though Wordsworth did not adopt the monastic lifestyle, he replicated a similar balance of solitary and communal life at , adapting the Carthusian lifestyle for his own ends. He moved into a small cottage with his sister, wife, and daughter, and was joined by fellow Romantics and their families. Samuel Taylor Coleridge and Southey were among those living in this country neighborhood, and others like and

Thomas De Quincey occasionally joined the group. Together, they formed a community based on writing that encouraged contemplation and communal discussions on their solitary meditations.45

government. The September Massacres in 1792 illustrate the violent responses that accompanied the government’s slow response to end institutional religion. 44 Letter to Edith Southey, June 11, 1817 in . 45 Carthusian monks communicate almost exclusively through writing. En route to the chapel, they pass a room of mailboxes where they can pass notes and consult each other about their solitary reflections. They only break the communal silence to discuss their work, and these discussions often occur on nature walks. They also provide each hermit cell with a private garden, encouraging contemplation through contact with nature. The 45

Carthusian echoes also appear in Wordsworth’s compositions, illustrating an explicit preoccupation with his visit to the monastery that continued until his death. He mentions Chartreuse explicitly in the 1793 Descriptive Sketches,46 the 1808 Tufts of

Primroses, and in both the 1805 and 1850 versions of The Prelude. In fact, the lengthiest revisions to that work concern Chartreuse, the first stop on his Alpine Tour, increasing the passage describing the monastery from ten lines in 1805 to eighty in 1850. All of the

Chartreuse lines illustrate his awareness that its active monasticism problematizes contemporary notions of progress. Elaborating on the historical context in which he toured France, they each draw attention to the controversy over monasticism as a source of some anxiety, though only three address the political significance of a working monastery explicitly. 47 These same three passages also locate a scene he never witnessed personally but knew through acquaintances, the 1792 expulsion of the monks, within his

1790 tour,48 a politically volatile anachronism.

Taken from the Greek “anachronismos,” anachronism denotes something “against time” or rather against a conception of temporality. In the mid-eighteenth century

Giambattista Vico outlined four types of anachronism in Principles of the New Science

(1725): 1) defining an uneventful period as eventful, 2) defining an eventful period as

community at Grasmere also replicated such nature walks and encouraged contemplation through nature. 46 Unless otherwise noted, I will quote from the 1793 edition of Descriptive Sketches. 47 The exceptional passage is in the 1805 edition of The Prelude, but even there, the Revolution remains ever-present if less threatening. Specifically, Wordsworth refers to himself and Jones as “forerunners in a glorious course” (VI. 412) of the French populace, invoking the revolution and the historiographical propaganda implicitly. 48 Joshua Lucock Wilkinson also visited Chartreuse shortly after Wordsworth, and the two men likely compared notes when they met in Paris in 1792. Though he “was not impressed” (Jarvis 114), Wilkinson objected primarily to the asceticism of the monks, criticizing their withdrawal from the world and reliance on rituals. 46 uneventful, 3) uniting periods that should be separated, and 4) separating periods that should be united. As Isaiah Berlin notes, Vico’s delineation highlights how anachronism draws attention to a shared vision of historical or chronological order, for without a shared temporal perspective, there is no foundation from which to judge anomalies.49

Anachronism exists only in historiography, in other words, not historicity, and it challenges that historiography. Thus, Hans Magnus Enzensberger insists that “The temptation to judge anachronism on moral grounds is difficult to resist, but perhaps its actual scandalousness lies precisely in its indifference to such judgments” (8). Troubling notions of an accurate or faithful historical narrative, anachronism draws attention to who or what shares the vision of history and contradicts that vision, prompting the kind of moral judgment to which Enzensberger refers. For example, Vico’s definitions categorize the revolutionary argument against functioning medieval institutions as an objection to the third kind of anachronism, the union of separate periods, and the fanatical attempts to destroy such medievalisms pronounced a negative judgment against the virtue of such an anomaly.

This chapter explores anachronism in Wordsworth’s Chartreuse passages and identifies it as a medievalism. When he replicates anachronism in his poetry on

Chartreuse, Wordsworth intervenes in the revolutionary controversy regarding contemporary medievalisms. Tracking how awkward temporal slippages in Descriptive

Sketches became sophisticated and intentional temporalities in later compositions, I demonstrate that Wordsworth frames his record of the monastery with the same temporal ideology that justified its destruction and that Wordsworth developed this technique in his

49 Three Critics of the Enlightenment 14. 47 later writings. Each of the passages appears in autobiographical poetry, uniting separate periods by merging the events of 1790 with the events of 1792, but they also adapt anachronism into a formal structure: the temporality of the poetry changes when

Wordsworth reaches Chartreuse. Embracing the very thing that progress discourse in

France perceived as a threat, Wordsworth critiques a linear notion of time and presents an alternative approach to human historicity that is manifest in medievalist places.

Medievalism is inherently anachronistic: it brings a past into the present. However, sites like Chartreuse call that temporality into question by insisting that the medieval past has not passed. In doing so, they provide a contrast to ruins, materials that reinforce temporal designations like the Middle Ages by representing that history as part of the past, and

Wordsworth’s medievalism implicitly argues that living forms of the past prove more helpful to modernity than an absent heritage that is subject to the whims of fancy.

John Bugg’s Five Long Winters recently demonstrated a more nuanced politics undergirding early British Romantic Writings, one less bound to the conservative/liberal dichotomy. Building on his foundation, I argue that Wordsworth’s medievalism suggests a balance of progressive and conservative ideology at work in his early writings because this anachronism charts a path between extreme Conservative and Republican , allowing for positive socio-cultural contributions in the medieval without discounting potentially negative contributions. I maintain that the formal variation of anachronism in these passages connects these nuanced politics to the narrative of Wordsworth’s poetic development. In other words, I suggest that the language of solitude, contemplation, disappointment, and reconciliation gestures toward

Chartreuse as a spot of time. The remedial function of these “spots” situates his 48 medievalist anachronisms as a prescription not only for the poet’s well-being, but also for modern society as a whole.

To date, analyses of Wordsworth’s Chartreuse passages have concentrated on his relationship to the French Revolution and with good reason. The lines consistently criticize the monastery’s destruction, seeming to articulate Wordsworth’s dejection that followed the perversion of revolutionary ideals in France. However, the earliest passage from Descriptive Sketches in 1793 predates the Terror and the period when he claims that dejection took place. Thus, they complicate the accepted narrative of his poetic development, even his own autobiographical account from The Prelude. It is, as David

Ellis notes, a “genuine difficulty” in Wordsworth criticism (170). On the one hand, the

Chartreuse passages remain skeptical of revolutionary acts, while on the other hand validating the ideals like liberty and social equality that led to them.

This tension generates a wide variety of readings. John Williams argues that

Chartreuse proves Wordsworth was “less impressed with Beaupuy’s revolutionary philosophy than The Prelude of 1805 suggests” (41) because it sought to destroy a

“monument to man’s spirituality” (45). Joseph Kishel argues that Wordsworth opposes the violence not on religious grounds, but because it is unnecessary at the monastery and believes the real revolution, one of ideology, has already occurred there. In a similar vein,

Dennis Taylor argues that Wordsworth objects to the blanket condemnation of Catholic organizations. He concludes that the episode shows an early attraction to Catholicism that

Wordsworth continued to work out in his poetry, echoing Kishel’s analysis of the passage. However, Wordsworth’s decision to link Chartreuse consistently with a temporal anomaly remains troubling for these ideological readings. 49

In three out of the four Chartreuse passages, Wordsworth incorporates anachronism, an inherent challenge to revolutionary historiographies that called for the monastery’s destruction. Descriptive Sketches, Tufts of Primroses, and the 1816 edits to

The Prelude explicitly describe the 1792 expulsion of the monks within the context of

Wordsworth’s 1790 tour and implicitly argue in favor of uniting separate periods. In

Descriptive Sketches, Wordsworth highlights non-linear temporalities through the characters in the poem. The first-person-narrator comes to Chartreuse “lur’d by hope her sorrows to remove” (45), a condition that looks toward the future because of the past, and

Wordsworth uses past tense verbs. When he arrives at Chartreuse, the poem slips into present tense verbs that describe past events, i.e. the removal of the monks and the destruction of the monastery, folding time in on itself. In addition to the altered verb tense, the poem situates natural responses to these events as part of the site’s future state: the river’s outcry swells and “long resounds / Portentous, thro’ her old woods’ trackless bounds, / Deepening her echoing torrents’ awful peal” (75-7), and the scene ends with a valley in Chartreuse mourning that her monastery has become “For ever broke” (79).

Like the protagonist’s state of mind, the scene incorporates an infinite temporality, bridging the past, present, and future. By 1816, Wordsworth explicitly protests the monastery’s destruction as an error in temporal understanding: “But oh! If Past and

Future be the wings / On whose support harmoniously conjoined / Moves the great spirit of human knowledge, spare / These courts of mystery” (Prelude 1850 6.448-51) . In the interim, Tuft of Primroses includes the Chartreuse anachronism and reinforces

Wordsworth’s investment in preserving the past for the sake of the future by including a dialogue between two key figures in medieval monasticism, Gregory of Nazianzus and 50

St. Basil.50 These explicit clues to Wordsworth’s temporal preoccupation in Chartreuse are not isolated to Chartreuse passages: as he modified and rewrote the pieces that include lines on Chartreuse, he developed innovative temporal poetics.

The earliest poem that incorporates Chartreuse, the 1793 Descriptive Sketches, shifts in its temporal structure from Wordsworth’s only other publication at the time, An

Evening Walk.51 Geoffrey Hartman’s seminal essay “Wordsworth’s ‘Descriptive

Sketches’ and the Growth of a Poet’s Mind” observes that the earlier poem “preserves quasi-unities of place and time,” while “‘Descriptive Sketches’ does not yield any such impression of unity” (519). Wordsworth’s tour lies between the composition of the two, and Hartman concludes that “the Nature the poet hoped for and the Nature he found were significantly different,” that “his quest, to localize his Idea of Nature in nature, fails”

(520). However, Eric Birdsall identifies Hartman’s essay as an instance of misreading because it analyzes Descriptive Sketches retrospectively through the Prelude and overlooks the poem’s engagement with contemporary politics. Birdsall points to diverse temporalities as a telltale sign of political architecture, though he refrains from an explicit analysis of Wordsworth’s interest in temporality. Instead, he outlines a cyclical structure of repeated anticipation and disappointment through two temporally anomalous episodes,

Chartreuse and , and while Birdsall rightly concludes that they highlight

“social and political oppression within the landscape” (43), the role of the temporal

50 Basil and Gregory are two of the three Cappadocian fathers, major figures in eastern orthodox Christian . They set out to establish Christianity as a rational, relevant religion and pointed to monasticism as the best of its power to heal the human soul. 51 These poems were published at the same time, but composed at different times. An Evening Walk precedes Descriptive Sketches by 2 or three years; likely, Wordsworth composed it at school. 51 anomaly remains unexplored as a contributor to Wordsworth’s poetic development.

These two anomalous episodes suggest that what the tour changed, among other things, was Wordsworth’s idea of temporality and its relation to progress, and Chartreuse, the first stop on the tour, manifested the anomalous temporality that is inherent to medievalism.52

When Wordsworth came to Chartreuse in 1790, he likely anticipated finding what many other visitors had described in their travel writings, an undesirable anachronism. In the late eighteenth century, antimonastic texts explicitly highlighted the antiquated practices in monastic life on the continent. Anna Barbauld’s 1773 essay “On Monastic

Institutions” notes that, “After all that can be said, we have reason enough to rejoice that

52 It’s also possible that Wordsworth’s monastic writings reflect a shift in his attitudes toward religious institutions. Describing his trip in a letter to his sister Dorothy, Wordsworth “contrasts” his experience at with others from his trip. Although Wordsworth assigns all the pleasures of society to Lake Como, its charms are not the same as those he found in the early stages of his journey through the Alps: “It was impossible not to contrast that repose, that complacency of spirit, produced by these lovely scenes, with the sensations I had experienced two or three days before, in passing the Alps. At the lake of Como, my mind ran through a thousand dreams of happiness, which might be enjoyed upon its banks, if heightened by conversation and the exercise of the social affections. Among the more awful scenes of the Alps, I had not a thought of man, or a single created being; my whole soul was turned to Him who produced the terrible majesty before me.” Como draws Wordsworth back toward society and the benefits of human companions, but previous scenes turned the “whole soul” toward the origin of those scenes. Fraught with religious implication, “Him who produced the terrible majesty,” along with the second description of his agency, gestures back toward Chartreuse. “Him” employs a traditional gesture of respect for the Christian , and though Como stimulates his senses and offers pleasure, it does not have the same effect of turning the soul toward the origin of the “terrible majesty.” Here, the monastery functions less as a particular experience and more as a metonym of organized religion, for it functions as an earthly presence for the Christian God, a setting entirely controlled by religious infrastructures. It was there that Wordsworth began his passage through the Alps and had the sensations he refers to here, setting the religious tone that tinted his characterization of the natural scenes. In 1790, natural majesty aligned with institutionalized Christian rhetoric, but by Descriptive Sketches, Wordsworth was referring to what he encountered there as Nature’s God, something apart from the hermeneutic structure available in organized religion. 52 the superstitions of former times are now fallen into disrepute…When the fuller day of science began to dawn, the monks were willing to exclude its brightness, that the dim lamp might still glimmer in their cell” (19). She refrains from condemning monasticism entirely, but clearly identifies it as an outdated lifestyle best confined to the past. She also cites the Enlightenment progress narrative as the source of her objection. Basing the idea of progress in change over time, stadial theory garnered a wide variety of supporters in eighteenth-century intellectual circles, many of whom identified monasticism as part of an inferior stage in cultural development. Its medieval origins were characterized by oppressive infrastructures like the Catholic Church and feudalism. As a result, the anachronism of a living monastery contradicted and threatened positive change for progressives.

Compounding the influence of the theoretical debates that comprised the historical context of Wordsworth’s visit, British heritage would also have predisposed a traveler toward a negative reading of the monastery. Monasticism, though alive and well in France, had disappeared from England proper in the 17th century. In Britain, monastic ruins offset picturesque charms in Nature, invoking a medieval specter while insisting on its appropriately safe distance. As would sarcastically observe in 1791, medieval ruins proved of “infinite use to the landscape of England in general” (13-4).

The debate about monastic virtues was entirely theoretical in England, but their ongoing presence in France provoked heated arguments in public forums both at home and abroad. However, ruins nevertheless served as a forum for contending with diverse perspective on historical change in England as well as France. 53

Critics have long established the rise of sentimental or picturesque tourism in the eighteenth century, and at its core, this form of engagement with foreign places highlighted attempts to contain or organize time and space. published an essay in 1768 on reading the picturesque aesthetic in paintings called Essay on Prints.

There, he insists on judging a scene purely according to the appetites of the subject and how the painting speaks to their perspective of the natural world. He teaches that you should never have more than a few large animals like cattle in a picture and that they should be carefully spaced to look as natural as possible. He derides Marco Ricci’s paintings for failing to proportion distances between his figures and the landscape appropriately, and points to Virgil’s description of a tower fading in the distance to illustrate the poet’s mastery of the picturesque aesthetic. For constructed structures, the goal is to present “distant magnitude” (27), to establish historic structures as an extension of nature. The point, according to Gilpin, is to put a great deal of effort into making the humanized scene look effortless and natural. As Scott Lukas notes, the picturesque is a paradox because it organizes the natural, framing the human perspective of landscape as devoid of the human, yet it is a decidedly subjective, staged, and carefully controlled aesthetic grounded in human perception (121).53 In other words, the picturesque scene

53 Lukas’ analysis illustrates the comparable shifts occurring in the political landscape. Picturesque tourism and art mirrors contemporary imperialist and colonial developments that would define European politics and their global presence for centuries. Like the picturesque landscape, European powers contained the difference of the territories and colonies by imposing hegemonic domestic structures. It is significant that picturesque accounts almost always came from privileged white tourists of European descent. Susan Lamb also notes the artificial veil of authenticity in picturesque tourism, emphasizing how the sentimental tourist embodies the picturesque scene through a performance of aesthetic experience. See Bringing Travel Home to England. 54 naturalizes the ideals of the tourist, though its artificiality implicitly highlights the artificiality of those ideals in turn.

Following the mid-eighteenth century, satirical portraits of the picturesque tourism such as ’s A Sentimental Journey Through France and Italy made the limitations of such perspectives explicit, and travelers began searching for more authentic aesthetics.54 They found an alternative temporality in the living past. Sites like the Grande Chartreuse offered un-staged historical testimony in comparison to the relocated, catalogued, and advertised monuments, and many British travelers pursued these anomalies with zeal.

Since the Middle Ages, Carthusian monks had offered room and board to travelers at little or no cost depending on their visitor’s financial status. Like Wordsworth and Robert Jones, those enjoying a tour through the Alps could rest at the head of their order in relative comfort before continuing their journey. The monastery was especially popular among British tourists, and before 1792 English authors had already published accounts of the monastery that praised its picturesque location while disengaging from the monastic context. Wordsworth stopped at Chartreuse in 1790 because ’s writing on the surrounding scenery had piqued his curiosity as a boy in school, 55 and like

54 Gary Dyer’s chapter on “ displaced, Satire domesticated” contains an excellent summary of such responses to the picturesque. See British Satire and the Politics of Style, 1789-1832 139-67. 55 published an edition of Gray’s correspondence in 1775 that Wordsworth would probably have read as a boy. cf. Duncan Wu “The Grande Chartreuse and the Development of Wordsworth’s Recluse.” 55 many other British visitors,56 Gray cites the monastery as a less than inspiring part of the overall experience.

Gray first visited Chartreuse with his friend and fellow student Walpole in

1739. Though Gray’s journal records that the monastery “is only considerable for its situation, & bigness,” describes the journey there as having “all the beauties so savage and horrid a place can present you with” (October 1). If the monastery lacked the ability to awe, the natural spectacles that he encountered on the way up to the convent more than supplied the lack of sensual stimuli in the actual monastery. When he returned to the convent a second time, he composed a poem for the book of the fathers that dismisses the monastic presence more explicitly. Alcaic begins with a direct address to the “severi religio loci” (“sanctity of the austere place” 1), but quickly interjects parenthetical lines describing the wild (“fera”) and impassable (“invias” 6) scenery. It is in nature, not the monastery, that the poem argues “Praesentiorem et conspicimus Deum” (5), in nature that

“we witness the more present God.” When such comments accompany profuse exclamations in praise of the countryside around the monastery, they underscore Gray’s lack of enthusiasm for the monastic and highlight more vehement critics.

One monastic critic, Joshua Lucock Wilkinson, visited the Grand Chartreuse on his 1791 continental tour, and he agrees with Barbauld that while an individual monastery may be virtuous, the anachronism of monasticism justifies its destruction. Wilkinson was finalizing his travel narrative for publication when he met Wordsworth in Paris in 1791, and it is likely that he showed his writing on the monastery to Wordsworth, who was

56 Wordsworth provides no clear reference to Gray in his own accounts, but he mentions Gray’s writing on Chartreuse in the first “Letter to the editor on Kendal and Railway” as an inspiration for his trip. 56 already working on Descriptive Sketches. Unlike Wordsworth’s earliest portrait of

Chartreuse, Wilkinson’s account precedes the monastery’s destruction, though it eagerly anticipates such an event. Outside the monastery walls, Wilkinson encountered a group of soldiers sent to protect the monks from “some ungodly peasants, who seditiously presumed, that men were equal” (154). His sarcastic tone betrays his own general bias against monasticism due to his Republican values, yet he admits that Chartreuse lacks many of the problematic qualities found in other institutions. Though he implicitly critiques the social inequality that monasticism perpetuates, he notes how violent actions arise from “idle stories of the Brunonian monks” circulated by “Malicious wits” (153), an inevitable consequence of social progress. Distinguishing the Grande Chartreuse from other monasteries in his writing, he credits the “pious purity of the monastic life” (153) to

Carthusian monks. But ultimately, Wilkinson never embraces the monastic, and however false the rumors about its shortcomings, his criticism rings of Enlightenment skepticism.

He ridicules the religious devotion of the hermits, calling their practice “absurd ceremonies” and “abject devotion and debasement” (152). For Wilkinson, monasticism is one obstacle preventing progressive change, and proponents of the “progressive” French

Revolution could not risk hampering it by recognizing any value in a living medieval past.57 His criticism reflects how progress became synonymous with change, justifying any violent attempt to relocate the living medieval inheritance to a more desirable and proper “past.” However, others disagreed, insisting that an absent past could prove more dangerous to modern society.

57 Wordsworth may also have met on this Paris trip, another former visitor to Chartreuse that agreed with Wilkinson’s critical assessment of the monks’ piety. He records his impressions in “Inscription, written at La Grande Chartreuse, upon visiting it a second Time, after an Absence of Eighteen Months.” 57

In 1790 Edmund Burke’s famous response to the French Revolution anticipated negative consequences when eradicating a living past. His Reflections on the Revolution in France argues that rather than make the “past” past, indiscriminately dissolving all surviving pieces of the inheritance like the monasteries paved the way for new totalitarianisms. He also maintains that the ongoing presence of active medieval sites would provide a valuable if uncomfortable reminder that what the government called

“past” remained all too present in so-called modern institutions. Answering the charge that monks are despotic, abusive, and lazy, he observes that some employ themselves in conditions similar to those of the working class, and that the problem is not the chronological origin of their lifestyle. It is, in fact, an older manifestation of the very modern, ongoing problem: social inequality. By extension, the French Assembly’s reasons for dissolving the monasteries perpetrated the same crime that the despised aristocracy committed against the lower classes, and Burke attacks the idea that abolishing feudalism and dissolving the monasteries will properly remove the source of social injustices to the “past.” Driving home the irrelevance of temporal origins in progressive change, he argues that selling monastic property to the highest bidder created a new aristocratic land distribution system with even less protection for laborers than they enjoyed under the monarchy. He condemns how their chronological rationale for the action cloaks the setback in a progressive veil.

Predicting the disappointment of many Republican supporters, Burke’s analysis anticipates how Wordsworth would identify anachronism as a helpful means to prevent 58 such disappointments.58 Burke’s argument criticizes the misguided idea that progress toward liberty and equality necessitated a break with anything that had its origins in a more repressed and less-free past. Some Enlightenment historiography criticized religious superstition and political as the markers of the “Middle Age” between antiquity and modernity, but doing so laid a foundation for medievalism as a cautionary tale that could inform decisions about how to shape a better future. Through the manifestation of recognized abuses of “natural law,” living medieval structures could provide a valuable if uncomfortable reminder that what the government called “past” remained all too present in so-called “modern” institutions. Their presence encourages comparisons with modernity and confirms that totalitarian rule is not a property of the past but a human and therefore temporally universal problem. Through anachronism,

Wordsworth could acknowledge backward and primitive elements of the “Middle Age,” while affirming his belief that society could only suffer from attempts to eradicate the medieval presence in the present.

In keeping with fellow supporters of the French Republic, Wordsworth’s earliest portrait of Chartreuse sympathizes with anti-monastic views. His skepticism appears in three lines of Descriptive Sketches, and they offer a telling precursor to later medievalisms. Describing the lifestyle of the monks, he refers to a “frown severe” that tamed “‘sober Reason’ till she crouch’d in fear” and “breath’d a death-like peace these

58 James Chandler describes Burke’s influence on Wordsworth’s thought in Wordsworth’s Second Nature: A Study of the Poetry and the Politics and “Wordsworth and Burke,” and Linda C. Brigham suggests that Burke’s influence on Wordsworth’s early work has political implications that remain unexplored. Stuart Allen has also compared Wordsworth and Burke’s attitude toward monuments and the dead, concluding that a concern for the past at the expense of the present marks Burke’s conservativism while Wordsworth’s attitude toward the past is more politically inclined and concerned about present problems. See “Wordsworth, Death and Politics.” 59 woods around” (55-7).59 These are the lines that lead Alan Liu to condemn Chartreuse as a totalitarian presence in the poem and to suggest that Nature sanctions its destruction if

“tentatively” (170). He identifies “an inwardly directed or domestic violence that is the poet’s first intimation of the revolutionary spirit of sacrifice” (170) in Carthusian monasticism and argues that the Descriptive Sketches scene “situates a transition not so much from peace to war as between two faces of totalitarian violence” (169), one in the military occupation and the other in the severe asceticism of the Carthusian order.

However, the lines do not exist in a vacuum. It is, as Heathcote Garrod observes, a skeptical portrait, but Wordsworth refrains from ever sanctioning its destruction or the temporal perspective that called for such destruction. In fact, the lines reenact the very crime that the monastery’s medievalist testimony perpetuated: an alternative temporality.

The poem begins with a hypothetical wanderer who is fully attuned to Nature and who lives according to natural harmony both in space and in time. The argument titles this section “Pleasures of the pedestrian Traveller,” and Wordsworth characterizes him as

Nature’s lover, a man “Wooing her varying charms from eve to morn” (16).

Underscoring this total harmony between the man and the natural world, he responds to

59 These lines resemble Merry’s poem on Chartreuse where he chastises the monks to “no longer let your reason thus be chained/ Nor grov’ling bend to superstition’s rod; / Tis not by losing life that Heaven is gain’d, / Nor is it solitude which leads to GOD” (45-8). Though Jerome McGann argues that Wordsworth strongly opposed the Della Cruscans (see The Poetics of Sensibility 74-93), Arnd Bohm suggests that Merry was a significant influence in Descriptive Sketches. If Wordsworth is imitating Merry here, he sets up the conventional criticism/rejection of Chartreuse only to refute it through Nature’s objection and the invocation of “Blasphemy” in line 61. Heresy is a hermeneutic failure, a misreading of transcendent truth, but blasphemy signals an action in contradiction to an accurate understanding. It is a profanation of what is known to be sacred. Merry’s poem ends with his reentry of the world to “assert the Freedom of the mind,” a concept Wordsworth troubles in the account of Simplon pass where the mind is revealed to be both the balm and source of human disappointment. 60 the sunset “with heart alive like Memnon’s lyre” (34). Wordsworth takes pains to ensure that his reader understands the reference with an annotation: “The lyre of Memnon is reported to have emitted melancholy or cheerful tones, as it was touched by the sun’s morning or evening rays.” Thus, Wordsworth emphasizes that while harmony with natural space is important, natural time also deserves special attention. Unlike the

Aeolian harp which sounds through material shifts, i.e., the wind, the lyre responds to signs of the passage of time. Even the examples of the wanderer’s bond with nature emphasize time. He travels from “eve to morn,” a cloud moves “o’er midday’s flaming eye” (25), he looks toward his “evening bourn” as he travels (22), and then he “Blesses the Moon that comes with kindest ray / To light him shaken by his viewless way” (34-5).

From morning into the night he travels and blesses all of nature from its stormy winds to the shady bowers, drawing ever closer to his monastic destination.60

In the third stanza, the narrative voice abruptly shifts focus from describing an unnamed wanderer to Wordsworth’s former self. As he describes the young traveler of

1790, he hints that this younger self was in need of a new orientation toward the natural world. The Argument emphasizes the break, titling the wanderer’s passage “Pleasures of the pedestrian Traveller” and the following section as “Author crosses France to the

Alps.” That self, “lured by hope her sorrows to remove” (45), moved “dejected” through

“Gallia’s wastes” (47) until coming to the Carthusian monastery. The “wanderer” of the previous passage “In every babbling brook…finds a friend” (28) and has “no sad vacuities” (17) to annoy his heart, but the author had “a heart, that could not much itself approve” (46). This new character lacks the comfort from Nature that was so readily

60 The mark of his “evening bourn” is a “far-off spire” (22). 61 available to the wanderer, and the source of his discomfort emphasizes that separation from nature. When Descriptive Sketches progresses away from the unnamed wanderer toward the traveler, Wordsworth’s younger self comes to the Alps. He arrives at the Alps by climbing the path up to the monastery, and there he employs the Revolutionary anachronism for the first time.

Describing scenes that neither the traveler nor the author of the poem witnessed, the travel narrative abruptly stops. At Chartreuse, the verbs shift from narrating the traveler’s progress through the Alps, a past tense voice, to a lament for Chartreuse, a present, lyrical speaker. The section narrates the coming destruction of the monastery, and the Carthusian order “startles at the gleam of arms” (60). However, the poem stops short of explicitly narrating the expulsion. Wordsworth’s verbs create a liminal space between the decision to evict the monks and the actual eviction, bound by the traditional flow of time from the past toward the future yet an anachronistic space beyond that flow where the present is forever embodying the past and the future. When Wordsworth composed and published Descriptive Sketches, the expulsion had already taken place, yet in the poem the trauma remains present. The soldiers are en route to the monastery, but they have not arrived. In the poem’s time, they will not arrive and remain forever looming over monastic life. Just like a living monastery, Wordsworth’s Chartreuse depicts a given past as the perpetually present and a challenging presence to the contemporary political climate.

Unlike many British radicals, Wordsworth’s work explicitly criticizes the destructive tendencies in revolutionary change. Descriptive Sketches contains the only

Chartreuse passage Wordsworth composed before the Terror began in 1793, published 62 only a week after the execution of Louis XVI when Wordsworth still sympathized with the French Republic. Nevertheless, the narrator sighs at the monastery’s “doom,” while

Nature strongly decries the expulsion of the monks. The trees nod “troubl’d heads” (62).

The “groaning torrent” swells with tears (67). The jays scream in the woods, and

“th’insulted eagle wheels away” (69). Wordsworth condemns the 1792 destruction of the monastery by explicitly mourning its absence then ventriloquizing his grief through

Nature’s response, and that trend grows more and more pronounced with each new portrait. Nature speaks out to the soldiers in Tufts of Primroses and the 1850 Prelude, commanding them to “stay your sacrilegious hands” (VI.430) and to “impious work forbear” (434). Wordsworth held a more optimistic view of the new Republic when he composed Descriptive Sketches, yet the poem still features the government’s seizure of monastic property and the expulsion of the monks as a traumatic crime. Even further, he infuses his portraits of the monastery with the virtue of orienting the individual and the community toward nature.

Given his acquaintance with Jacobin sympathizers in Paris, it is possible that

Wordsworth’s moderate approach to monasticism stems from French Republicans. The

Prelude credits Michel de Beaupuy with educating Wordsworth in the virtues of revolutionary enthusiasm, and his views aligned with those of Robespierre and

Desmoulins. As noted in the introduction, these moderate Republicans opposed the vandalisme of revolutionary zeal, and they even opposed the de-Christianization of

France. They were responsible for the garrison protecting the Carthusian monks from their peasant neighbors that Wilkinson observed, but the rising power of the fanatical opposition led to more extreme demonstrations of their devotion to Revolutionary 63 principles. In their effort to stem the influence of that opposition, they executed the

French king and queen, marking the beginning of The Terror that Wordsworth abhorred.

When Descriptive Sketches describes the monastery’s destruction, Wordsworth allows for its virtues as well as its vices. Criticizing the monks’ asceticism, Wordsworth highlights the contrast between the monastery’s ideal lifestyle and its actuality. The

“unvaried torrent’s sound” (58) breaks the “death-like peace” of the area, and the

-bell” is “by the dull cicada drown’d”(59). Each totalitarian presence in the poem, the prayer bell and the imposed silence, always ceded to Nature, serving as an ever present reminder of its alien presence and the limits of human understanding. The peace afforded by the monastic silence is associated with death, oppressive, unnatural, and infertile. Yet by silencing the human mind, Carthusian asceticism blocks everything that would distract from the “hidden power, that reigns / ‘Mid the lone majesty of untam’d nature” (Mason 1.14-15).61 Carthusian order stifles movement and growth, but the rushing torrents fill the void with life and sound. Its totalitarian rule generates a productive antagonism with Nature that ultimately forces human perception to recognize its misconceptions and to reorient itself according to the Natural world. The prayer bell imposed human order on the natural pace of the day, but the cicadas drowned out its noise. Wordsworth’s attraction to the monastery is not a Catholic inclination as Taylor suggests, but an attraction to a model for managing the inevitable disappointment engendered by human infrastructures and desires.62 Significantly, a “browner night” (64)

61 Wordsworth’s“’sober Reason’” likely quotes the beginning of Mason’s play, Caractacus. See John R. Nabholtz, “Wordsworth and William Mason.” 62 Though Carthusians are not the only monastic order to describe nature as a source of contemplation, they are one of the most austere and ascetic orders regarding worldly comforts and pleasures. Their relationship to nature, therefore, proves a startling paradox 64 falls on the scene when the soldiers intrude and expel the convent’s inhabitants. Dark as the night was, the destruction of Chartreuse heralds an even darker night because a dramatized human struggle to successfully know and orient the self and the community in the world has also ended.

Testifying to his medievalist focus, Wordsworth’s reading of the monastery as a model for navigating human shortcomings takes its cue from the medieval foundation of the Grande Chartreuse. Citing the Carthusian founder St. Bruno’s letters and journals,

Guigo’s rules for the order encourage brothers and fathers to take nature walks and recommend that they take such a walk one afternoon every week as a supplement to the time spent in their individual private gardens. He especially recommends these outings to those who are “wearied by our quite austere rule and application to spiritual things” so that the monks’ spirits can be “refreshed and renewed by the charms and beauties of woods and countryside” (22.10). The text thus contains an implicit acknowledgment that the contemplative life requires constant reorientation through and in relation to Nature.

Lest the fathers give in to the temptation to remain enclosed permanently, the order requires such an outing at least three times a year. However highly the monks regard their contemplative life, its sustenance requires a system for managing its failure to accomplish its aspirations. Its dependence on Nature both anticipates the failure of human infrastructures and provides a restorative tonic for such disappointments.

Before composing Descriptive Sketches, Wordsworth’s writing was already hinting at a special attachment to the Carthusian way of life. Of the two letters

Wordsworth wrote to Dorothy about his visit, the survivor only briefly describes his

and permeates even the solitude of the hermits who have a private garden within their cells. 65 departure,63 yet even that brief description depicts Wordsworth’s attraction to the form of solitude practiced at Chartreuse. It opens with a reference to its predecessor’s fuller description, implying Wordsworth’s delight with what he found at Chartreuse, and states that he and Jones “remained two days, contemplating, with increased pleasure its wonderful scenery” (Letter). His “contemplating” gestures toward the monastery as a worthwhile stop through its own merit and testifies to Wordsworth’s early attraction to

Carthusian monasticism.

Although the letter offers no clear explanation for the site’s distinction in his work, the possessive “its” firmly ties Wordsworth’s perception of the natural scenes to the monastery, and this description, though brief, stands apart from other scenes in the document. It is one of the few descriptions in the letter that portrays Wordsworth as an active observer. As he progresses through the stops on the tour, Wordsworth describes most of his experiences in passive terms. He writes, “My spirits have been kept in a perpetual hurry of delight, by the almost uninterrupted succession of and beautiful objects which have passed before my eyes during the course of the last month.”

Wordsworth represents himself as a mere observer of Nature and locates the agency of his response outside himself. Some lies with Nature, some with human society, but none belongs to him as an individual.64 He complains of Villeneuve that “the lake did not afford us a pleasure equal to what might have been expected from its celebrity; this owing partly to its width, and partly to the weather, which was one of those hot gleamy

63 The surviving letter dates from September 6, 1790. 64 Stephen Gill summarizes Wordsworth’s idea of “Nature” as “a power whose tutelary presences are the ‘Souls of lonely places,’ but also a power contrasted to the civilized” (The Prelude: A Casebook 35), and locates Nature in the earth and the source of memorable truths Wordsworth learned as a child. 66 days in which all distant objects are veiled in a species of bright obscurity.” Villeneuve’s reputation works with Nature to affect his vision, but Wordsworth denies his agency in his experience as the observer of the scene. Happily, another perspective on the same scene “made [him] ample amends,” continuing the passive voice, yet when speaking of

Chartreuse, he is the active agent, a sign that something about the monastic context influenced his perception of Nature and the role of disappointment in progressive development.

Further complementing the explicit notation of his attraction to Chartreuse,

“Contemplating” aligns Wordsworth’s activity with that of the Carthusian brothers. Many monastic orders like the Carthusians refer to their activities as the “contemplative life,”65and as an echo of the monks’ own description of their activities, “contemplation” situates Wordsworth as a sympathizer to the ascetic lifestyle. It even signals a participation in the Carthusian way because it names the chief aim of their lifestyle and their almost exclusive activity in the desert of the Alps. At the Grand Chartreuse, all inhabitants live the contemplative life through a vow of silence and solitude, and “The

Carthusian Way” states that “the only goal of the Carthusian way is

CONTEMPLATION.” “In Praise of Solitude,” a thirteenth-century preface to the twelfth- century Carthusian statutes, instructs “for tasting the spiritual savor of psalmody; for penetrating the message of the written page; for kindling the fire of fervent prayer; for engaging in profound meditation; for losing oneself in mystic contemplation; for obtaining the heavenly dew of purifying tears — nothing is more helpful than solitude.”

65 Philo of Alexander, Benedict, and Thomas Aquinas provide three examples from different monastic traditions. For a contemporary source, see Chartreux.org “The Carthusian Way.” 67

The passage testifies to the varied forms of contemplation that Carthusians articulate both through their writing and in their lifestyle, and Wordsworth’s description of his time with them is charged with a monastic connotation. 66

Through verb tenses, section headings, demonstrative titles, and footnotes,

Descriptive Sketches underscores the connection between Carthusian disappointment and

Wordsworth’s younger self. As previously noted, the unnamed wanderer at the beginning sharply contrasts with the young author through a mournful countenance and a disorientation in natural time and space. The latter has yet to learn how to become refreshed and renewed by natural , and it is no coincidence that this self changes after the monastic sojourn. The poem never narrates the younger Wordsworth’s stay,

66Since its foundation, the cloister has housed two kinds of monks, the hermit fathers and the lay brothers, who each pursue corresponding forms of contemplation. On weekdays, hermits remain insulated in a private cell while the lay brothers move freely throughout the grounds. In their solitude, hermits perform whatever manual labor their survival requires, but they devote themselves as much as possible to prayer and the study of texts from the once famous collection of books in the monastery’s library. Even when dining in common, they pursue contemplation by listening to readings from the statutes, the book that guides them in their monastic practice. As companions and assistants to these studious hermits, lay brothers complete the tasks beyond the cloister that keep the monastery a contained and self-sufficient world. They grow, cultivate, and cook food, as well as sew clothing, gather firewood, fetch books for the hermits, and participate in communal prayer and meditation. Though the majority of their time requires physical rather than mental exertion, they too pursue the contemplative life through their silent and solitary service of the monastic community. The Carthusian statutes note, “By working with his hands the monk practices humility; he also brings his whole body under control so as better to attain stability of mind” (5.3). Thomas Aquinas compares the active and contemplative life in Question 182 of the Summa Theologiae, and agrees with Pope Gregory I that action facilitates contemplation by quieting the passions. In addition, he argues that both are necessary to fulfill God’s highest commandments (c.f. Matthew 22: 36-40), for the active life cultivates love of one’s neighbor while the contemplative cultivates the love of God. He adds that the soul can ascend to paradise solely through the active life, but not solely through the contemplative. The activity of the lay brothers is therefore necessary for theological considerations as well as pragmatic ones because it offers a complementary balance between action and contemplation from the lifestyle of the cloister monks. For more information about the lay brothers’ form of contemplation, see Brantley 39-40. 68 switching to a lyric voice that describes the expulsion of the monks in place of a travel anecdote, yet after Chartreuse, he wanders “More pleas’d” (78) and emphasizes the

“Silence” to be found around Como (89). As he watches a sunset, he hears a peasant playing the lyre, harkening back to Memnon’s lyre in the opening sequence. Not only has the narrator become like the happy wanderer following his stay at Chartreuse, but he has also learned to identify the very things in nature that mark Carthusian monasticism, capitalizing silence for emphasis. Though he offers neither explicit praise of Chartreuse nor any clear identification of the lessons he learned from the Carthusian brothers, the description of his younger self preceding and following that visit drive home the nature of the “browner night” that now falls on the French landscape. Even further, it points to

Chartreuse as a determinative influence on his experiences in the Alps and, by extension, a critical contributor to his poetic development.

Though Wordsworth’s temporal poetics have long served as a staple in

Wordsworth criticism, their connection to anachronism is less commonly noted and all the more relevant in light of recent analysis on his lyric theory. Monique R. Morgan recently characterized his achievement as a poetic marriage of literary time: the merger of narrative and lyric, a marriage already evident in the two temporally anomalous episodes framing the picturesque in Descriptive Sketches. Narratives, Morgan argues, “depict events happening over time, and these representations must themselves unfold through time” (300), while lyric “eliminates any noticeable temporal succession” (301). For

Morgan, the lyric “emphasizes the time of discourse, creating a sense of immediacy among the reader, text, and content” and she cites Jonathan Culler’s explanation of this literary temporality. Culler calls lyric the time of “discourse” and locates all the content 69 of lyric poetry within the time of the “event which the poem is attempting to be” (149).

Susan Stanford Friedman also emphasizes the temporality of lyric, noting “A narrative may stand implicitly behind the lyric moment, but the lyric itself exists in a timeless present, outside history” (204). Considered from a chronological perspective, lyric is always an anachronism, and Wordsworth’s narrative lyric, Morgan concludes, “actively guides its readers, and discloses as much as it can as early as it can, creating a sense of equality between author and public” (323). It creates a different teleology that isn’t bound by chronology because lyric episodes transcend the temporally limited point of view that marks experience.

As an art form that requires transcendent and chronological temporality to generate meaning, music provides Wordsworth with a helpful means to navigate the challenge of teleological orientation. Noting his frequent use of musical terms to describe his work, Alison Byerly argues that Wordsworth understands “harmony” in a more classical use of a term with “universal order being figured forth in a musical order” (44).

According to this definition, Wordsworth’s poetry has a transcendent order that readers access through the temporal performance of reading and that he accesses through memory. Each time he revisits scenes from his life he derives new meanings as he looks for new relations between the events, just as musical forms modify each other. Each piece of the score provides an individual context for understanding a counterpart, and the piece can only be understood when all of these relations are clear. As an audience for nature’s music, Wordsworth is constantly working out the pieces of the composition previously unheard or unnoticed, and the problem of the unheard components remains ever present.

Like a musical performance, both transcendent and linear experiences are essential to 70 comprehend Nature’s harmony and Wordsworth’s attempts to convey that harmony through poetry. Only an overview of the chronological progression of music, an a- historical or transcendent experience of it, allows the mind to place all the individual components into relation, yet the auditory experience occurs chronologically, just like

Wordsworth’s narrative lyric. His poetry moves toward an end, but it identifies that end from the beginning, providing a transcendent vision to orient each chronological element teleologically.

Medievalism, the form of anachronism manifest through Chartreuse, models two benefits inherent to anachronistic temporality. As a literal reality, the form emphasized through the biographical travel narrative, it creates a neutral space in which authentic representations of the past can exist without threatening the present and without depriving the present of access to past virtues. It also points to the need to constantly reconsider the relation between elements of history and their relevance to the end of history, a reexamination of teleology. When translated into formal construct in literature, it mirrors the author's experience as a human being bound by historicity, ever confronted with the failures of human temporal perspectives and ever reorienting the self in turn. By contradicting the accepted linear historical narrative, anachronistic medievalism reinforces the limitations of the human perspective and corrects flawed interpretations of present phenomena in relation to progress.

Emphasizing his preoccupation with refining and honing this temporality,

Wordsworth developed his lyric poetics each time he revised the Chartreuse scene. The

1793 edition of Descriptive Sketches opens the Chartreuse passage with “Ev’n now” (53), which seemingly anchors it to conventional chronology, but the subsequent manuscript 71 edits reveal Wordsworth’s almost immediate conflict about this language. Birdsall’s analysis suggests that Wordsworth and Dorothy began to revise the work soon after its initial publication, and though the changes only survive in the Wellesley Quarto manuscript from 1815, it is likely that they arise from 1795 to 1798.67 Even with the temporal anchor, the passage exemplifies Wordsworth’s lyric experiment. It begins, as

Morgan describes, “to recollect an emotion in tranquility, but through the process of description the powerful feeling once again spontaneously overflows” (323), however conflicted that feeling might be. In this case, it overflows into Nature. By the 1815 text, the Chartreuse section follows elliptical asterisks and begins, “I sigh at hoary Chartreuse’ doom,” providing a clear lyric address. In the 1836 edition, the passage begins “And now” (52), an explicit lyrical turn. Honing the lyric present as well as the anachronism of

Wordsworth’s experience, the pattern suggests that Wordsworth remained ever aware of the political implications in his temporal experiments and ever preoccupied with understanding his disappointments. This preoccupation is one of the key features in his conception of “spots of time.”

In Wordsworth studies, “spots of time” provoke a particularly varied and numerous set of critical readings. Wordsworth explicitly describes them in book 11 of the

1805 Prelude and book 12 of the 1850 edition, hinting each time that these “spots” plot his development as an individual and as a poet. Generally, critics emphasize the

“renovating virtue” (1805 11.260) that these spots provide for Wordsworth as a poet and individual, highlighting their inspirational function in his writing and their conciliatory function for his personal disappointments. Peter Larkin, for example, characterizes them

67 Birdsall provides a detailed analysis of the manuscript edits. See the “Introduction” to his critical edition of the poem, especially pages 12-7. 72 as occupying a fault line between “trauma and aspiration” (119), embodying the tense relationship between past failures and future potential.68 David Ellis’ Wordsworth, Freud and the Spots of Time argues that the “spots” provide the adult Wordsworth with evidence from childhood that the mind will triumph over the most disturbing experiences.

However, other criticism suggests a broader application for these spots. In

Rousseau, Robespierre and English Romanticism, Gregory Dart demonstrates a connection between in these spots between the public and private spheres. He argues that these spots” draw energy from socio-historical feeling and can therefore serve as a form of public as well as private regeneration. Patrick Vincent echoes this sentiment in

“Moment to Monument,” and others similarly link the positive public and private developments recorded in Wordsworth’s “spots.”

Modern readings that address Wordsworth’s “spots” increasingly link their personal significance to his political context. Saree Makdisi reads spots of time as a socio-historical construct that pushes back against the homogeneous pressures of modern life, offering an alternative and unassimilable temporal space. She believes Wordsworth fears the loss of his own stable social status and creates spots of time as a refuge between the crowd and the individual mind that can resist pressures to conform.69 In a similar vein, David Simpson reads the “spots” as a form of resistance to industrial commoditization. Though Wordsworth seems to commodify them through the poetic record, Simpson argues that Wordsworth’s poetry insists full control never belongs to the

68 For a summary of other critical approaches, see Peter Larkin 119-21. 69 I have not exhausted the available perspectives on these “spots” here. For other key perspectives see Alan Liu188-94, Paul H. Fry, and J. Robert Barth 41-54. Tim Milnes also provides a survey of criticism on the “spots of time” in William Wordsworth: The Prelude on pp 98-133. 73 poet: the memories and the mind have an agency beyond the control of the will. They can therefore, Simpson claims, resist the value systems of capitalist structures, simultaneously mourning yet stressing the forgetting of history that accompanies its modern commoditization (116-42). Such readings establish an implicit connection to

Wordsworth’s verses on Chartreuse. Medievalism embodies and highlights the ongoing management of history, attempts to control what is remembered and what is forgotten, and Chartreuse was a place that refuses such commoditization of the past. It housed a preindustrial yet modern life, representing an unassimilable temporal place where

Descriptive Sketches plots the means to navigate disappointment.

Though disappointment often implies a negative experience, for Laura Quinney it performs a necessary service in temporal orientation and defines Wordsworth’s lifetime poetic project. She defines disappointment as “the frustration of general expectations of experience, general hopes for the self and its destiny through the loss of which one is exposed to disorientation and existential vagrancy” (1) and concludes that it marks a failure to understand one’s orientation in time, a misunderstood tendency in the self and the outside world. As such, it is both the means to correct the fault in the original orientation and the foundation for orientations that will more effectively achieve any end.

But however helpful its potential, disappointment is also dangerous when “esteem for the self is so seriously compromised as to cripple the pride of intellectual accomplishment”

(1). It is the confrontation with the self’s naïveté, and thus disappointment can produce everything from a productive disillusionment, a refashioning of teleological orientation in other words, to an unproductive denial of the initial failure. Anachronism marks an intersection between a proposed history and that history’s inaccuracy. Thus it is an 74 inherently disappointing phenomenon that can be helpful, even necessary for progress, but only if its threatening contradiction of an established view stimulates a reflective response rather than hostility.

As she elaborates on the importance of disappointment in Wordsworth’s work,

Quinney connects this theory of disappointment to his spots of time. Tracing the subtle shifts in Wordsworth’s conception of disappointment, she identifies his increasing

“glorification of memory” as a response to his failed hopes. Disappointment, she asserts, becomes synonymous with disillusionment after the Revolution implodes into the violent

Terror, and Wordsworth’s powers as a poet are in danger if he cannot find a way to mitigate the psychology of disappointment. In other words, she argues that he turns to memory as a way to revitalize the creative capacity that such traumatic experiences threaten with stagnation. Turning to The Prelude, Quinney discerns a proposed remedy in

“spots of time.” She defines them as Wordsworth’s way of infusing “the present with an old affective power,” his way of obtaining hope though less extravagantly and idealistically. At Chartreuse, Wordsworth found a literal infusion of the present with an old affective power, and his writings on the monastery suggest that the Carthusian lifestyle encouraged attention to these spots of time. Like the “spots of time” described by Simpson and Makdisi, his poetry explicitly describes a place that resists modern industrialization, commoditization, and homogeneity and that materially exhibits an alternative temporality that regenerated Wordsworth in his youth.

When Wordsworth illustrates spots of time in book XII, he turns to a scene where expectations pose a problem when confronted with material reminders of the past. At six years old, Wordsworth ventured out on the moor with his servant, James. Losing track of 75 his “encourager and guide” (283), the fearful young Wordsworth wandered to a scene

“where in former times/ A murderer had been hung in chains” (288-9). Though the event was long past, the site bore physical reminders of the execution. The irons and the body were gone, but someone had carved the murderer’s name on the turf and kept the grass clear to keep the letters “fresh and visible” (298) for years. Seeing the letters,

Wordsworth “fled, faltering and faint, and ignorant of the road” (1850.246-7) in search of relief and his “lost guide” (257). Though he believed himself in search of the unfamiliar, his guide situated the new in the context of the known. He had set out from home with

“proud hopes” (280), but soon found himself lost in the “visionary dreariness” (256) of an unknown reality. At five he learned that human perception can only grasp at knowledge of the world and that facing such inadequacy can cripple. The scene signals an uprooted teleology as the mark of spots of time, but Wordsworth assigns them a teleological role that circumvents the potentially crippling stagnation of hopelessness. As is the case at Chartreuse, disappointment stems from a faulty orientation of mind, but that same disappointment lays the groundwork for an improved orientation toward space and time, as well as a better understanding of self’s complicity in that folly.

Elaborating on the importance of these “spots of time,” Wordsworth hints that they from disappointment to a renewed and better productivity. Characterized by the “deepest feeling that the mind/ Is lord and master, and that outward sense/ Is but the obedient servant of her will” (270-2), these moments testify to the impact false conceptions about reality have on the human experience. Though uncomfortable and difficult, they retain:

A renovating virtue whence, depressed By false opinion and contentious thought, 76

Or aught of heavier or more deadly weight, In trivial occupations, and the round Of ordinary intercourse, through which our minds Are nourished and invisibly repaired (XII.258-64).

As a confrontation with the unknown and unanticipated, these spots suspend the mental powers, then renew them with a deeper awareness of transcendent truth and, through that awareness, a greater capacity for overcoming future disappointment. As Wordsworth observes, “diversity of Strength / Attends us, if but once we have been strong” (326-7), and the solitude that haunted the child haunted the young man at Chartreuse in 1790.70

Wordsworth’s only account of Chartreuse that omits the events of 1792 appears in the 1805 Prelude, yet it also clearly situates the visit as a spot of time. Wordsworth describes his visit as resting “within an awful solitude” (VI.419), and throughout the

Prelude “solitude” marks Wordsworth’s significant disappointments. The term appears when he describes a childhood awe-inspiring encounter with the otherness of Nature in book I. 405-30. Stealing a boat in the night, he rowed across the lake until he felt the cliff before him rise up “like a living thing” (414) and follow him back to the shore. Returning home, he cannot shake the sensation of that living presence, describing its effect on his mind as “solitude, / or blank desertion” (424-5), the knowledge of “huge and mighty

Forms that do not live / like living men” (428-9). Wordsworth labels this scene one of

Nature’s “interventions” (373), moments that draw the subject into a greater awareness of

70 Although I do not dwell on the rhetorical connection here, I must note that Wordsworth’s language mirrors that of the Carthusian statutes. The text begins with an introduction titled “In Praise of Solitude,” and while Wordsworth may not have acquired knowledge of the text personally, his contact with the monks and their tour of the monastery would doubtless explain the importance of solitude in the Carthusian lifestyle as it governs everything from their daily occupations to the location of their monasteries. Guigo, Fifth Prior of the Grande Chartreuse records, "The solitary will sit and keep silence, for he will lift himself above himself" (“Praise of Life in Solitude”). 77

Nature as an alien, living being. These moments also demonstrate the power of the human mind, and the presence of such emphases at Chartreuse, coupled with

Wordsworth’s language of solitude and disappointment, suggests that the visit at

Chartreuse, like his childhood experience, was a spot of time. Even further, Chartreuse explicitly plays a conciliatory role for the monks and Wordsworth, occupying a critical fault line between Wordsworth’s Republican aspirations and his horror at revolutionary violence. It was, so to speak, explicitly a place of public and private regeneration because it embodied a past that was properly oriented in space and time, altering according to a natural timeline rather than a human perception of that timeline.

As Wordsworth rewrote Chartreuse, his attraction to its monasticism grew more and more pronounced, as did the spot of time markers that signaled medievalism as an inherent spot of time. Tufts of Primroses includes a direct address to the reader, asking,

“What Man would bring to nothing, if he might, / A natural power or element? and who,/

If the ability were his, would dare/ To kill a species of insensate life?” (527-30). The monastery shifted from Nature’s friend in 1793 to a natural phenomenon in 1808, akin to any endangered species worthy of human protection and reverence. In the 1850 edition of the Prelude, Wordsworth begins the Chartreuse passage, “Yes, for even then no other than a place / Of soul-affecting solitude appeared /that far-famed region” (VI. 420), a further indication that he found the monastery surprisingly attractive in 1790. His temporal marker, “even then,” references the optimistic faith in the French Revolution that characterized his youth and implicitly critiques how some political powers driving

Revolutionary change painted medieval anachronisms as a dangerous threat to positive change. Though an enthusiastic youth, “even then” Wordsworth recognized the value of 78

Chartreuse and the folly of indiscriminate anti-monasticism. Through its destruction,

Chartreuse dramatized the importance of medievalist sites and argued that a living past in tangible anachronisms is preferable to a past that haunts the present through imagination and fancy.

At the beginning of Descriptive Sketches, Wordsworth stresses the foolishness of eradicating authentic incarnations of the past. The first few lines connect the disappointments that arose through 1790 tour, and predict the inevitability of disappointment as well as the danger in eradicating its material source. The passage describes a location where people access Nature’s conciliatory power and hypothesizes,

“WERE there, below, a spot of holy ground, /By Pain and her sad family unfound, / Sure,

Nature's GOD that spot to man had giv'n,” (1-3). Accompanying “murmuring rivers” (4), mountains, “unfathom’d dells and undiscover’d woods” (10), cataracts, and lakes,

“Silence, on her night of wing, o’er-broods” (9) the place. Chartreuse possesses all of these natural phenomena, and when he describes Nature’s horror at the monastery’s destruction, he renders that connection explicit. Furthermore, if anything distinguishes

Carthusians from other monastic orders, it is the strict observation, almost without exception, of silence. 71 The “spot” in the opening remains hypothetical, a conditional

“were” situated in the human imagination and not the material world, and its subtle gesture toward Chartreuse hints that the monastery attempted to manifest such a place,

71 Ensuring a variety of communal experiences, the statutes also require them to engage in nature walks where they converse freely with their companions at least three times a year, but the text encourages them to go on these outings at least every other week to best perform solitary contemplation. It does, however, limit their saying of the mass to prevent unnecessary speech. The Carthusians participate in communal mass 155 times a year, a striking contrast to the 700 said at Cluny. Jessica Brantley examines the balance of solitude and community among Carthusians in Reading in the Wilderness 121-66. 79 then managed the failure to do so. The poem’s argument outlines the thesis of the passage as “Happiness (if she had been to be found on Earth) amongst the Charms of Nature,” emphasizing the impossibility of earthly happiness and the frustration of Wordsworth’s desire to find it. It also foreshadows the destruction of Chartreuse as an attack on the pursuit of such happiness and establishes the danger of destructive approaches to anachronisms.

When the narrative resumes after the lyric on Chartreuse in Descriptive Sketches, the young traveler encounters historical phantoms repeatedly. “Pale Passion” may be heedless that Pliny “survey’d / Old Roman boats and figures thro’ the shade” (116-7) at

Como, but the narrator reads that history into the scene nonetheless. At the “Chapel of

William Tell,” a monument to a mythical history, the past dominates the present and exerts a powerful influence over visitors. The boatman “before / The pictur’d fane of Tell suspends his oar” (349) and feels “a power of strong control, / Felt only there, oppress his laboring soul” (352-5). The oppression at a site haunted by the absence of the past sharply contrasts the comforting silence and happiness offered by Chartreuse.

Wordsworth emphasizes the power of past in the human mind, hinting that fantasies about its content have the power to control and overtake the soul and that a living authentic presence precludes the possibility of such fantasies. Even further, his reference to oppression invokes Enlightenment characterizations of the Dark Ages, bolstering his implicit argument in favor of a present medieval past manifested through places like


When the “past” becomes an immaterial specter, it becomes all the more dangerous precisely because it lacks the material foundation that can offset and correct 80 dangerous historical fantasies.72 Though the Scottish chieftain gazes on the ruins of the past, he cannot “guess the high resolve, the cherish’d pain / Of him whom passion rivets to the plain,/ Where breath’d the gale that caught Wolfe’s happiest sigh, / And the last sun-beam fell on Bayard’s eye” (360-3). Each of these allusions emphasizes a marvelous heroism, a history that was often referenced in nationalist propaganda as the foundation for imperial prowess, and each of them also insists that without the material inheritance, history continues to haunt the present, exerting a powerful influence over the human soul that glorifies such violence and overshadows heroic suffering. Without a physical presence, the past becomes dangerously subjective, at the mercy of human desire and fancy. Through memory and imagination, history becomes far more dangerous and far more capable of influencing modern behaviors according to Wordsworth.

Shortly after publishing Descriptive Sketches, Wordsworth returned to the problem of a haunted present in his poem on Plain. Like his Chartreuse passages, the poem went through several revisions and was the product of a travel experience haunted by an immaterial past.73 In the Prelude Wordsworth claims that the

72 As Pierre Nora and others have observed, monumentalization implicitly articulates a perceived threat in historical sites as reminders that the perceived past remains a very present influence. Through monumentalization, a collective memory can be contained and confined to the monument, leading to a collective forgetting. But when a site like Chartreuse continues to function as though it remained in the past, it defies such containment and, as Wordsworth’s writing suggests, a visit to Chartreuse in the 1790’s was a confrontation with the holes in the shared historical vision. For more information, see Pierre Nora’s Les Lieux de Mémoire, James E. Young’s The Texture of Memory, and Halbwachs’s The Collective Memory. 73 Joseph Byrne summarizes the distinctions between the three editions as follows: “The first version, ‘A Night on Salisbury Plain’ (1793), shows his attempt to create a poem that Johnson might publish, representing Johnson’s reformist and dissenting agenda, at a time when such an agenda was considered treasonous. The second version of the poem, entitled ‘Adventures on Salisbury Plain’ (1795), exhibits the influence of William Godwin and what I call his rationalist ‘counter-public,” which functioned as a discursive 81 two-day journey across the plain gave him a vision of the ancient Britons and the sacrifice of the druidic Wicker man,74 a past that juxtaposed problematic violence with the origin of modern science. The Salisbury Plain poems emerged from this fraught encounter with history, testifying to Wordsworth’s struggles with this impulse to romanticize the past by ignoring its darker qualities when the material inheritance has disappeared. Even as he watched the horrific sacrifice, he felt himself charmed by the

“antiquarian’s dream” of “bearded teachers, with white wands” who are in tune with the harmony of Nature (348-53), a metonymic description of Wordsworth’s simultaneous sympathy with and rejection of the past. His struggle against the impulse to indulge historical fantasies manifests through an imitation of Spenser, bringing the past into the present just like the medievalism at Chartreuse, and that imitation, like Wordsworth’s medievalism, ensures that he remains aware of the negative features of the past.

Employing the Spenserian stanza, Wordsworth’s poems on Salisbury Plain depict a bleak and dark scene, invoking horrors of the past as gothic fantasies. In the earliest version, a voice literally speaks as “from a tomb” (81) to warn the narrator that the spot is haunted by the , “specters grim” (183), who in turn bring back “warrior specters”

(187), the respectively criticized and celebrated figures of the British past in progress narratives.75 Druids embody the worst kind of religious superstition, the origin of human sacrifice, but the warriors brought forth through that sacrifice establish the precedent in

British military prowess so often cited in nationalist propaganda. They are the sign of

site critical of the larger public sphere that Johnson represented. Finally, the most famous version of the Salisbury plain poem, ‘The Female Vagrant’ in Lyrical Ballads (1798), reflects Wordsworth’s own rustic ‘counter-public’ in the West Country, created in conjunction with Coleridge and Dorothy Wordsworth” (103). 74 The account is in book XII of the 1805 edition and book XIII of the 1850. 75 These quotations are from the 1793 edition of the poem. 82

British glory and the foundation of her modern empire, while the druids are mere superstitious relics. Together, they represent the oversimplified, polarized perspectives on the past, the fantasized history, but Wordsworth rejects that simplicity.76 As John M.

Steadman observes, Spenser adapted medieval conventions to reveal “a tension between the heroic mode and that of the complaint, as well as an ambiguous relationship toward his own times as an object of both praise and blame” (121). Channeling Spenser,

Wordsworth points to another failure to anticipate fully the nature of an inheritance or to anticipate the consequences of its absence in an ambiguous present. His imitation of the

Faerie Queene implicitly argues that anachronism provides the best means of navigating a problematic past.

Contrasting with imperial propaganda, the warriors are an antiheroic force in

Wordsworth’s poem. Samuel E. Schulman calls this early version Wordsworth’s

“socially advanced, anti-war” (225) reframing of Spenser in which the sins of the forefathers are identical to the sins of the present. The poem frames the tragic female vagrant as a product of war, the source of nothing but “murder, pain, and tears,” working against “the dreamy and escapist medievalism exemplified in poems like Thomas

Warton’s ‘On a Blank Leaf in Dugdale’s Monasticon’” (225). Both the and the warrior are overly simplified propagandist examples of such escapism, as is the voice speaking from the tomb, and the gothic fantasy such figures invoke is the product of a mismanaged incarnation of the past in the present. Wordsworth’s druids and warriors, however, do not conform to such escapist tendencies. His reclamation of the true history

76 Here I agree with Tom Dugget that the poem identifies a “relapse of modern England into Ancient Britain,” but I do not agree that Wordsworth privileges either the Celtic or Gothic past as more or less problematic and therefore more or less beneficial for British identity. 83 insists that the Middle Ages cannot be wiped away and that the attempts to do so create a fantastic vacuum, a nostalgic longing for the very past that hindered progress. The best way to manage the undesirable elements of the past, as the Spenserian stanza implicitly argues, is through a recuperation of it, preventing the nostalgic fantasy and cutting off a source of harmful historical propaganda via medievalism.

Relating the escapist medievalisms explicitly to historic sites, Wordsworth’s earliest and most radical version of the Salisbury Plain poem ends with an imperative address. The poem’s request that the reader “uptear /Th’Opressor’s dungeon from its deepest base” (11.551-2) has been read as a sanctioning of the march on the Bastille, but it is actually an implicit critique of its destruction. Though the fortress is gone, its absence highlights a failure to identify the “deepest base” of social inequality (Byrne

105). The narrator wants to leave the “Sarum” ruins on the plain and requires any other

“uprooting” to leave such marks as well. The ruins in question are the emblem of druidic sacrifice, the reminder that the appealing image of the wise sage does not align with historical truth. The destruction of those ruins would remove both the reminder of their darker side as well as the darker side of the noble Celtic warrior, a violent and primitive figure who hinders rather than aids progressive change. He portrays the absence of material testimonies to history as a problematic failure to orient the past properly within the present.

Throughout the 1805 edition of the Prelude, Wordsworth exhibits concern about the flawed teleological orientation that sought to control how the past manifested in the present through iconoclastic destruction. While outlining the itinerary for his trip to Paris in the winter of 1792, Wordsworth claims that he wants to visit “each spot of old and 84 recent fame” (1805 IX.42) though “chiefly the latter” (43). Introduced with a loaded description evocative of “spots of time,” the attractions are neither of recent nor of old fame, but spots of recent fame that appropriate the old fame in the service of the new

Republic. The “field of Mars” “Mont Martyr,” and the “Dome of Geneviève,” to name a few, hosted key scenes in the Republican history, and the new government carefully selected those sites because of their significance prior to the Revolution. The Paris itinerary, therefore, emphasized destinations that feature the present’s relationship to the past, and the management of that relationship disappoints Wordsworth.

Before it hosted some of the most famous Revolutionary festivals, the Champ de

Mars symbolized aristocratic oppression of the lower classes, making it a prime location for Republican celebration. Originally, the site provided free gardening land for the common people until the construction of the adjacent Military School that housed officers from poor aristocratic families in the mid-eighteenth century. With the school’s construction, that land became the designated practice yard for military drills, yet another slight of the aristocracy against the lower classes. Because of this history, the new

Federation chose to commemorate the fall of the Bastille and the king’s acceptance of the new constitution in 1790 with a festival on that same field, but the symbolic reminder of past political slights ultimately worked against that same Republic.

A few months before Wordsworth’s visit in 1791, the National Assembly reinstated the king despite the protests of the general populace, and 6000 citizens assembled at the Champ de Mars to sign a petition protesting the actions of the new

Republic. The document insisted that the Assembly no longer acted according to the will of the people and demanded the abolition of the monarchy. Angered at the continued 85 abuse of political power, the crowd grew violent and threatened to harm two suspected loyalists in the crowd. When the National Guard intervened, the conflict escalated, resulting in at least fifty deaths and numerous other wounds. The “massacre” at the field caused yet another shift in the “fame” of the site and made manifest the widespread disappointment at the Revolution’s failure to exact the desired political change. By

Wordsworth’s return in 1792, it marked not only the sins of the former monarchic government, but also the new those of the new Republican assembly; what had been a site of hope in the potential for political change was now a site of disillusion and disappointment. The “old and recent fame” of the Champ de Mars in The Prelude works in historical layers of desired and undesired meaning, hinting that Wordsworth ideal orientation adopts a fuller view of these “past” presences. Advocating medievalism and anachronism, it is neither a wholesale acceptance nor rejection of a problematic past, but an inoculate form of the past inhabiting the present. Under the anachronism label, historic sites can underscore the faults of the past as undesirable and backward while ensuring that the virtues remain available to the present.

Contrasting the “clamorous halls” (IX.46) and Miltonic “hubbub wild” (55),

Wordsworth separates the visit to the Place de la Bastille from the rest of the lines describing the 1792 Paris trip. Wordsworth remains an active and mobile figure at other locations in Paris, imitating his autobiographical lines from Descriptive Sketches.

However, he also imitates the static shift that occurs at Chartreuse when he describes his sensations in the square that housed the Bastille ruins. Before its destruction, the Bastille was a quintessentially medievalist site, recording a veneration of the feudal society and 86 testifying to the enduring power of the monarchy. After its destruction, it was another dangerous invitation to historical fantasy for Wordsworth.

He begins the Bastille passage in a separate stanza, already seated among the ruins where “silent zephyrs” (64) sport “with the dust/ of the Bastile” (64-5). He brackets the scene as a separate stanza to emphasize its importance, for at the ruins of the Bastille,

Wordsworth explicitly confronts his disappointment in a revolutionary monument.

Copying standard tourist behavior, he pockets a stone from the rubble, but only under the

“guise of an enthusiast” (66-7), observing that he looked for something he could not find in the ruins. He ends the passage with a description of LeBrun’s Mary Magdalene, describing his preference for the Catholic icon rather than the Revolutionary monuments and ruins, another echo of Descriptive Sketches. Like that poem, he locates all travel to and from the site outside the stanza to concentrate the temporal sense of the passage in the present, insisting that the medieval past remains immediate and very present even when the medievalist testimonies have been removed.

By 1816 Wordsworth explicitly extolled the virtues of Carthusian monasticism as key contributor to Republican values, a regenerative and remedial manifestation of an alternative temporality. The 1850 edition of The Prelude notes how the monastery would

“equalize” the upper and lower classes (VI.455-6), going so far as to establish Chartreuse as a temple of reason despite its Catholic inhabitants. He claims that it teaches “conquest over sense” through “faith and meditative reason” (459-60). Even further, he explicitly articulates the lessons implied in Descriptive Sketches. Specifically, he highlights how the monastery and the grounds work together to teach individuals how “from the blank abyss / To look with bodily eyes, and be consoled” (470-1). In other words, he credits 87

Chartreuse with instructing individuals how to respond to the disappointing and disorienting spots of time. To that end, he articulates his torment that his enthusiasm for

Chartreuse would clash with his enthusiasm for liberty, equality, and social progress. He paints the Revolutionaries calling for the monastery’s destruction as “unrestricted and unthinking” people (478), turning their own rhetoric on its head and condemning them by their own emphasis on reason. Echoing his earliest anachronism, Wordsworth adapted the context in which he visited Chartreuse and used it to illustrate its many virtues. He crafted a medievalism as an anachronism, allowing for the faults of the medieval inheritance without losing access to its virtues and situating the monastery as the source for education about the healing power of spots of time.

Given the negative reports on monasticism circulating through the literary world, it is striking that every record of Wordsworth’s 1790 visit to Chartreuse implies his delight with the institution. Writing to his sister, Dorothy, on the tour, two of

Wordsworth’s letters convey a surprising attraction to the convent, though, unfortunately, one of those letters is lost. However, we can guess at the impression its contents would convey based on the contents of the survivor and subsequent testimonies. Years after

Wordsworth’s visit, Robert Jones would encourage Wordsworth to return there on his second continental tour, 77 a record that implicitly echoes Robert Southey and Dorothy

Wordsworth’s observations about Wordsworth’s experience there. However, on the tour in question, Wordsworth pointedly refused to revisit the monastery.

Though his party took an almost identical route through the Alps, Wordsworth would not return to Chartreuse. This tour occurred shortly after the monks had been

77 Jones asks, “Did you revisit the Grand Chartreuse? I hope you did.” 88 invited back to the Grande Chartreuse; nevertheless he defied the wishes of his travel companions. His reluctance indicates that it was Carthusian life as a whole that had so surpassed his expectations in 1790 because, while the scenery remained unchanged, the events of 1792 had forever altered the monastery and its inhabitants. If it were the scenery alone that had formed the favorable impression, Wordsworth could have no qualms about returning as he did to the other sites from the 1790 tour, but even if the scenery remained, the integrity of its monks’ medieval lifestyle was gone. Having been neglected and robbed repeatedly during the monks’ absence, the remaining buildings needed serious repair. The brothers had lost most of the cloister’s books and paintings at various auctions.78 The missing library and neglected grounds rendered the former

Carthusian pursuit of solitary contemplation impossible, forcing the monks to spend their time on repairs and to seek assistance from the outside world in maintaining their lifestyle. Recovering from the Revolutionary violence, Chartreuse was no longer what it had been, and as indicated through his poetry, Wordsworth was profoundly disappointed in its alteration.

The monastery was absent materially, but he rendered it ever present through his writing. Even when he was most inclined to sanction the actions of the French

Republican Government, he repudiated their reaction to anachronisms in the landscape.

He would not publish an explicit treatise on the dangers of memeism, but his early work, including Descriptive Sketches and Salisbury Plain, illustrates these dangers. His investment in preserving the medieval heritage was not a conservative impulse that

78 Chateaubriand records his visit to the monastery in his memoirs, and he notes that some of the hermit fathers remained there under the care of local friends though they were dying. 89 developed in his later years, but an integral part of his Romantic ambitions from 1793 to the end of his life in 1850. Even further, his conception of spots of time and the role that a present past plays in private and public regeneration can be traced directly to his encounters with a living medieval past. Though he would admit Chartreuse to be anachronistic, he would identify that anachronism as a virtue and incorporate a formal version of that controversial temporality into the heart of his poetic project. Chartreuse was only one among many influential experiences that shaped his “spots of time” and developed his poetic mind, but it was one spot that explicitly articulated an alternative temporality and the means to navigate disappointment.

Through anachronistic medievalism, Wordsworth carved a space where history could remain a helpful presence, available to travelers seeking a broader understanding of reality, but he was not the only Romantic writer to note the benefits of a present past.

Germaine de Staël repeatedly observed the correlation between a modern nation’s identity and their medieval past, rendering attention to the medieval a necessity for those seeking to understand the present. She would set a medievalism in the Italian landscape, juxtaposed with conventions from sentimental novels, as a striking commentary on the essential lessons modern people can and should seek out from their respective histories.


The Liminal “Moyen Age”: Sites of Liberty and Grief in Germaine de Staël's Corinne, ou


Given that nineteenth-century travelers flocked to Italy in pursuit of ancient

Roman, baroque, or neoclassical architectural treasures, it is striking that Germaine de

Staël’s Corinne, ou l’Italie exhibits any sign of medievalism. De Staël published the novel in 1807, a time when notions of the moyen âge were in their infancy, yet she explicitly comments on the medieval history of Italy’s noteworthy sites, even those originating in the Roman Empire. Though the novel’s namesake observes that the Italians prefer their classical inheritance (115), Corinne explores how their society remains intimately connected to competing figurations of the medieval. Its marriage-plot deftly intertwines with a travelogue, and as the characters proceed through their travel itinerary, de Staël draws out the medieval presence among the pasts recorded in Italy's cities and landscapes.

Madame de Staël’s portrait of Italy is an unlikely host for medievalism, but it nevertheless offers an intriguing testimony about the correlation between nineteenth- century modernity, Romanticism, and attempts to figure the Middle Ages. Throughout the novel, de Staël highlights the presence of Gothic fortresses and cathedrals, and significant revelations occur at medieval ruins. In addition, Corinne observes that medieval Italy jealously guarded the liberty of the republics (160), a history conventionally associated with the Roman forum, and the narrator claims that constructions from ancient debris conjure images of the Middle Ages (136). Even the final glimmer of hope for Oswald, Corinne’s melancholic love interest, is firmly 91 connected to medieval phenomena, namely the cathedral, yet criticism tends to concentrate on the novel’s .79 Nevertheless, such analyses emphasize the novel’s general interest in periodization, laying an important foundation for reading its medievalist elements and highlighting the significance of a cited “moyen âge” (136). 80

As a blend of the travelogue and novel, Corinne stands apart from de Staël’s other compositions. The text incorporates conventions of the sentimental novel, gothic romance, travel guide, and travel narrative, resulting in a chimerical whole that de Staël would call a “roman-voyage” or “travel-novel” (Darbellay 28). Jennifer Law-Sullivan credits de Staël with bringing this literary form to the attention of other female writers in the nineteenth century, naming the genre that of the “novelogue.”81 This genre, she argues, situated their work between conventional boundaries, carving a niche that drew from traditionally feminine genres to intervene in traditionally masculine provinces such as domestic and international politics. Reinforcing the attempt to transgress or transcend

79 For readings that emphasize the novel’s classicism, see Smith 67-74, Macherey 11-37, Bercegol 31-54, Mah 116-37, and Edwards 183-202. 80 De Staël maintained ongoing discourse with the prominent philosophers who influenced not only her conception of the medieval, but also of history and of periodicity. Kari Lokke, for example, has demonstrated the close ties between de Staël’s association with Romanticism and her investment in idealism, drawing from Marshall Brown’s controversial definition of Romanticism as the “revolutionary reawakening of the Enlightenment” (46). Though Brown likely draws too direct a line between eighteenth- century idealism and Romanticism, his insistence that these late-eighteenth and early nineteenth-century thinkers considered idealist philosophies in their writings holds true for Germaine de Staël. While acknowledging errors in de Staël's articulation of idealist philosophy, Lokke shows how de Staël built her own notion of perfectibility on Kant’s foundation and cites Corinne as an instance where de Staël privileges “the dimension of time” (508) as a critical player in that concept. 81 “Border Crossings as a Gateway to Border Dwellings” examines the origin and transformation of the “novelogue” in the context of the nineteenth century. Sullivan suggests that the phenomenon primarily appears in the work of female authors who developed the novelogue as a means of occupying space between the confines of accepted boundaries, be they respective to gender roles, nations, or emotions. 92 traditional boundaries, the focus of Corinne's content mirrors its chimeric form. De

Staël's heroine and the novel's namesake, Corinne, manifests an in-between, hybrid identity: spending hear early youth in Italy because of her Italian mother before traveling to England to live with her father. Corinne then leaves England and becomes an exile because English custom outlines a confining domestic role for women, stifling her creative genius and expressive disposition. 82 Though Corinne cooperates with boundaries and categorical conventions at times, at no point does she properly belong within them, privileging fractured pieces of her identity before finally moving into voluntary exile, a permanent state beyond borders that subverts patriarchal rule. De

Staël's heroine embraces the freedom of exile as a liminal status that allows for her hybrid identity. She retains her English investment in truth and combines it with the Italian interest in beauty, just as de Staël combines aspects from various literary genres, becoming Italy's premiere poet and artistic genius. 83

82 Though most critics emphasize Corinne's femininity and de Staël's feminist intervention in contemporary society, Gayle A. Levy argues that Corinne and Corinne embody a harmony of male and female traditions, drawing on the biblical Old Testament prophets, a predominately masculine group, as well as the classical sibyl as metaphors for Corinne's divine genius. This illustrates a growing trend toward non-gendered readings of de Staël's prescriptions for positive change; though select concepts in her work certainly pertain to gender, other concepts like medievalism are neither properly masculine nor properly feminine. However, Claire Saunders has identified a female medievalism that utilizes the popularity of medievalist production to criticize imperial expansion. De Staël incorporates this criticism in Corinne, but as chapter two and chapter four demonstrate, this was not a practice limited to female writers. 83 Laurent Darbellay, Maria Dolores Picazo, and Véronique Magri-Mourgues address how Corinne adapts the conventions of travel writing, Brigitte Louichon and Javier del Prado Biezma the conventions of sentimental literature, as well as Lotterie's “Madame de Staël,” and April Alliston and Diedre Shauna Lynch the gothic elements. Each conclude that de Staël subverts conventions of the respective traditions. For example, Lynch concludes that the end of Corinne alludes to the revenge plots of gothic novels wherein patriarchal rule has been flouted and then restored. She argues that de Staël's inverts them through Oswald's devotion to women who now increasingly realize 93

Deriving its name from the Latin for “middle,” a liminal orientation, I suggest that de Staël employs medievalism in Corinne as another subversive liminality. Though criticism has yet to address the novelogue’s medievalism, the concept is so pervasive that it even appears in the novel's form and content, taking the story from a medieval romance. The main characters come from an called Die Saalnixe that is based on one of La Motte-fouqué’s romantic tales. They therefore stage an implicit intervention against anti-medievalism that underscores the explicit medievalism de Staël presents through the places that these romance characters visit.84 The opera narrates the ill-fated love of a river nymph and a knight, and key scenes from the story appear in de

Staël’s travelogue, if in a less mythological context. For example, when contemplating his reflection in the Trevi fountain, Oswald startles at finding Corinne’s image beside his own, a reiteration of the meeting between the nymph and the knight. However, these medievalist references comprise a small piece of the more explicit medievalist message that de Staël proposes through the novel's setting. The commentary on historic places argues that, just as Corinne encountered oppressive attempts to curb her nature in

England, Italy faced oppressive pressures to deny its native tendencies in the medieval period, but just as Corinne found a liminal space in which to thrive, this history ultimately proves fruitful and provides Italy with a glorious contribution to modern

the freedom and inspirational genius of his one-time mistress, Corinne (216-7). Christopher Nagle discerns a similar subversion in de Staël's adaptation of sensibility in “Traveling Pleasures and Perils of Sensibility.” He suggests that she uses sensibility as a means of subverting historical narrative to emphasize the potential in past realities, of narrating history without ordering it or imposing the anachronistic perspective of future generations. 84 Alexandre Minski analyzes de Staël’s general intervention in preservation discourse, but he does not address any specific approach to the medieval inheritance. 94 nations. Thus, as de Staël renders this history explicit, she implicitly gestures toward medievalism as the means to remedy problematic modern tendencies.

To date, analyses of de Staël’s investment in the medieval inheritance concentrate on De l’Allemagne (1810). Alicia Montoya turns to that work, for example, when she positions de Staël’s medievalism as an alternative to Napoleon’s . The

Middle Ages, she argues, offer de Staël a “freer model of art and power” (1) than ancient

Greek or Roman history. Ian Wood, however, cites this nebulous “freer” medievalism as the sign of a less sophisticated philosophy. He suggests that de Staël’s medieval interests were those of a “dilettante” (84), a means to humiliate Napoleon and paint his cultural aspirations as tired revivals of Roman glory. However, general consensus identifies subtle sophistications in her medievalisms. Peter Raedts, for example, suggests that her writing exhibits a close attention to developing historical theories and , particularly those of . Raedts argues that de Staël understood how Herder’s conception of modern nationhood necessitated an interest in the medieval as the period when the birth of contemporary politics and culture took place. Thus, he concludes that she showcases the glories of modernity as the offspring of medieval phenomena. He underscores that, for de Staël, the Middle Ages sparked the modern glory of Germany, France, and England because the dominant political powers during that era hailed from northern lands, providing a native historical foundation for modern prestige.

However, a predecessor to De l’Allemagne, namely Corinne, also drew a link between modern glory and the medieval past, but this link establishes the modern glory of Italy.

Positioning de Staël as an interlocutor in philosophical concerns about the medieval inheritance, this chapter explores how Corinne intervenes in developing 95 conceptions of the moyen âge through Oswald's travel itinerary and the comments on select sites within it. In short, I argue that the novelogue critiques dismissals of the medieval inheritance, a tendency found in contemporary philosophy, and, like

Wordsworth, crafts a medievalism through literature to replace problematic approaches to that past. Corinne frames medievalism as one of Italy’s modern virtues because of the violent history it includes, and I suggest that de Staël’s allusions to Enlightenment philosophy position her Italian medievalisms as a remedy for modern tendencies toward stagnation and regression precisely because the “medieval” has problematic associations with oppressive infrastructures and inferior cultural production.85

Corinne's plot tracks the love affair between its namesake, a witty, stimulating

Italian poetess, and Oswald, a melancholic Scottish lord. It follows their growing affection as she leads him on a tour through Italy's noteworthy sites, and as they travel, de

Staël interjects commentary about the specific places that they visit. At times, Corinne provides the digression, acting as Oswald’s knowledgeable guide. On other occasions, de

Staël’s narrator halts the narrative to instruct the reader. This practice situates the tale in

85 Through Germaine de Staël’s parents, she commanded a sophisticated understanding of Enlightenment philosophy that cultivated natural sympathies for its shortcomings. As Louis XVI’s minister of finance, Staël’s father, Jacques Necker, presented a model of reason and moderation in the French government, supporting institutional reform in the French government. He was instrumental, for example, in prompting French aid to the American colonies during their revolution. For that reason, Necker survived the fall of the king, though his proposed plan for gradual and reasoned reforms failed to garner wide support. Her mother hosted a well-known salon frequented by Enlightenment thinkers like Buffon and Diderot and was herself an active politician, promoting social reform through writing and humanitarian projects. Her surviving texts include a treatise on divorce and one on medical care. Jean-Claude Bonnet offers a more thorough description of Jacques Necker’s Enlightenment ties and of de Staël’s reception of this inheritance in “Le Musée Staëlien,” and Dena Goodman offers a more thorough history of Suzanne Necker’s Enlightenment involvement in “Suzanne Necker’s Melanges: Gender, Writing, and Publicity” 210-23. 96 the tradition of the gothic novel, for infamously set numerous texts in Italy that include such digressions, though she, unlike de Staël, had never been there. Other elements also echo . For example, Corinne is occasionally seized with a premonition of future tragedy when she sees the moon, and her love affair with Oswald is threatened by the will of a dead patriarch who speaks from beyond . However, de Staël's gothic has the authority of the authoress' personal knowledge of the sites it describes and is far less lurid. The voice from the grave appears in the form of a letter, and Corinne soon rallies after her dark premonitions. Furthermore, however severe the pressures to conform, no character is literally tortured, enslaved, or imprisoned, and no character encounters manifestations of the past in the form of or monsters. However, as the characters move through Italy’s historic sites, the past haunts the novel’s present. Though the love story is very compelling and indicative of sentimental and gothic novels, the plot sets the scene for the travelogue rather than the reverse.

Throughout the novel, Oswald struggles with melancholy due to the premature loss of his father, and that melancholy leads him to Rome, a city likewise haunted by an all-too-present absence. There, Oswald falls in love with Corinne, the novel's namesake, who insists that he travel beyond Rome and acquaint himself with her . After returning to England, Oswald meets and later marries Lucile, his father’s preferred choice and Corinne’s half-sister, but his past love for Corinne haunts his marriage, rendering himself and his wife unhappy. Once again, Oswald journeys to Italy seeking relief for his misery, and at the Milan Cathedral, an architectural summary of de Staël’s medievalism,

Oswald begins to reconcile with his wife. However, Oswald’s potentially happy ending 97 contrasts Italy’s fate. Napoleon’s forthcoming Italian campaign would reincarnate the oppression and trauma of Italy’s Middle Ages.

Juxtaposing the struggling nation with Oswald’s melancholy, de Staël dramatizes unproductive and fruitful responses to the past, situating Italy's medievalism as a successful model for navigating inevitable disappointments and hegemonic pressures.

Both Italy and Oswald’s struggles arise from a too-present past, for Oswald keeps his father alive through imagination and Italy literally faces another oppressive attempt to undermine its independence a few years after Oswald’s journey. This link between

Oswald’s struggle and those of Italy both de-sensationalizes the Middle Ages portrayed in popular contemporary literature and valorizes the medieval legacy as a positive contributor to modernity: Italy retained a native identity despite the violence of its moyen

âge, an inspiring precedent, and Oswald begins to move beyond the of his father at Milan cathedral despite the error in his choice of wife. For Oswald and Italy, the medieval inheritance provides a helpful model for negotiating hegemonic pressures and difficult transitions.

At Corinne’s coronation speech, the first appearance of the novel's namesake, de

Staël explicitly situates the medieval as a liminal period that reflects the world that precedes its beginning and prescribes the world that follows its end. When describing the greatest figures in , Corrine refers to Dante as “l’Homère des temps modernes” (60; “the of modern times” 29) because “L’Italie, aux temps de sa puissance, revit tout entière dans Le Dante” (60; “Italy, at the height of its power, lives again to the full in Dante’s work” 29). Corinne goes on to explain the power of Italy, not as a national unification, but as a prevailing ambition for liberty, “l’esprit des 98 républiques” or “the spirit of the Republics” (60-1) inherited from the ancient world. Her articulation implicitly refers to the foreign ambition for conquering Italy that she would later make explicit as a reminder that while corruption prevailed in both political and religious medieval infrastructures in Italy, a stable and authentically Italian culture flourished, a culture characterized by the desire for liberty. She explains that Dante was a

“guerrier” or warrior as well as a poet (61); he lived the spirit of the Republic and fought for it, but his life ultimately provides a testimony to the inevitability of private and public disappointments.

In the context of de Staël’s novel, Dante provides a rubric for reading the liminality of the Middle Ages and for predicting the benefits of medievalisms. Her description echoes Elightenment commentary, both admitting an antiquated quality to

Dante's work and describing its accomplishments as the product of a classical inheritance.

However, she valorizes that medieval adaptation of ancient Italian identity. Dante composed his magnum opus, the Comedia, one of the first and greatest medieval texts in the Italian vernacular, during his exile, and Corinne similarly composes poetry in exile that highlights the beauty and musicality of modern Italian.86 Like Corinne, Dante was

86 Numerous studies address Corinne's seeming divine status as a poet, which highlights another connection between herself and Dante. His Comedia would become known as The . For more information on the novel's exploration of exile see Yota Batsaki and April Alliston (Yota explores exile as a space of perpetual foreignness due to the accent of one's speech while Alliston suggests that exile is the occasion for a break with traditions both masculine and feminine in the introduction to Virtues Faults). For more information on Corinne's prophetic genius, see Claudine Herrmann, Gayle A. Levy, Jennifer Law-Sullivan's “Civilizing the Sibyl,” and Simone Balayé's “La génie et la gloire dans l'œuvre de Mme de Staël.” Claire Garry-Boussel also offers a reading of the relationship between expatriation and female freedom from domesticity in “Les Conduites Spatiales des personnages masculins dans les écrits fictionnels de Mme de Staël,” and Marie-Françoise Delpeyroux considers the relationship between inspiration and rhetoric as a mark of Corinne's freedom and a weapon for women's liberation. 99 exiled in pursuit of freedom and died in that state, but their lives and their writing bolster the spirit of liberty. Dante would die in exile, but his writing records an ongoing, passionate commitment to freedom in the Italian people. Corinne, gifted with the insight of an English intellect, also enjoys the independence of her Italian heritage and explicitly comments on that independence to Oswald (152). Though exile proved similarly fruitful for the arts in the medieval and modern periods, exile nevertheless denotes a kind of stagnation, a perpetual disenfranchisement from one's native context. Though productive, it is a state defined by one's removal beyond borders, just as the “Middle Ages” label encompasses a period outside the borders of the ancient and the modern and medievalism denotes a temporal displacement of that liminal heritage.

As a leading salonière of her time, de Staël’s social circle included notable figures in ongoing debates about the virtue and folly of the medieval. She was intimately connected to historical philosophers such as Karl Wilhelm Friedrich Schlegel and Jean

Charles Léonard de Sismondi, as well as notable artists such as Lord George Gordon

Byron and François-René de Chateaubriand.87 De Staël, a woman noted for her keen interest in philosophical conversation, would have been privy to their debates, and, among these intellectuals, definitions of the medieval varied as widely as their political philosophies.

For some, the Middle Ages left a positive legacy. Those invested in chivalry, e.g.,

Schlegel, Richard Hurd, and Sir Walter Scott, frequently defined the medieval according to its literary heroism, reading chronicles, chansons de geste, and romances as a

87 Michael Glencross provides a general summary of Sismondi’s medievalism, Chateaubriand’s influence in the concept, and its relation to de Staël’s salon in Reconstructing Camelot pp 4-19. Walter Kudrycz provides an extensive analysis of Schlegel’s understanding of the “medieval” in The Historical Present 55-80. 100 continuation of the classical virtues showcased in epics like the Aeneid (29-19 BCE). In temporal terms, the medieval heroic or chivalric age began after the fall of the

Ostrogothic kingdom (553) and covered the rise of the imperial dynasties like the

Normans (911-1135) and the Franks (509-887), groups whose rule strongly impacted the development of modern nations. Others, e.g., Chateaubriand and Friedrich Schiller, ascribed the beginning of the medieval to Constantine’s Christian empire (313)88 and marked its end with the Protestant rebellions against the Catholic Church (1517) or the fall of Constantinople (1453).89 These individuals varied even more widely in their perspectives on the worth of the medieval inheritance. Chateaubriand, for example, would defend Catholicism as the stimulus for significant cultural, social, and personal growth in Génie du Christianisme (1802), implicitly arguing in favor of protecting the medieval material inheritance. However, others, including Schiller, disagreed.

Forming yet another definitive approach to the medieval, many of the “Lumières” or Enlightenment philosophers preferred to delineate the medieval through absence, implicitly rendering the medieval legacy irrelevant to modern life. This group fixed the beginning of the Middle Ages in the year Rome fell to Odoaker in 476 and the end of the period in the classical revival that accompanied the Renaissance. As noted in the introduction, they described the medieval through metaphors of darkness, culminating in the common substitution of the “Dark Ages” for the “Middle Ages” that continues today.

88 There is no consensus about the timing of Constantine's conversion, and the date I cite here is for the Edict of Milan which granted tolerance to Christians throughout the Roman Empire. 89 E.G. Stanley provides a thorough examination of the medieval and its connotations in “The Early Middle Ages=The Dark Ages=The Heroic Age of England and in English” from The Middle Ages after the Middle Ages. For other linguistic histories, see The Making of the Middle Ages and Nils Holger Petersen’s “Medieval Resurfacings, Old and New.” 101

René Descartes, Immanuel Kant, Voltaire, and even Jean-Jacques Rousseau number among these thinkers. For example, though he would revive a medieval love story in one of his most celebrated texts, Julie, ou La Nouvelle Héloïse (1761), Rousseau opened

Discours sur les sciences et les arts (1750) with a treatise on the dark barbarity that enveloped humankind until the fall of Constantinople in 1453 heralded a classical revival.

For those emphasizing absence, the Middle Ages disappoint not only in the security of oppressive infrastructures like feudal rule and Catholicism, but also in the quality of cultural production that such oppression generated. At the close of

Observations on the Feeling of the Beautiful and Sublime (1764), Kant observed that following the end of the Roman republic, a general aesthetic and cultural decline took place:

Die Barbaren, nachdem sie ihrerseits ihre Macht befestigten, führten einen gewissen verkehrten Geschmack ein, den man de gotishchen nennt und der auf Fratzen auslief...Der höchste Schwung, den das menschliche Genie nahm, um zu dem Erhabenen aufzusteigen, bestand in Abenteuern. Man sah geistliche und weltliche Abenteurer und oftmals eine widrige und ungeheure Bastardart von beiden...Während dieser Zeit ward die Religion zusamt den Wissenschaften und Sitten durch elende Fratzen entstellt, und man bemerkt, daß der Geschmack nicht leichtlich auf einer Seite ausartet, ohne auch in allem übringen, was zum feineren Gefühl gehört, deutliche Zeichen seiner Verderbnis darzulegen.(56-7)

[The barbarians, after they in their turn had established their sway, introduced a certain perverted taste called the Gothic, which discharged itself in the .…The highest point to which the human genius was allowed to soar in its attempt to master the Sublime was the Barbaresque. Romances, both temporal and spiritual, were then exhibited on the stage of nations, and oftentimes with a disgusting and monstrous abortion of both in combination…During this period, religion together with the sciences was disfigured by miserable follies, and we have occasion to observe that taste does not easily degenerate on one side without giving clear indications of corruption in everything else that has to do with finer feelings.” (Goldthwait 114-5)]

Kant’s comments are strikingly negative, permeated with images of perversions and monstrosities and lacking in redemptive features. Though he repeatedly asserts that 102 history generally tends toward positive change in a gradual realization of natural law,90 he characterizes a millennia of European cultural production as monocultural perversion and folly. However, contemporaries noticed that the overwhelmingly negative reading of the medieval period troubled perfectibility, and as a result, adopted different approaches.91

Schiller was not so entirely critical of the medieval, though he too insisted on the ultimate inferiority of its legacy. 92 The influence and power of the medieval Catholic

Church led him to agree that a metaphorical darkness dominated the Mittelalter, but he proposed that that same religious trend, if initially problematic, eventually inspired progressive social change. He argued that the medieval brought the concept of spirit to the fore in human civilization through such an institutionally fixed connection between social and religious life, a critical development according to his teleology. For Schiller the end of history, the goal of progress in other words, constitutes a negotiation between matter and spirit that increasingly realizes true freedom. Thus, freed from the tyrannical power of the church, modern nineteenth-century spiritualism represented a critical progressive step because it raised consciousness about the relationship between spirit and

90 In addition to his explicit discussion of teleology in Idee zu einer allgemeinen Geschichte in weltbürgerlicher Absicht or Idea for a Universal History from a Cosmopolitan Point of View (1784), the Kritik der Urteilskraft or Critique of Pure Judgment (1790) refers to purposiveness in nature, implicitly highlight the gradual changes over time that realize this purposiveness. Purposiveness, in other words, includes the idea of tendency in events, a gradual change toward a particular end, a teleology. See sections seven and eight. 91 Though I concentrate on Friedrich Schiller, G.W.F. Hegel also identified positive cultural developments in the Middle Ages. He suggests that served a fundamental need in humanity that modern art increasingly neglects in section 6 of Philosophie der Kunst or The Philosophy of Art. 92 Schiller’s concept and its relation to the medieval appears most explicitly in Was heist und zu welchem Ende studiert man Universalgeschichte or What is Universal History and To what end does one study it. For a thorough exploration of Schiller’s vision of the medieval, see Kudrycz 35-53. 103 matter. That awareness, Schiller argued, paved the way for renegotiations of their relationship and, through such change, for increasing actualization of freedom.

Acknowledging the darkness that philosophers like Schiller underscore, de Staël draws on the medieval examples of tyrannical oppression to emphasize models of coping with such repression, crafting a medievalism based on the sites that record responses to medieval traumas.

As previously noted, the concept of a national medieval past poses unique challenges to historiography. Political and economic infrastructures, though similarly hierarchical, fundamentally differ in the twelfth and eighteenth centuries, rendering any attempt to impose national boundaries in a medieval context anachronistic. In addition, the boundaries of “nation” are not fixed: they constantly change as territorial conflicts between “nations” resolve, troubling who can claim which history. Even more broadly, geographic borders based on medieval cultural and linguistic groupings do not align perfectly with those of nations. Nevertheless, developing nationalisms derived cultural capital from grounding their current identity in the medieval past, and this posed a special challenge in Italy. Even as de Staël refers to the moyen âge as a clearly defined period, she emphasizes how Corinne’s Italian setting exacerbates the anachronism of that periodization. Lacking an Arthur, Clovis, or Karl der grosse, Italy’s national identity narratives must look back to the ancient Romans for political cohesion.93

93 Though nationalist stirrings begin in Italy at the same time as other nations, the city- states would not unify until 1815 due to the constant invasions and wars. For example, Napoleon’s campaigns began in 1796 on behalf of the French republican government; they were at war with a coalition of European powers that formed in 1792 (including Italian states) to oppose revolutionary Republicanism. 104

Following the fall of the Roman Empire, violent and varied imperial expansions plagued Italy’s history. After the Goths came the Lombards, Charlemagne, the Arabs, and the Normans, and the impact of these violent conflicts appear in the historical sites visited by Oswald and Corinne. Roman sites bear the mark of the numerous powers that shaped its modern cityscape, featuring “ornements gothiques” (137; “Gothic decorations” 83) as well as “ornements à la manière des Arabes” (137; “Arab-style ornamentation” 83).

These varied aesthetics reveal how frequently Roman buildings change owners and inhabitants, a metonym for the frequent changes in political powers. At Santa Croce in

Florence, the narrator reads a portrait of Dante as a testament to how the Florentines

“l’ont laisse périr dans le supplice de l’exil” (516; “let him die in the misery of exile”

353), events that trace their cause back to the ironic historical inversion of the Lombard presence. Those who were Florentine conquerors in the sixth century became freedom fighters in the twelfth, seeking to halt the encroaching , to support the papacy, and to promote a more democratic government. Dante features their conflict with the Ghibellines, the party in favor of Holy Roman expansion, throughout the

Comedia, another reminder of the ongoing imperial violence during Italy’s medieval period. However, these allusions ultimately denote a positive Italian heritage in Corinne.

As Corinne observes to Oswald, the recognizably medieval aesthetic, namely the gothic, rarely appears in the Italian landscape and when it does, it only reminds the tourist of its non-native origins and the violent history it records. For example, mount Anxur holds one of Theodoric’s fortresses, but its presence underscores the gothic as an exception rather than the rule. Anxious to convey this distinction, Corinne quickly informs Oswald that the frequency of gothic architecture in northern Europe conveys an 105

“aspect guerrier” (285; “warlike appearance” 188) and that the absence of such fortifications in the south communicates a natural intervention against such cultural oppression. Unlike the native land of modern European imperial powers, southern soil

“n’ait pu garder les fortifications et les citadelles dont les pays du Nord sont hérissés.

Rarement un édifice gothique, un château féodal s’y rencontre encore, et les souvenirs des antiques Romains règnent seuls à travers les siècles, malgré les peuples qui les ont vaincus” (285; “could not retain the fortifications and citadels which bristle up in northern countries, and memories of ancient Romans reign alone across the centuries, in spite of the peoples who have conquered them” 188). Subtly, Corinne critiques the gothic as an emblem of northern failure, an assurance that violent cultural oppression goes against natural cultural progression, yet she also hints that such attempts to enforce conformity inevitably recur.

When explaining Italy's faults to Oswald, Corinne insists that they should be forgiven because they are not a natural occurrence. The nation’s failures, she argues, are the result of foreign ambition rather than a native tendency: “Les étrangers de tout temps ont conquis, déchiré ce beau pays, l’objet de leur ambition perpétuelle; et les étrangers reprochent avec amertume à cette nation les torts des nations vaincues et déchirées !”

(160; “In every age, foreigners have conquered and torn apart this beautiful country, the goal of their permanent ambition; and yet foreigners bitterly reproach this nation with the failings of nations that have been conquered and torn apart” 99). At the Castel Saint

Angelo, Corinne situates these conflicts as the medieval inheritance, naming “amis de la liberté romaine, qui ont pris si souvent les souvenirs pour des espérances” (99; “friends of

Roman liberty, who so often took memories for hopes” 56), Crescentius, Arnault de 106

Brescia, and Nicolas Rienzi, Republican leaders in the Italian struggles for independence.94 Her response simultaneously acknowledges the faults of Italy, but her explanation for those faults points to the love of liberty as a consequence of past failures.

Though they failed to obtain freedom, the men that she names reflect an ongoing passion for liberty in the Middle Ages, a careful preservation of cultural identity in the face of those who would force conformity to an alien identity.

Like Rome, also reflects the influence of medieval empires on a contemporary cityscape, but there these elements reflect liberty rather than oppression.

Medieval Venice remained an independent, thriving economic hub on the outskirts of two powerful empires, that of the Byzantines and that of the Muslims. Gothic and Moorish architecture thus reflects a cosmopolitan exchange in Venice and echoes Corinne’s description of Italy's ongoing commitment to liberty. Despite the shifting influences that prevented Italy from becoming a modern political power, de Staël insists that distinctly

Italian culture thrived in wonderfully varied forms, exemplifying a love of liberty rather than conformity. Venetian aesthetics, though lacking in beauty, reflect the state’s proud history of independence.

94 De Staël does not specify which Cresentius she means here, but both father and son were members of the Roman aristocracy in the tenth century that opposed imperial papal rule. Arnault de Brescia was a twelfth-century student of Pierre Abélard’s teachings on church reform who sided with the people of Rome in their attempt to regain control of Rome to form a Republican commune, and Nicolas Rienzi was a fourteenth-century tribune who led a revolt in favor of another republican government in opposition to the Holy Roman Empire. Rather than provide this information, de Staël adds a note citing Sismondi as the best source for the medieval history of Italy that would include biographies of these figures and the events that led to their struggle for independence. She defends her choice of historian as “un homme d’une sagacité profonde, aussi consciencieux qu’énergique dans sa manière de raconter et de peindre” (590; “a man of penetrating shrewdness, as conscientious as he is forceful in his manner of narration and portrayal” 405). 107

Presenting a similarly hybrid testimony, what remains of gothic architecture punctuates the Italian insistence on privileging native cultural influences in the face of powerful colonizers seeking to impose their culture on the Italian landscape. The cathedral in Milan, for example, privileges beauty over spiritual warfare (556), the hallmark of native Italian aesthetics rather than the preferred style of their northern oppressors.95 Roman ruins like the Castel Saint Angelo, too, contrast the serenity of native Italian aesthetics with the violence of the Northern invaders through the “hostile… fortifications extérieures qui contrastent avec le silence et la noble inutilité d’un monument funéraire” (99; “hostile…external fortifications which form a contrast to the silence and noble uselessness of a funeral monument” 56). The Italians privilege liberty in expression because their country contains so many reminders of political oppression, not despite these reminders. The distinction even subtly runs through the religious practices of the Italians, another medieval metamorphosis. In both the North and the

South, Christians “ont divinisé la mort” (96; “deified death” 54). However, southern

Catholicism “partout en Italie…a hérité du paganisme” (96; “has inherited from everywhere in Italy” 53), and paganism “a divinisé la vie” (96; “deified life”

54). This comparison establishes one of the greatest strengths of the medieval inheritance in Italy: a careful management of the grief that follows the inevitable demise of human individuals and their infrastructures.

95 Corinne argues that Italian Catholicism appeals to “l’imagination par les objets extérieurs” (103; “the imagination through external objects” 59), and she consistently justifies the Italian attention to external beauty in the face of Oswald’s criticisms. Speaking of , she ascribes beauty as the quality of the , and the stamp of the passions without beauty to the medieval (515). 108

As Corinne articulates repeatedly, Christianity concentrates on human suffering, its disappointments and challenges (99-112). Thus, the medieval manifestations concentrated not only on reconciling the individual to death, but also on how to negotiate

“l’éternelle mobilité de l’histoire des hommes” (121; “the changing vicissitudes of human history” 72). Both of these present significant challenges to modern individuals and to society in the novel. Italy’s accomplishments do not match those of modern nations because its medieval past includes too much change, and Oswald becomes estranged from life when his father dies, a drastic reminder of historical contingency. De Staël even makes this connection explicit:

Cette mort qui vient sans que le courage l’ait cherchée, cette mort des ténèbres, qui vous enlève dans la nuit ce que vous avez de plus cher, qui méprise vos regrets, repousse votre bras, et vous oppose sans pitié les éternelles lois du temps et de la nature, celte mort inspire une sorte de mépris pour la destinée humaine, pour l’impuissance de la douleur, pour tous les vains efforts qui vont se briser contre la nécessité. (30)

[The death which comes without being courageously sought, the death which comes in the darkness of night and carries off what you hold most dear, which despises your regrets, wards off your arm, and confronts you pitilessly with the eternal laws of time and nature, such a death inspires a kind of contempt for human fate, for the impotence of grief, for all the fruitless efforts which are going to be broken against the inevitable. (7)]

In other words, Oswald spirals into a self-destructive melancholy when confronted with human impotence to affect the natural progression of perfectibility. Lacking a helpful model for navigating the transition beyond disappointment and loss, Oswald endangers his life and becomes a living example of the past overtaking the present. Aligning the medieval with an attention to the inevitable alteration of all things, de Staël implicitly argues that the Italian medievalism and its attention to gloom and grief remains especially relevant for modern culture and for Oswald. Its reconciliation to grief, or at least 109 acknowledgment of its inevitability, models another form of independence, for it records the Italian defiance of hegemonic pressures in the admission that those pressures recur.

Even as she insists on a positive medieval legacy, de Staël illustrates how attempts to force cultural conformity produce disastrous results. When debating the value of purely aesthetic pleasures in poetry and prose, Oswald sharply critiques the Italian tendency to prioritize beauty over substance. Corinne, after citing notable exemptions from Italian literature, admits “des circonstances malheureuses ayant privé l’Italie de son indépendance, on y a perdu tout intérêt pour la vérité, et souvent même la possibilité de la dire” (175; “being deprived of their independence over the last few centuries by unfortunate circumstances, Italians have lost all interest in truth, and often even the possibility of expressing it” 110), a dire consequence indeed. Yet, her articulation of these consequences largely absolves the Italian people of responsibility for such failures and launches an implicit critique against those who would conquer Italy.

Though no explicit mention of Napoleon appears in the novel, de Staël implicitly addresses the philosophical foundation of the French empire. Her representative French character, Count d’Erfeuil, believes in French exceptionalism. He finds Germany boring

(34), expects to dislike Italy (36), and believes that his only consolation will come from finding French social circles abroad (36). He attributes any emotional distance between himself and Oswald, his traveling companion on the journey into Rome, to Oswald’s potentially insufficient command of the French language (36). Upon arrival, the Count always travels with a guidebook in hand, though he displayed no interest in the sites during the journey (46). De Staël paints him as a ridiculous figure, observing “il avait à la fois le double plaisir de perdre son temps à tout voir, et d’assurer qu’il n’avait rien vu qui 110 pût être admiré, quand on connaissait la France” (46-7; “he had the double pleasure of wasting his time seeing everything and of asserting that he had seen nothing worth admiring when one knew France” 19). He ruins the view of Vesuvius for Oswald by making a comparison with des Invalides, an action that the narrator describes as “plus patriotique que juste” (48; “more patriotic than accurate” 19). In addition, he adopts colonial postures in his interactions with people from other nations. His highest compliment to Corinne entreats her to speak French because she “en [est] vraiment digne” (74: “[is] truly worthy of it” 38). Because Corinne is so beautiful and accomplished, he assumes that she knows French (72). Perpetuating patriarchal standards, he attributes her unmarried status to a lack of suitable marriage partners (73), rather than entertain a feminist notion of female independence.

After introducing the character, de Staël includes a digression from the narrator that sets up the critique of imperial and colonial violence presented through Count d’Erfeuil and the novel’s medievalism. She argues that nature intends variety, implicitly critiquing hegemonic oppression as a violation of natural law. The narrator instructs that civilization “tend sans cesse à rendre tous les hommes semblables en apparence et presque en réalité; mais l’esprit et l’imagination se plaisent dans les différances qui caractérisent les nations” (39; “tends to make all men look alike and almost really be alike; but one's mind and imagination delight in the differences which characterize nations“ 13). This delight stems from the knowledge that variance is authentic, that conformity occurs by “l’affectation ou le calcul” or “pretence or calculation” (39) because “tout ce qui est naturel est varié” (39; “everything natural is varied” 13).

Stagnation, a quality ascribed to the Middle Ages by its critics, is not a natural occurrence 111 for de Staël, but an unfortunate consequence of enforcing conformity. Allowing difference to thrive “semble promettre une manière nouvelle de sentir et de juger” (39;

“predicts a new way of feeling and thinking” 13), the foundation of every positive change.

Though de Staël published Corinne after Napoleon's Italian campaign began in

1795, she sets Corinne on the heels of The Terror, implicitly refuting the argument that imposing hegemonic change is progress. 96 As Corinne anxiously leads Oswald through

Italy and explains its rich culture and history, she counters hegemonic perspectives of progress and the relation between nations. The violent and diverse history of the Italian principalities that followed the fall of the Roman Empire and the violence to come with

Napoleon's continental campaigns reinforce the tension between realizing liberty and enacting progress that she articulates in her instruction to Oswald. The novelogue insists that oppressive attempts to enforce cultural conformity deprive the modern world of essential contributions toward the common welfare, resonating with Wordsworth’s

Chartreuse passages. Corinne’s masterful explanations emphasize how history shapes national identities and how history’s narrator shapes one’s perspective of those identities.

As de Staël weaves history through the novel, she wields that narrative power against the pressure to stall positive change that the past exerts on the present.97

96 A reading of de Staël's response to Napoleon's advancement through fiction can be found in Edward Ousselin's “Madame de Staël et Victor Hugo face à la réalité et la légende napoléoniennes.” Jane Wilhelm offers an excellent analysis of de Staël's investment in perfectibility in “La traduction, principe de perfectibilité, chez Mme de Staël,” both with respect to perspectives voiced in her salon and to those particular to Corinne. 97 Bonnie Smith offers an excellent analysis detailing the presentation of history and historiography in de Staël’s novel. She argues that in an age when history strove to distinguish itself from fiction and establish a scientific identity, Corinne embodies a 112

At the Castel St. Angelo, Corinne explains the benefit of visiting historical sites

(99). She notes that the monument stands for all of Roman history, from the height of the ancient empire's power to its defeat by the Gothic invaders, and that it reflects the human ability to recognize a future beyond the individual’s limited subjective understanding because it was originally built as a tomb. On an individual scale, the tomb implicitly admits the limited capacity of individuals to predict or orchestrate the future. It also emphasizes that every individual and society must face the consequences of errors in judgment caused by that limited capacity. On a public scale, the tomb reflects an appropriate response to life's inevitable disappointments, reinforcing the gradual work of natural progress and subtly critiquing actions that work against it by eradicating cultural difference. Despite invasions and the numerous other attempts to subsume Italian heritage under an alien culture, a distinctly Italian testimony remains recorded in the very material foundation of the modern nation, one that fights the oppressive invader and acknowledges its disappointment at the need to do so. It features not only Italy’s glorious ancient heritage, but also Italy's medieval legacy as a careful protection of a native culture in light of strong pressure to do otherwise. The loss of liberty at the fall of ancient

Rome led to the medieval republics being “la plus jalouse de sa liberté” (160; “most jealous of [Italy’s] liberty” 99). Though the love of liberty precedes the Middle Ages, it is transformed and strengthened through the oppressive history of that period. This medievalism uses the glories of the past to assess present influences and to begin moving

lesson about how the narrator of history controls the narrative and that this lesson targets Napoleon and his love of historical genres. See “Corinne and the Hermeneutics of History” 67-74. 113 toward a remedy for those which are oppressive and stifling, balancing the tension between adapting to foreign influences and retaining native virtues.

On both a collective and personal scale, Corinne attributes Italy’s power to its manifestation of responses to change. Corinne admits that the only Italian glory lies in “la génie de l’imagination” (96; “the genius of imagination” 54), but imagination is also responsible for the trauma that follows the death of human institutions and individuals.

Grief depends on memory and imagination for its sustenance; thus, the stagnant, melancholic individual lives too much in memory through the imagination. However, the novel stresses that these faculties are essential and only become problematic when improperly engaged. Through Oswald and Corinne, it narrates how tourists and travelers can reconcile their imagination to the grief of historicity, an awareness of what has been lost and an apprehension for what is to come, when confronted with the inevitable end of all things in the form of monuments. However, the monuments that best facilitate this reconciliation are medievalist places, sites that are not strictly reserved as a focus for collective memory.

In Corinne, comments on ancient Italian historical sites contextualize the moyen

âge as a period that managed the grief stemming from undesirable alterations in the world. Corinne calls Rome “la patrie des tombeaux” (65; “the land of tombs” 32), and its sepulchers contain empires as well as individuals. At the height of Rome's imperial power, individuals designed memorials for their eventual demise, betraying an acceptance of death’s inevitability. The fall of the empire and the dawn of the Middle

Ages reinforced the inevitable occurrence of undesirable change in collective as well as individual experience. The novelogue's fictional premise illustrates the therapeutic role 114 of travel to historic places, but it distinguishes between sites where the past dominates the present and where the present testifies to the past.

As a travelogue, the novel moves through remnants of realities that no longer exist in both the travel itinerary and the lives of its characters. At times, these personal and public pasts collide. De Staël cites Pompeii as a rare opportunity to see the private lives of those who lived in the past, rare because so many historical remnants testify to collective experience (299-300), but Pompeii serves to diagnose Oswald’s problem rather than prescribe a remedy. Here she informs the reader that if Oswald “n’avait pas eu dans son pays de nobles intérêts à servir, il n’aurait trouvé la vie supportable que dans les lieux où les monuments de l’histoire tiennent lieu de l’existence présente” (302; “had not had noble interests to serve in his own country, he would have found life bearable only in places where historical monuments take the place of present day existence” 200), explicitly noting his tendency toward stagnation. This scene distinguishes medievalist from ancient sites explicitly: monuments like Pompeii represent stagnation, allowing the past to take over the present. The temptation to hide from present struggles in the glories of the past as represented by sites of memory such as Pompeii anticipates Heine’s criticism of Schlegel’s brand of Romantic medievalism and is particularly threatening in de Staël’s novel. Such temporal displacement, a removal from the flow of history, mirrors

Oswald’s status before traveling through Italy.

The device driving the marriage plot and necessitating the Italian tour, namely

Oswald’s bereavement, presents another manner in which the past threatens the future by dominating the present rather than inhabiting it. Despite the Corinne’s title, de Staël begins and ends the work with Oswald and his pitiful state. The first paragraph describes 115 his handsome features, noble air, and generous disposition, but it also confirms that “il mît peu d’intérêt à la conservation de ses jours” (27; “he took little interest in the preservation of his life” 5) due to his grief for his father and their unresolved conflicts.

Oswald had remained in post-revolutionary France for the sake of an unsuitable marriage prospect, ignoring his father’s numerous pleas to return to England and safety. The liaison eventually ended, but it was too late for Oswald to reconcile with his father.

Oswald’s grief causes “l’imagination [à ses regrets] mêlait ses fantômes” or “the imagination to blend its phantoms [with his regrets]” (27),98 taking over his life and displacing him from the present into the past.

Placing the burden of a too-present past at the fore, the entire novelogue depends on Oswald’s relationship to the past as the premise for his journey to Italy and for the introduction of Corinne. By contemplating his deceased father too earnestly, Oswald loses the “l’ardeur de vingt-cinq ans dans les réflexions mélancoliques de la vieillesse”

(30; “ardour of his twenty-five years into the melancholy reflections of ” 7). He is in danger from his attempts to understand his father’s state of mind because he begins to mimetically transform his own through imagination. The narrator insists that this change is “entièrement opposé aux volontés de la nature” (30; “entirely opposed to the will of nature” 7) because nature puts “ensemble et de la gradation dans le cours naturel des choses” (30; “consistency and gradualness in the natural order of things” 7). Not only has

Oswald defied natural change in becoming his father, but he has also defied the natural order in aging before his time, abusing his imagination and memory to his detriment.

98 The French syntax is not easily rendered in English, and I have provided a more literal translation than . She translates this as “enhanced by phantoms of his imagination” (5). 116

Such a state threatens Oswald’s life; he spends his time riding through the countryside, poised “sur le bord des abîmes” (16; “on the edge of abysses” 9).

De Staël explicitly characterizes the balm Oswald seeks in Italy as an application of imagination that draws on the past to benefit rather than hinder the present. The narrator posits, “que serait-ce donc s’il pouvait à la fois retrouver les souvenirs de sa patrie, et recevoir par l’imagination une vie nouvelle, renaître pour l’avenir, sans rompre avec le passé” (69; “How would it be then if he could simultaneously find memories of his native land and, through the imagination, receive a new life, if he could be reborn for the future without breaking with the past” 35). As Oswald’s story and de Staël’s narrator explain, this restoration occurs through tourism and travel because monuments, unlike other art forms, console the individual to the inevitable end of all things. In Rome, the city that trifles with time in all its forms, “on apprend à se calmer sur les évènements de son temps, en voyant l’éternelle mobilité de l’histoire des hommes ; et l’on a comme une sorte de honte de s’agiter, en présence de tant de siècles, qui tous ont renversé l’ouvrage de leurs prédécesseurs ” (121; “you learn to take the events of your own day calmly when you see the ever-changing vicissitudes of human history. You are almost ashamed to be worried in the presence of so many centuries which have all ventured the work of their predecessors” 72). For de Staël, the medieval inheritance prevents individuals from transgressing the boundary between helpful and harmful responses to loss. Fortunately, he travels to Italy and encounters Italian medievalism, providing a different model for managing past and present oppressive influences and thus some hope for his future.

Imagination, as opposed to memory, facilitates Oswald’s decline, and the novel suggests that travel in Italy redirects its influence for the better. When describing the 117 effect of historical tourism, Corinne explicitly observes how visiting monuments positively engage imagination. By contemplating the monument and imagining the past to which it testifies, individuals access “idées morales” and “sentiments désintéressés” (I.

160; “moral ideas” and “disinterested feelings” 56). Encouraging the individual away from bias and toward eternal truths, these musings ultimately produce a better awareness of one's position in relation to perfectibility, a better teleological orientation. At home,

Oswald cannot see the negative aspects of English culture, those which particularly threaten his own happiness and success. He can only free himself from the oppressive specter of his father if he can recognize the folly in deferring to that tradition. Through

Corinne’s instruction and the redirection of his imagination at monuments, he begins to admit alternative points of view. For example, while in Italy, he decides to marry

Corinne, believing that his father would approve if he understood how her virtues complemented those of Oswald. Yet after returning home, Oswald feels the pressures of conformity too strongly, becoming infatuated with the demure, sedate manifestation of femininity that his father prescribed. When he marries Lucile instead of Corinne, he mires himself in the past, considering only the will of a dead patriarch instead of his role in affecting a better future.

Happily, the novel only ends after demonstrating that travel positively redirects his imagination even in the absence of Corinne, his former guide. When he tours Italy a second time, Corinne is not there to interpret the sites, but Oswald nevertheless begins to overcome the negative influence of his past. Corinne’s ultimate iteration of the virtues of

Italian medievalism emerges at the novel’s close, once Oswald, his wife Lucile, and their daughter Juliet, undertake a tour of Italy together. At the beginning of the voyage, their 118 past haunted the present, preventing them from obtaining any pleasure or respite through their travels. Lucile knew of Oswald’s love for her sister, and he had grown discontent with the quiet, uncommunicative demeanor of his wife, silently contrasting her with

Corinne. As they travel through Italy, the marital divide increases due to the constant bad weather and disappointing landscapes. However, a glimmer of hope appears when the couple visits the cathedral at Milan and sees the greatest Italian adaptation of gothic aesthetics:

Le lendemain le soleil parut, et malgré les mauvais jours qui avaient précédé, il se montra brillant et radieux comme un exilé qui rentre dans sa patrie. Lucile et lord Nelvil en profitèrent pour aller voir la cathédrale de Milan…Lucile et lord Nelvil quittèrent Milan un jour où la terre était couverte de neige, et rien n’est plus triste que la neige en Italie. On n’y est point accoutumé à voir disparaître la nature sous le voile uniforme des frimas. (556-7)

[The next day the sun came out and, in spite of the preceding bad weather, it shone, brilliant and radiant, like an exile returning to his native land. Lucile and Lord Nevil took advantage of it to go and see Milan cathedral… Lucile and Lord Nelvil left Milan on a day when the ground was covered with snow, and nothing is more sad than snow in Italy. People are not used to seeing nature disappear beneath a uniform frosty veil. (382-3)]

The sudden change in the weather not only provides the opportunity for visiting Milan, but it also signals a change and source of healing in Oswald and Lucile’s relationship.

The frosty weather reflects his perception of Lucile’s quiet English manner and Lucile’s perception of his withdrawn contemplative nature. Even further, Oswald’s “pour l’Italie une sorte de coquetterie” (557; “coquetry on Italy’s behalf” 383) in the face of such disappointment prompts Lucile to gently taunt “Où donc est votre belle Italie?” (558; “So where is your beautiful Italy?” 383). Nevertheless, Milan provides a contrast, a welcome break from the freezing stagnation and disappointment with its brilliant and radiant sun.

Even further, the image of the returning exile borrows from Oswald’s earlier 119 characterization of what he needs to return to England as a healed man: a new life through memories of his native land and a healthy temporal orientation that moves toward the future without breaking with the past.

When describing the cathedral, de Staël points to its medieval testimony as a means of achieving this change. The narrative sets the character drama aside in order to digress on the meaning of Italian gothic architecture:

[C]’est le chef-d’œuvre de l’architecture gothique en Italie, comme St.-Pierre de l’architecture moderne. Cette église, bâtie en forme de croix, est une belle image de douleur qui s’élève au-dessus de la riche et joyeuse ville de Milan. En montant jusques au haut du clocher, on est confondu du travail scrupuleux de chaque détail. L’édifice entier, dans toute sa hauteur, est orné, sculpté, découpé, si l’on peut s’exprimer ainsi, comme le serait un petit objet d’agrément. Que de patience et de temps il a fallu pour accomplir un tel œuvre ! La persévérance vers un même but se transmettait jadis de génération en génération, et le genre humain, stable dans ses pensées, élevait des monuments inébranlables comme elles. Une église gothique fait naître des dispositions très-religieuses. a dit que les papes ont consacré, à bâtir des temples à la moderne, les richesses que leur avait valu la dévotion inspirée par les églises gothiques. La lumière qui passe à travers les vitraux coloriés, les formes singulières de l’architecture, enfin l’aspect entier de l’église est une image silencieuse de ce mystère de l’infini qu’on sent au- dedans de soi, sans pouvoir jamais s’en affranchir, ni le comprendre. (556-7)

[It is the masterpiece of Gothic architecture in Italy, as Saint Peter’s is of modern architecture. This church, built in the shape of a cross, is a beautiful representation of grief, rising over the rich, cheerful town of Milan. As you go up to the top of the tower, you are overwhelmed by the scrupulous work of every detail. The whole building in all its height is decorated with carvings sculpted, as it were, like a little ornament. What patience and time were needed to produce such a work! In the past, perseverance with the same goal was handed on from generation to generation, and humankind, stable in its ideas, erected monuments as unshakeable as itself. A Gothic church arouses very religious feelings. Horace Walpole said that “The Popes assigned the wealth, acquired from the piety inspired by the Gothic cathedrals, to the building of modern places of worship.” The light filtering through the stained-glass windows, the remarkable forms of architecture, in fact the whole appearance of the church, is a silent image of the mystery of the infinite, which we feel within ourselves, never able to free ourselves from it, nor understand it. (382-3)]


This description provides a microcosmic articulation of medievalism in the novel: physically transcending the city, the cathedral represents a medieval past that acknowledges bygone days while looking to the future, juxtaposing grief and cheer, pious humility and ambition. It characterizes the strength of medieval culture in persevering despite oppressive foreign influences. It acknowledges those that sought to conquer Italy by including gothic aesthetics, but privileges liberty in its beauty, an expression of the ancient Roman inheritance and the pagan attention to life over death.

When Milan embodies grief, it marks Italian medievalism as an intervention not only in the larger historiography that de Staël’s novel narrates through the tour, but also in Oswald’s personal history. Perseverance in grief leads to Oswald’s initial continental tour, his meeting with Corinne, and eventually his redemption through reconciliation with

Lucile. Milan emphasizes the need for perseverance in hope. Emphasizing the ornate and beautiful architecture, de Staël’s description echoes that of St. Peter’s cathedral where

Corinne posits that monuments inspire sublime experiences, juxtaposing beauty with gravitas so completely that the individual cannot focus on particulars and becomes carried away by a general sensation. In that same speech, Corinne posited that travel to such places brings people together,99 and although Corinne implies that she and Oswald are the people in question, the statement applies to Oswald and Lucile. Observing how the cathedral testifies to the limited historical perspective of humanity, de Staël asserts that we recognize the potential for misreading history through places, correcting false understandings by means of their testimony.

99“[I]l me semble qu’on se devient plus cher l’un à l’autre, en admirant ensemble les monuments qui parlent à l’âme par une véritable grandeur” ( 98; “It seems to me that people become dearer to each other when, together, they admire monuments whose true greatness speaks to the soul” 56). 121

In alluding to Horace Walpole, de Staël subtly communicates her intervention in representations of the medieval past. Though the un-cited quotation corresponds to

Walpole’s antiquarian investment in the Middle Ages, it references the father of gothic novels. He published The Castle of in 1764, including a preface that claimed to have found the manuscript and merely translated its contents for modern audiences.

Mentioning his perspective on medieval history implicitly references his sensational representation of it. The quotation even points to the passionate sentiments a gothic cathedral can inspire, but de Staël’s comments on the site emphasize medieval disappointments as the true source of modern inspiration. Her quotation situates medieval piety as another image of perseverance in the face of disappointment: the cathedral reminds individuals of their confinement in space and time by conveying the mystery of the infinite. At Milan, Oswald feels his ephemeral nature and the unchanging dignity of man. There, time is powerless because it conveys a temporality beyond human delineations, but it does so through medievalism, a temporal displacement that nevertheless exists in time. Through place, de Staël emphasizes the very qualities that led some to condemn the Middle Ages and transforms them into a positive heritage.

From the beginning, de Staël laces her novelogue with metonyms. She foreshadows this tendency in her title, and her characters frequently provide explicit of modern nations. Oswald stands for England,100 Corinne for Italy, the

Count d’Erfeuil for France, though these metonyms are never as simple as they appear.

100 Though Oswald hails from Scotland, characters in the novel refer to him as English, just as Oswald refers to himself as an Englishman (37). This is a particularly intriguing move in a Scottish lord of the late eighteenth century, for the Jacobite rising of 1745 emphasized the imperial presence of English rule in Scotland. Oswald’s adoption of an English identity despite his Scottish origins marks a stark contrast with the Italian refusal to conform to imperial pressure. 122

Appealing to categories that commonly divide peoples, they unsettle those categories and implicitly gesture toward the necessity of alternatives. For example, the novel highlights a clear bifurcation between genders and their experiences: Lucile’s personification of

England provides a necessary complement to that of Oswald. Though he moves freely through society, Lucile's interactions are carefully monitored and controlled by her family. Even after her marriage, she defers to her mother's wishes in matters as personal as how to speak with Oswald, her husband. Corinne also reflects this oppressive reality in her demeanor and garb when she returns to England, donning a veil on the rare occasions that she leaves her lodgings. Furthermore, her dual heritage as an English-Italian lady complicates such an easy symbolism. The novel's title suggests that she stands for Italy, and her comments on Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet explain that something does not have to originate in Italy to truly reflect the Italian.101 However, Shakespeare, an

Englishman, astutely recognizes native tendencies by comparing Italian culture with his own, just as Corinne affirms the value of Oswald's comparisons between English and

Italian culture as the means to a better appreciation of both. This implies, however, that

101 Corinne’s insistence on a definitive national identity is also complicated by her position as an exiled figure. De Staël situates the heroine between borders in numerous senses: between the past and future as a figure refusing to conform to the ancient regime but helpless to enact a new alternative; between national identities as the daughter of an English Lord and Italian Lady; between the masculine and feminine social realms through her celebrity. However, these liminal spaces were critical to de Staël’s interventions in contemporary politics and rely on clearly delineated boundaries like a national French, English, or Italian identity. In “The Space of British Exile in Burney’s Wanderer and de Staël’s Corinne,” for example, Pamela Cheek suggests that de Staël sacrifices Corinne’s Englishness or her hybridity as an intervention in the gender binaries common to gothic and sentimental novels and a means to build a post-revolutionary . Cheek identifies the work of Corinne, in other words, in creating a space for these important alternatives to hegemonic cultural forces to thrive and thereby intervene to ward off some of the dangers of Enlightenment cosmopolitanism. See Gender and Space in British Literature 1660-182 85-100. 123

Corinne's own genius is not exclusively the property of her Italian heritage, but a privilege of hybridity, the result of her intimate knowledge of England and Italy. She speaks English and Italian as a native, lacking the accent of an outsider while enjoying the perspective of one in her analysis of each country.

These unsettled metonyms are not limited to geography or politics, for they are also temporal. Count d’Erfeuil, the stereotypical tourist who prefers cosmopolitan delights and never leaves his lodgings without a guidebook in hand, attracts Oswald’s friendship because he survived the loss of his fortune with grace and aplomb (33-4).

However, that survival depended on the count's frivolity, a less desirable trait that indicates temporal disorientation. He lives so entirely in the present that he doesn’t even remember his past misfortunes (37-9). In contrast, Oswald lives too entirely in the past.

He cannot forgive himself for failing to live up to his father's wishes. His father's premature death rendered reconciliation impossible, and this history affects every decision that Oswald makes, causing depression, gloom, and dangerous stagnation. These qualities mirror de Staël’s portrait of the Middle Ages, implicitly pointing to medievalism, a displaced past that has adapted to the present, as a remedy for Oswald’s predicament.

When Oswald’s dismay at the loss of his father pushes him literally and metaphorically to the edge, disorientation in space and time mark that abyss. At the beginning of the novel, Oswald becomes lifeless and unresponsive even when among the most familiar scenes of his life:

[I]l ne se doutait pas des liens qui l’attachaient aux lieux qui lui faisaient le plus de mal, à l’habitation de son père. Il y avait dans cette habitation des chambres, des places dont il ne pouvait approcher sans frémir ; et cependant, quand il se résolut à s’en éloigner, il se sentit plus seul encore. Quelque chose d’aride 124

s’empara de son cœur ; il n’était plus le maître de verser des larmes quand il souffrait ; il ne pouvait plus faire renaître ces petites circonstances locales qui l’attendrissaient profondément ; ses souvenirs n’avaient plus rien de vivant, ils n’étaient plus en relation avec les objets qui l’environnaient ; il ne pensait pas moins à celui qu’il regrettait ; mais il parvenait plus difficilement à se retracer sa présence. (28-9)

[He did not appreciate the bonds which tied him to the places that gave him most pain, to his father’s dwelling. In that dwelling there were rooms and places he could not approach without a shudder, and yet when he decided to go away from them he felt himself to be even more isolated. A kind of atrophy took possession of his heart; he no longer had the power to shed tears when he was suffering; he could no longer revive the little local incidents which moved him deeply; there was no longer anything alive about his memories; he no longer had any link with the objects around him; he did not think less about the man whose loss he was mourning, but he found it more difficult to recall his presence. (6)]

Though his initial grief was justified according to duty and moral truth, Oswald’s ongoing sorrow presents a dangerous removal from life in the present. He cannot approach the things of his past that remind him of his loss, and his faculties decline.

Imagining the presence of the dead should prove easier in the locations where they lived, surrounded by the material echoes of the past, but Oswald is completely cut off from this ability. Furthermore, his emotions are displaced from his body. Worst of all, he is cut off from his reason, the faculty that produces accurate judgments:

Tels étaient les sentiments qui tourmentaient Oswald ; et ce qui caractérisait le malheur de sa situation, c’était la vivacité de la jeunesse unie aux pensées d’un autre âge. Il s’identifiait avec les idées qui avaient dû occuper son père dans les derniers temps de sa vie, et il portait l’ardeur de vingt-cinq ans dans les réflexions mélancoliques de la vieillesse. Il était lassé de tout, et regrettait cependant le bonheur, comme si les illusions lui étaient restées. (30)

[Such were the feelings which tortured Oswald, but the outstanding characteristic of his unfortunate situation was the vivacity of youth joined to the thoughts of another age. He identified himself with the ideas that must have occupied his father’s mind in the last period of his life, and he transported the ardor of his twenty-five years into the melancholy reflections of old age. He was weary of everything and yet he regretted happiness as if he still had illusions. (7)]


Lost in grief for his father, Oswald loses any appropriate sense of time or space, buries himself in the thoughts he imagines his father entertained, and entirely opposes the will of nature. Oswald’s enslavement to a traditional virtue, honoring one's father, leaves him at the edge of death. He grows unnaturally altered and ironically incapable of fulfilling the demands of duty that he cherishes.

Further emphasizing the danger of Oswald's domination by the past, Corinne illustrates the erroneous nature of the memory that Oswald imitates. As a modern reincarnation of the Sibyl, Corinne performs an important role.102 She holds divine knowledge through her role as prophetess, potentially altering the course of individuals and the body politic, and she soothes Oswald’s torment, drawing him out of the tomb and back into the modern world. Under her influence, he lives again, enjoying the arts and society, and learning to appreciate the warmth of southern imagination.103 Even further, she interprets the documents his father left behind and reveals the folly of Oswald’s guilty self-flagellation:

Écoutez plutôt, continua Corinne, en parcourant le recueil qu’elle avait encore entre les mains, écoutez ces réflexions sur l’indulgence, qui sont écrites quelques pages plus loin : “Nous marchons dans la vie, environnés de pièges et d’un pas chancelant ; nos sens se laissent séduire par des amorces trompeuses ; notre imagination nous égare par de fausses lueurs ; et notre raison elle-même reçoit chaque jour de l’expérience le degré de lumière qui lui manquait et la confiance dont elle a besoin. Tant de dangers, unis à une si grande faiblesse ; tant d’intérêts divers, avec une prévoyance limitée, une capacité si restreinte ; enfin tant de choses inconnues et une si courte vie : toutes ces circonstances, toutes ces conditions de notre nature, ne sont-elles pas pour nous un avertissement du haut rang que nous devons accorder à l’indulgence dans l’ordre des vertus sociales !” (335)

102 When Corinne performs at the capitol in Rome, she dresses like the Sibyl (52), and Oswald reflects on her resemblance to a portrait of the historical Sibyl (561). 103 Corinne admits to knowing of an English imagination characterized by “le silence et le froid” (105; “silence and cold” 61), reflecting the propensity manifest in Oswald to identify with the tomb and the grave. 126

[Corinne looked over the collection of thoughts she had in her hand and continued, “Listen rather to these reflections on indulgence, which are written a few pages further on. ‘We go stumbling through life, surrounded by snares; our senses let us be seduced by deceptive lures; our imagination leads us astray with false gleams of light, and our reason itself receives every day from experience the degree of illumination it lacked and the confidence it needed. So many dangers allied to such great weakness, so many diverse interests with limited foresight, such slight ability, in sum so many unknowns and so short a life, all these circumstances, all these aspects of our nature, are they not an indication of the high place we ought to accord to indulgence in the order of social virtues.’” (223-4)]

The implications of Corinne’s lesson resonate doubly in Oswald’s story. Rather than heed his father’s word, Oswald neither allows for indulgence in his youthful transgression, nor admits his father’s own limited imagination and reason when assessing Corinne as a suitable partner. He perverts the role of imagination and transforms himself into an incarnation of his father, but the letter proves that that incarnation is not an accurate depiction of that past. It, like sensationalist medievalisms, proves inauthentic in light of the material inheritance.

To emphasize the accuracy of Corinne's perspective, de Staël offers repeated proof that Corinne might correct Oswald’s weaknesses and bring Italian virtues to

England. The war with France required English gentlemen to participate in military service, a role he could not and did not fulfill prior to his Italian tour. However, on his return to England, Oswald performs that service admirably. He commits “actions d’une bravoure éclatante” (540; “outstandingly brave deeds” 371), and that active life

“l’étourdissait au moins sur le passé comme sur l’avenir” (540; “made him stop worrying about the past or the future” 371). However, this activity too depends upon Corinne, for he contemplates her and not his wife in the lull between battles. Still, Oswald fails to recognize the progressive nature of his relationship with Corinne, and Corinne, freed 127 socially but lacking in the morality that requires her to sustain her own life even when unhappy, fails to rally beyond her grief at the loss of her lover. For that reason, Karen

Pagani recently argued that Oswald not only reflects de Staël’s sophisticated understanding of Kant’s philosophy, but also highlights the potential problem the burden of the past poses for any individual attempting to live up to the Kantian standard.

Given de Staël’s notorious misrepresentation of Kant’s work in De l’Allemagne, examinations of Kantian concepts in her work have been understandably dubious, but

Pagani’s recent article on Oswald presents some compelling arguments that highlight

Oswald’s association with Kantian theory.104 Specifically, Pagani argues that Oswald’s discourse with Corinne exhibits a clear understanding of Kantian morality not only because Oswald’s consistently denies immediate emotions as a suitable means of orienting oneself as an individual and as a society, but also because his criticisms of

Italian morality trouble Corinne’s attention to sensibility. At the Coliseum, Corinne attempts to persuade him that even the degradation of the Roman people deserves attention, leading Oswald to insist:

[U]n sacrifice, quel qu’il soit, est plus beau, plus difficile que tous les élans de l’âme et de la pensée. L’imagination exaltée peut produire les miracles du génie ; mais ce n’est qu’en se dévouant à son opinion ou à ses sentiments qu’on est vraiment vertueux : c’est alors seulement qu’une puissance céleste subjugue en nous l’homme mortel. (116)

[[S]acrifice is more splendid, more difficult, than any impulse of feeling or thought. Exalted imagination can produce miracles of genius, but it is only in

104 For an extended analysis on de Staël’s relationship to Kant in De l’Allemagne, see Isbell 130-45. Isbell argues that de Staël synthesized her philosophy from German thinkers before her German tour in 1803, emphasizing that distortion necessarily accompanies synthesis, and his argument, though limited to one of de Staël’s texts, provides yet another helpful foundation for thinking through the Idealist influences in Corinne. 128

devoting oneself to one’s opinion or feelings that one is truly virtuous. It is only then that a heavenly power overcomes the mortal man in us. (68)]

Such speeches arise from Oswald’s temperament, which the narrator informs us looks for

“partout un sentiment moral” (116; “moral feeling everywhere” 68), and as she grows to know Oswald, Corinne’s explanations appeal to these Kantian sensibilities, emphasizing how Italy’s sites relate to man as a moral being. One of her letters even poses a question at the close, cautioning Oswald to think carefully about the implications of a man so attuned to morality that he forsakes his chances at happiness (165), a possible consequence of moral life that Kant admits in his Critique of Judgement (1790).

Well aware of the pervading doubt as to de Staël’s knowledge of Kant, Pagani cites key distinctions between the genres at work in Corinne and those in De l’Allemagne. De l’Allemagne, she insists, unabashedly rewrites Kant in order to locate sentiment and enthusiasm in his ethics, but Corinne’s polyphony allows for competing moral systems where sentiment and reason, however preferred by the novel’s heroine, do not constitute the only means to a moral life. On close examination, she finds Oswald’s professed moral compass to be decisively Kantian and suggests that perhaps de Staël’s misrepresentation in De l’Allemagne reflects her political and philosophical intent rather than an unintentional misreading.105 De Staël’s articulation of Oswald’s end, a refusal to comment on his emotional state while asserting his embodiment of domestic virtues, takes a decidedly Kantian stance by privileging his moral accomplishments rather than

105 Pagani’s hypothesis aligns with John Clariborne Isbell’s thorough reading of De l’Allemagne in The Birth of European Romanticism, where he argues that de Staël features Kant as a character, borrowing from his reputation in order to legitimize the greatest contributions of German philosophy. He concludes that her “pseudo-Kant” reflects an amalgamation of minor German philosophers whose theories echoed her own. See “Philosophy and Ethics in Napoleonic Europe” 136-45. 129 sentimental ones. The final sentence of the novel describes Oswald’s dutiful devotion to his family, but explicitly refuses to comment on his personal feelings and wellbeing.106

This frustrating conclusion links idealist temporal theory with Corinne, especially with

Oswald, implicitly gesturing to his difficulties as part of a larger tendency in modern society.

Throughout the novel’s exploratory tour of Italy, de Staël highlights how the

Italian tour underscores human attempts to negotiate and manage time. Leading Oswald through the historical sites Italy offers, Corinne insists that ancient Romans “se jouaient ainsi du temps sous toutes les formes” (121; “trifle with time in all its forms” 71) and that modern Italians continue those temporal experiments. In a similar vein, Corinne’s speech at the capital includes a description of the great names in Italian literature that emphasizes their temporal achievements. Petrarch, like Dante before him, claims notoriety as the poet of “l’indépendance italienne” (62; Italian independence” 30), and Corinne’s description of his work takes a decidedly dantesque turn: “Il ranima l’antiquité par ses veilles, et, loin que son imagination mît obstacle aux études les plus profondes, cette puissance créatrice, en lui soumettant l’avenir, lui révéla les secrets des siècles passées” (63; “In his night vigils he made ancient times live again and, far from being an obstacle to profound study, the creative power of his imagination, by laying the future before him, revealed to him

106 Pagani argues that de Staël’s provocative statement at the end of the novel testifies to Oswald’s failure by his own Kantian moral standard. The crucial distinction between maxim and law would offer Oswald a means to honor both his promise to Corinne and his inclination to promote his and his society’s well-being through that marriage. However, Oswald fails to recognize this crucial distinction, giving into the oppressive burden of the past in marrying Lucile. Yet de Staël refrains from painting a hopeless picture, for Oswald’s daughter, named for Corinne’s penultimate dramatic role as Shakespeare’s Juliet, receives her education from Corinne and promises to bring the light of her genius to English society after all. Nevertheless, the past remains a potentially dangerous influence on the present, both for Kant and for de Staël. 130 the secrets of past ages” 30). Knowing the events following those of the past, Petrarch could uncover the secrets of past ages, much like Dante’s characters in the Commedia and Virgil’s in the Aeneid, could accurately prophesy the future. Such trifling with time encourages hope because it reminds individuals that though immediate events deter progressive change, history ultimately progresses toward realizing natural law. Similarly, de Staël sets her travelogue novel slightly in the past, knowing Italy would fall to

Napoleonic expansion, and uses her knowledge of coming events to foster hope.107

Although Oswald’s melancholic grief is an individual experience, the novel situates his plight as that of modern man. The pending war with France predicts another period of mourning in Italy for the demise of a preferred reality, but de Staël extends the relevance of Oswald’s story beyond those national boundaries. In one of the numerous digressions on art, the narrator observes that “La douleur dans nos temps modernes, au milieu de notre état social si froid et si oppressif, est ce qu’il y a de plus noble dans l’homme ; et, de nos jours, qui n’aurait pas souffert, n’aurait jamais senti ni pensé” (216;

“In our modern times, in our cold, oppressive society, grief is our noblest emotion, and in our day, he who has not suffered will have neither felt nor thought” 140). The sentiment correlates to de Staël’s writings on melancholy in other compositions where she describes it as the precondition for civic virtue and social progress, the mark of an independent modern nation as well as the liberated individual.108 Her works frequently attribute melancholy to English culture as a favored model of devotion to truth and duty, and

107 For more information on de Staël’s implicit treatment of Napoleonic expansion, see Pacini “Hidden Politics in Germaine de Staël’s Corinne, ou l’Italie.” 108 In Considérations sur les principaux événements de la Révolution française, de Staël insists that melancholy was suited to a free people and that free countries are and ought to be serious, but Corinne shows that it can prove harmful. 131

Corinne sharply contrasts the serious mind of the English traveler exemplified in Oswald with the stereotypically French cultural frivolity exemplified in Count d'Erfeuil. While

Oswald helps the people he observes to be in danger, the Count only attempts to help those he perceives to be flouting social convention. However, despite the English claim to glorious liberty from past oppressors, in Corinne it is the Italians who enjoy an

“indépendance sociale” (152; “social independence” 94) that the English cannot fathom, yet desperately need because such independence mitigates the dangers of melancholy.

As Corinne explains to Oswald, a conventional English life, though moral, virtuous, and dignified, also tends toward melancholy, stagnation, and decay. She pronounces that her life in England “n’est qu’un sommeil agité” (383; “is no more than a restless sleep” 259), and emphasizes that while the English enjoy civil liberty, individual liberties available in Italy are denied in England (152). Oswald enacts the contradiction at his return when he follows his desire to kiss Lucile’s hand, embarrassing her and himself, and as he lives in England, he becomes more and more reserved, enjoying personal freedom no more. In the end, the pursuit of his father’s blessing ends without the “souffle pur et bienfaisant, qui ressemblerait à la bénédiction d’un père” (258; “beneficial breath that would be like a father’s blessing” 169) and without Oswald learning to manage his disappointment at being denied that blessing.

Through Oswald’s marriage, de Staël reiterates the danger of deferring too much to the past and provides another example of the stagnation caused by the English deference for tradition. Lucile was raised by Lady Edgermond, a stern woman who carefully controlled her daughter until her death, and Lady Edgermond was not only

“toujours habituée à la contrainte” (461; “always used to self-control” 314), but fainted 132 from distress at revealing any cracks in that façade. Her disposition, like Oswald’s, reflects a “morale exagérée” (543; “excessive morality” 373) that opposed “devoir à chaque emploie des heures qui pouvait différer un peu de ce qu’on avait fait la veille”

(543; “duty to every use of time which might be slightly different from what had been done the day before” 373). After Lucile’s marriage, she encourages her daughter to continue to remain emotionally aloof from her husband, and this increases the emotional distance between the couple.

Carefully watched and managed by her mother, Lucile ignores her own inclinations and bows to her mother’s dictation when dealing with Oswald. At Lady

Edgermond’s insistence, she opposes Oswald’s Italian sympathies. Only at her death can

Oswald return to the south, bringing his wife and daughter with him, but the novel treats even this stern oppressor gently. De Staël takes care to insist that Lady Edgermond’s folly, though related to Oswald’s capitulation to the past, represents the folly of an older generation who opposes new ideas because “elles aiment à se persuader que le monde n’a fait que perdre, au lieu d’acquérir depuis qu’elles on cessé d’être jeunes” (544; “they like to convince themselves that the world has lost rather than gained once they are no longer young” 374). This echoes Oswald’s generous disposition toward his father, who, though the source of his son’s unhappiness, displayed an all-too-human failure of vision, and, like Oswald, Lucile must learn from the Italian model of liberty. When she allows the past to dominate her present, she endangers her marriage and her happiness, setting herself and her family on a road to life long grief.

Grief marks modern man because it habituates his mind to serious contemplation, but grief also marks modern man’s propensity toward stagnation. A mind wholly 133 concentrated on the seriousness of duty and virtue will fail to tame the imagination to its benefit, and in her 1795 Essay on , de Staël hinted at her concern over this problem:

Le don d’émouvoir est la grande puissance des fictions ; on peut rendre sensibles presque toutes les vérités morales, en les mettant en action…Il y a des austères qui condamnent toutes les émotions et veulent que l’empire de la morale s’exerce par le seul énoncé de ses devoirs : mais rien n’est moins adapté à la nature de l’homme en général qu’une telle opinion ; il faut animer la vertu pour qu’elle combatte avec avantage contre les passions …Mais plus le don d’émouvoir a de puissance réelle, plus il importe d’en étendre l’influence aux passions de tous les âges, aux devoirs de toutes les situations. (150)

[The greatest power of fiction is its power to touch us; almost all moral truths can be made tangible if they are shown in action…Some severe philosophers condemn all emotions, wanting moral authority to rule by a simple statement of moral duty. Nothing is less suited to . Virtue must be brought to life if she is to fight the passions with any chance of winning…But the more real power there is in fiction’s talent for touching us, the more important it becomes to widen its influence to the passions of all ages, and the duties of all situations. (Folkenflik 74)]

De Staël insists that problematic passions and emotions will triumph over morality without the proper attention and care, pointing to fiction as the means to remedy this tendency.109

In Corinne, de Staël enacts the dramatic propositions of the argument: Corinne, the model of sensibility as articulated by Rousseau and Diderot, has the power to draw

Oswald out of his stagnant disorientation, away from his self-internment. 110 However,

109 Jean Starobinski and Gérard Gengembre provide a more detailed analysis of de Staël's theory of melancholy and suicide. D. Zanone considers the concept in Delphine, and Simone Balayé's “Politique et société dans l'oeuvre staëlienne” suggests that melancholy can also be a quality ascribed to cities in Corinne. Florence Lotterie also considers de Staël's theory of melancholy as an adaptation of Rousseau. 110 Tili Boon Cuillé and Karyna Szmurlo provide a concise summary of de Staël’s adaptation of the sentimental heroine who displays a dangerous mastery of sensibility in their introduction to Staël’s Philosophy of the Passions: Sensibility, Society, and the Sister Arts. In addition, Lori J. Marso considers this marriage of sentiment and reason in 134 with her self-martyrdom in the name of love, de Staël reveals that gift to be as dangerous as the blind attention to duty. The marriage of sentiment and reason must occur to usher in a liberated, moral, and progressive modernity, but the failure to enact such a marriage, namely Oswald’s acquiescence to the oppressive will of his father in rejecting Corinne, is not a hopeless ending. Corinne ensures that her talent will live on in her niece, and de

Staël provides another point of access to complementary virtues in historical monuments.

Corinne herself observes that monuments convey moral and sentimental truths. Personal experience with the physical past reconciles the individual and the nation to the inevitability of grief, guarding them against the potential stagnation that follows disappointment.

According to Eric Gidal, two forms of melancholy appear in de Staël’s writing.

One appears through narratives of personal and collective trauma, the second through categories of national character, influenced by climate, but shaped by institutional mechanisms and habits. Together, he argues that these melancholic modes “allow her to construct melancholy neither as language of personal abjection nor as a premise for collective exclusion but rather as a motive for political resistance and philosophical reform” (“Mme de Staël and National Character” 285). Nevertheless, melancholy brings risk as much as potency, for, like Oswald, the individual and the nation may never move into the liberated stage of grief.

light of the terror, and discerns in Corinne a subtle argument that such political traumas are not the result of emotion in the public sphere but the lack of it. She emphasizes that de Staël’s men make political judgments without disregarding their domestic loyalties (457) and believes de Staël promotes a kind of cosmopolitan notion of political progress: namely, to form a more positive model, you must include those who were previously excluded in the current model, such as female points of view. See “Stories of Citizens: Rousseau, Montesquieu, and de Staël Challenge Enlightenment Reason.” 135

Modeling a positive response to grief and hegemonic oppression that applies to modern events, Corinne's medievalist sites communicate how to navigate a crucial transition, detailing the disappointing pursuit of liberty from the fall of the ancient world to the rise of the modern. Due to the violence Italy's moyen âge, de Staël ties each invocation of the period to the idea of gloom and melancholy, the mark of a powerful modern nation. Contrasting St.Peter’s with the northern gothic style, Corinne observes that those northern churches “ont un caractère beaucoup plus sombre” (103; “are much gloomier” 59) than the Roman churches, but even the Italian medieval legacy reinforces this connection. The Milan cathedral is the pinnacle of the Italian gothic and it represents grief. In Florence the narrator describes the spirit of the “Middle Ages” as “une âme

énergique et sombre, une activité constante, des formes très – prononcées, des traits qui portent l’empreinte des passions, mais ne retracent point l’idéal de la beauté” (515; “an energetic, gloomy soul, ceaseless activity, very pronounced features which bear the stamp of the passions but do not remind you of the ideal of beauty” 353). This description explicitly ties the medieval inheritance to Oswald and to his metonymic function as an emblem of the modern tendency to melancholy, a connection strengthened by his experiences at medieval sites.

During Holy Week, Oswald tours monastic gardens, and de Staël’s narrator takes this opportunity to situate monasticism, an explicit holdover from the Italian Middle

Ages, as a microcosm of the superior Roman response to human frailty. At the Carthusian monastery, one of the monks proudly directs Oswald to the remains of Diocletian’s baths, 136 the order’s “only concern with the outside world” (167).111 They limit contact with politics to an emblem of the ancient regime, highlighting how monastic life “ne serve là qu’à contempler la mort” (256; “serves only to contemplate death” 167). This focus, the narrator explains, shifts the perspective of the monks away from contingent truths and toward the world’s unchanging timeless qualities. Should the monks grow bored with such timeless existence, they would still have no need of the outside world because a microcosmic version of it exists in their individual souls. Looking inward, the monks examine how “Il se passe dans l’intérieur de l’âme mille accidents, il se forme mille habitudes qui font de chaque individu un monde et son histoire” (256; “a thousand chance events take place, a thousand habits are formed, making each individual a world with its history” 168). This monastic life evokes serenity, but de Staël positions the monastic as a coping mechanism for inevitable human disappointments, echoing Wordsworth’s medievalist portrait of the Grande Chartreuse. The monastery and its fascination with death shelters individuals from their own inner turbulence at the disturbing inevitability of change, attempting to reconcile them with that change as a difficult part of the natural order.

Moving on to the Bonaventura Monastery, Oswald literally stumbles upon death once more. This time, however, the challenge of grief receives a more explicit treatment:

Lord Nelvil, en entrant dans ce couvent, heurta contre une trappe, et il en demanda l’usage : C’est par là qu’on nous enterre, dit l’un des plus jeunes religieux, que la maladie du mauvais air avait déjà frappé. Les habitants du midi craignant beaucoup la mort, l’on s’étonne d’y trouver des institutions qui la rappellent à ce point ; mais il est dans la nature d’aimer à se livrer à l’idée même de ce que l’on redoute. Il y a comme un enivrement de tristesse qui fait à l’âme le bien de la remplir tout entière. (256-7)

111 The French phrasing does not translate well into English. It reads as follows: “ils ne tiennent plus au monde que par l'intérêt qu'ils prennent aux ruines” (225). 137

[As Lord Nevil entered the convent he stumbled against a trap door and asked what it was for. We are buried through that, said one of the youngest monks, already stricken with the illness caused by foul air. As southern peoples greatly fear death, it is surprising to find institutions among them which bring it to mind to this extent; it is natural, however, to like entertaining the very idea that one dreads. There is a kind of intoxication of sadness which benefits the soul by filling it entirely. (168)]

According to the narrator, within the Italian people lies a paradox: though they often encounter reminders of death, they fear it deeply. The monks self-effacing lifestyle thus naturally includes day-to-day encounters with the thing they most fear, and Oswald’s guide comments, “Nous espérons seulement…qu’à l’instant de la mort nos péchés n’auront pas excédé nos pénitences” (256; “We only hope that at the moment of death our sins will not exceed our penances” 168). These reminders, the self-inflicted punishment of proximity to one’s own demise, underscore the problem that brought

Oswald to Italy.

Consumed with the grief over his father, Oswald is intoxicated with sadness, but in a dangerous manner. His imagination sought, not to reconcile himself with the tomb, but to enter it by transforming Oswald into a shallow memory of what had passed. While monks intentionally manufacture daily reminders of their mortality, Oswald was reminded of death unexpectedly, responding to that shock by entombing himself instead of reconciling himself to the unavoidable nature of the tomb. That reminder was inevitable, but far more powerful than those in the monasteries. De Staël explains that

“Quand ce souvenir se rencontre d’une manière inattendue, quand c’est la nature qui nous en parle et non pas l’homme, l’impression que nous en recevons est bien plus profonde”

(257; “When we are reminded of death unexpectedly, when it is nature that speaks of it and not man, we receive a much deeper impression” 168). This characterization of 138

Oswald’s grief echoes the description at the beginning of the novel, and locates an alternative model of grieving in medievalism through the explicit contrast with the monastic response to the inevitability of undesirable change.

Though unmoved by the Bonaventura monastery and its reminders of human mortality, the final monastery on Oswald’s tour produces very important ruminations in him and the novel’s narrator. San Giovanni e Paolo overlooks all of Rome’s most famous sites, the Colosseum, the Forum, arches, obelisks, and columns, and thereby offers a microcosm of the medieval perspective of Italy. As in the writing of Dante and Petrarch, the distance from Rome’s glory provides a more accurate vision, one no longer hampered by the subjective limitations of man in realizing moral law. Thus, in this garden, the monks know both humanity’s virtues and its faults and “se consolent de n’être rien, en considérent les monumens élevés par tous ceux qui ne sont plus” (257; “are consoled for being nothing when they gaze at the monuments erected by those who are no more” 168).

Oswald, watching the sunset, another “déclin comme les ouvrages des hommes” (258;

“decline like the works of man” 169), seeks consolation from his father’s spirit and freedom from the past. However, his father’s will prescribes a perpetuation of English tradition, addressing everything from Oswald’s profession to his bride and leaving no room for progress or the admission that such slavery to the past perpetuates folly as well as virtue.

As Corinne suggests, English life, though moral, virtuous, and dignified, also carries the scent of stagnation, death, and decay. Deciding to return to Italy, Corinne emphasizes that while the English enjoy civil liberty, individual liberties are denied in

England that remain available in Italy despite its history of oppression at the hands of 139 foreign invaders (94). Oswald forgets the contradiction when he returns to England and commits a social misstep. He follows his desire to kiss Lucile’s hand, embarrassing her and himself. The longer he lives in England, the more reserved he becomes, enjoying personal freedom no more. In the end, the pursuit of his father’s blessing ends without the

“soufflé pur et bienfaisant, qui ressemblerait à la bénédiction d’un père” (258; “beneficial breath that would be like a father’s blessing” 169). His capitulation to his father’s will results in yet another form of stagnation and entombment: in losing the social independence that he enjoyed in Italy, Oswald loses a part of himself. Still, the novel provides some glimmer of hope for Oswald through his return to Italy and a second encounter with Italian medievalism.

As Lucile tours historic Italian destinations and Oswald re-familiarizes himself with Italy, the couple begins to reconcile. Shortly after his return to England, Oswald exhibits the expressive Italian liberty when he takes Lucile’s hand to greet her. Her embarrassed response reminds him of the English opposition to such openness, though it won his place in her affections, and in his embarrassment at such a misstep, he slowly reverts more and more to the melancholic repressed man he was before. After their marriage, de Staël renders this English failing explicit, noting how “ils se blessaient réciproquement, parce-qu’ils ne s’avouaient pas leurs sentiments avec franchise” (545;

“each of them hurt the other, because they did not frankly confess their feelings” 375).

During their journey south, Lucile ventures more and more expressive statements, though her silence continuously interrupts conversations “qui peut-être aurait conduit à une explication heureuse” (553; “which might have led to a happy explanation” 380) between husband and wife. However, as they move through the tour, the art inspires more and 140 more expressions from Lucile that eventually instruct her husband as to the source of her silent removal. After witnessing a Correggio Madonna in , Oswald observes a resemblance to his wife and child, remarking on that resemblance to Lucile.112 By the time the two reach , Lucile works up the courage to ask whether his affinity for the Domenichino Sibyl, a portrait that resembles Corinne, overshadows that for the

Correggio Madonna. From that moment, Oswald understands that Lucile’s reserved manner stems from “quelques peines secrètes” (562; “some secret grief” 387) about his past relationship with Corinne. Still, the two require more exposure to Italian medievalism before they can have any chance at happiness, and while the narrator refuses to comment on their personal situation at the novel’s close, she provides some concrete progress in English society through Juliet, Oswald and Lucile’s daughter.

When Oswald identifies Lucile with Correggio’s Madonna, the novel positions

Juliet as a messianic figure. Those frescos inspire a moment of tenderness that situates the source of both marital tension and reconciliation between Oswald and Lucile in the inevitability of disappointment and the need to persevere regardless:

Lord Nelvil conduisit Lucile dans une église où l’on voit une peinture à fresque de lui, appelée la Madone della Scala. Elle est recouverte par un rideau. Lorsque l’on tira ce rideau, Lucile prit Juliette dans ses bras pour lui fair mieux voir le tableau, et dans cet instant l’attitude de la mère et de l’enfant se trouva par hasard presque la même que celle de la Vierge et de son fils. La figure de Lucile avait tant de ressemblance avec l’idéal de modestie et de grâce que Le Corrège a peint, qu’Oswald portait alternativement ses regards du tableau vers Lucile, et de Lucile vers le tableau ; elle le remarqua, baissa les yeux, et la ressemblance devint plus

112 Wordsworth's 1805 Prelude compares his disappointing experience visiting the ruins of the Bastille to a stimulating pilgrimage to see Charles le Brun's The Repentant Magdalene (IX. 67-80). The experience would be similar to that of Oswald's family, as the portrait was veiled and protected from damage by a curtain that was only lifted at specific times of the day in order to show the work in the best lighting. De Staël likely knew of Wordsworth's Lyrical Ballads, but it is uncertain whether this familiarity extended to The Prelude or this particular episode within it. 141

frappante encore ; car Le Corrège est peut-être le seul peintre qui sait donner aux yeux baissés une expression aussi pénétrante que s’ils étaient levés vers le ciel. Le voile qu’il jette sur les regards ne dérobe en rien le sentiment ni la pensée, mais leur donne un charme de plus, celui d’un mystère céleste. Cette Madone est prête à se détacher du mur, et l’on voit la couleur presque tremblante qu’un souffle pourrait faire tomber. Cela donne à ce tableau le charme mélancolique de tout ce qui est passager, et l’on y revient plusieurs fois, comme pour dire à sa beauté qui va disparaître un sensible et dernier adieu. (558- 9)

[Lord Nelvil took Lucile to a church were you can see a fresco the artist painted called the Madonna della Scala. It is covered with a curtain. When the curtain was drawn, Lucile lifted Juliet up in her arms so that she could see the picture better. At that moment, the attitude of the mother and child happened to be almost the same as the Virgin’s and her son’s. Lucile’s face was so like the ideal of modesty and grace painted by Correggio that Oswald turned his gaze alternately from the picture towards Lucile and from Lucile towards the picture. She noticed this, lowered her eyes, and the resemblance became even more striking, for Correggio is perhaps the only painter who can give lowered eyes as penetrating an expression as if they were lifted towards heaven. The veil he casts over the eyes detracts nothing from their expression of feeling or thought, but gives them an additional charm, that of a heavenly mystery. This Madonna is on the point of flaking away from the wall and you can see the almost trembling colour that could be knocked down by a puff of air. That gives the picture the melancholy charm of all transient things and you come back to it several times, as if to bid a final farewell to its beauty, which is about to disappear. (384)]

Although Oswald remarks on the resemblance between Lucile and the virgin, the scene subtly positions Juliet as a version of the Christ child and emphasizes the burden of the past as a cause of grief. Immediately following their trip to Milan cathedral, the

Correggio Madonna conveys the sense of a heavenly mystery in an especially Italian way, uniting the gravity of the idea communicated with beauty and grace. Though all things come to an end, humanity, its sense of history, and its heritage endures. Virtues are carefully guarded and cultivated, transformed and refined from generation to generation: the new generation corrects the old generation’s failure of vision to gradually realize human progress. Though Oswald recognizes the failures of his father, he fails to correct 142 them by marrying Corinne. He does, however, respond to that knowledge by exposing

Juliet to Corinne’s influence.

From her birth, Juliet bore a striking resemblance to her aunt. Named for

Corinne’s greatest dramatic role, Juliet begins her life as a reincarnation of her aunt, and

Oswald later encourages her to cultivate further similarities. Like Corinne, Juliet learns to speak Italian with a native accent, play music, and even improvise poetry. Jealous of her daughter’s teacher, Lucile decides to confront Corinne, but that meeting only results in

Lucile’s transformation into the mistress she sought to eradicate. At Corinne’s instruction, she learns “à ressembler à la personne qu’Oswald avait le plus aimée” (579;

“to resemble the person whom Oswald had most loved” 399), yet what is affectation in the mother is natural in the child. Lucile will only ever reflect a shadow of Corinne, performing the attributes of her sister, and Oswald’s affections reveal the difference.

Though reconciled to domestic life when his wife begins her affectation, he recognizes an authentic resemblance in their daughter who, like Corinne, can move him to tears with her Ossianic song. After Lucile’s performance, he “devina bien vite qu’elle avait vu

Corinne” (579; “guessed very quickly that she had seen Corinne” 399). However it is

Juliet who embodies his former mistress, replicating Corinne’s artistic genius and medievalist instruction, and their resemblance appears most striking when Juliet sings of

Ossian (574-6), a controversial nineteenth-century medievalism.113

113 The Ossianic poems are an infamous forgery that were presented to the public as authentic medieval verses. This provides another example of Staël citing sensational medievalisms and echoes her citation of Walpole. For a more thorough analysis of in Corinne, See Catherine Jones’ “Madame de Staël and Scotland: Corinne, Ossian, and the Science of Nations.” For a more thorough analysis of Ossianic influence, see Howard Gaskill’s The Reception of Ossian in Europe and Pierre Carboni’s “Ossian and Belles 143

Subtly crafting a medievalism through a union of the gothic novel, sentimental literature, and the travelogue, Corinne provides an intriguing predecessor to de Staël’s explicit medievalist commentaries. It not only showcases the medieval as a critical foundation for the glories of modern Italy, a European nation understood to be comparatively deficient and weak, but also draws on perceived negative qualities of the medieval inheritance to remedy modern problems. Despite Corinne’s preference for

Italy’s ancient heritage, she consistently acknowledges Italy’s medieval heritage as the origin of comparative success among European nations and implies that other nations need to learn from Italy’s example. Her description of Michelangelo’s portraiture refers to the moyen âge as the origin of the human spirit depicted in his modern art. Her coronation speech compares Dante to Homer because they both embodied a republican spirit, and attributes the power of Italy, not to national unification, but to prevailing ideological ambitions. Later, she acknowledges Italy’s lack of agency, unity, and independence since the fall of Rome, but she ascribes modern Italian genius to imagination, implying in turn that Dante’s ability to “souffle la flamme des actions” (61;

“fan the flames of action” 30) and to inspire noble political and social ambitions provides a critical intervention in modern stagnation.

Linking Oswald’s current dilemma to Italy’s future problems, de Staël’s Corinne relates a prescriptive role for medievalism. Like Wordsworth, she links the medievalist testimony to places as a better manifestation of the past than those confined to imagination, and like Wordsworth, she highlights the remedial quality of this medievalism for modern society and for individuals. Embracing the depiction of a

Lettres: Scottish Influences on J.B.A Suard and Late-Eighteenth Century French Taste and Criticism” 74-89. 144 tyrannical, oppressive Dark Ages, she situates the medieval historical testimony of grief as a vital intervention against present reenactments of past failures and underscores another displaced testimony as a model of liberty.

Given that Corinne insistently problematizes borders and boundaries, de Staël’s investment in the medieval is all the more significant if perhaps less surprising. The etymological ties in the medieval stress the in-between and the liminal rather than positive, delineated qualities, and de Staël repeatedly positions Corinne and its characters between or at least straddling definitive categories. Even as she enacts the drama of a woman at a crossroads in her life, Corinne remains caught between her English and

Italian heritage as well as the domestic and public spheres. Once alight with passion for

Oswald, her exhibitionist genius is in tension with her desire to devote herself to pleasing a single person: she consents to play Juliet only when Oswald has confirmed his attendance. Indeed, the text itself is neither a conventional travelogue, nor a sentimental or historical novel, but an experimental amalgamation that was received as an example of both genres in contemporary reviews. Medievalism provides a temporal liminality to de

Staël’s text, emphasizing the virtues of both ancient and modern Italian culture and acting as the critical transition between the two.

From Oswald’s disappointment in southern articulations of the gothic to the consistent psychological developments occurring at Italian monasteries, de Staël probes the medieval presence as a significant influence in Oswald’s Italian tour and in the novel’s figuration of modernity. Doing so positions her medievalism as an intervention in contemporary figurations of the medieval. “Medievalism” as opposed to “medieval” implicitly argues that the Middle Ages are constantly reworked and redefined in as many 145 instances as there are references to the period. De Staël’s novel, published at such a time and among an audience that would expect classicism in the Italian tour, highlights this distinction and argues in favor of the more open, liminal medieval identity as reflected in the sites that convey truths of the medieval past. De Staël’s medievalism features the individual contributions of modern nations, rather than reinforcing problematic hierarchical relations between them, but another Romantic preferred an escape from modern politics.

Within a decade of Corrine’s publication, the European political landscape underwent still more significant changes. Napoleon’s defeat and exile only reinforced the spirit of disillusionment and the spurs to disengage from socio-political life. This context hosted a new generation of Romantic writers like , Théophile

Gautier, and Victor Hugo. Many among them, most notably Lord Byron, pursued their own Romantic medievalisms, but one of Byron’s demonstrates a paradoxical desire to correct contemporary folly by learning to disengage from the systems that enslave individuals to the forces of historical change. This Romantic medievalism, like that of de

Staël and Wordsworth, was also anchored to the medieval material inheritance.


A Medievalist Monument “ponder’d fittingly”: Byron and the Chateau Chillon

The summer of 1816 proved especially fruitful for Lord George Gordon Byron.

Exiled from England, he embarked on an extensive and leisurely tour of the European continent accompanied by his physician and friend, John Polidori.114 In Switzerland, they met the Shelleys, and together they explored the sites around Geneva. Touring places mentioned in Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s Julie (1772), Byron fixated on one site in particular, Chillon Castle, and composed (1816), a poem that differs significantly from prior, contemporary, and future work. Many of Byron’s texts address how historical awareness affects the psyche of its characters, but The Prisoner adopts a historical personage as its main voice, marrying the gothic psychology of works inspired by Byron’s previous travels directly with the biography of a .115

The Prisoner, sparked by the traces of François Bonnivard’s imprisonment in

Chillon’s dungeon, explicitly refers to monuments, and it also adopts a new approach to monumentality. Ian Dennis insists that contemporaries noticed the poem’s distinct qualities from the first, though he characterizes those distinctions as “stylistic restraint

114 Byron’s journal and letters from the period suggest an increasing reluctance to accept Polidori as a companion, and the two men parted ways at the end of the summer. John Hobhouse joined Byron shortly thereafter. 115 Byron’s early interest in the gothic appears in both Lara (1814) and (1813), poems that also draw heavily on his travel experiences, but both of these poems convey those experiences through fictional accounts. Though Byron selected a historical figure as the narrative voice for The Prisoner, he admits that he took no pains to represent Bonnivard’s history faithfully. In addition, he labels The Prisoner “a fable” and implies that its truths are universal rather than historically particular. This has led Bernard Beatty to suggest that the poem “is spectacularly uninterested in the historical, political, religious, and social circumstances which the name Bonnivard suggests” (99) in “‘The Glory and the Nothing of a Name.’” Richard Lansdown hypothesizes that the history and fable combination seeks simultaneously “to concentrate and to generalize the experience of imprisonment as much as possible” (99). 147 and absence of overtly ‘Byronic’ posturing” (144).116 However, the poem bears more remarkable distinctions, for unlike previous poems, Byron merges Bonnivard’s mental state with the castle he inhabits. The poem thus illustrates how deeply Byron’s fixation on the mechanisms of history impacted his work and provides an intriguing historical diversion from Byron’s customary fictional premises. The first two cantos of Childe

Harold’s Pilgrimage (1812) established Byron’s interest in such mechanisms, and Byron composed the next canto, poetry that reflects shifts in his meditations on history and monuments, alongside The Prisoner of Chillon.

When comparing Byron’s early work to the texts produced in 1816, criticism agrees that Byron’s understanding of human agency shifted significantly. 117 John A.

Hodgson’s well-known article on the form of Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage suggests that the third canto “represents, and recognizes itself as, an all-important turning point in

Byron’s poetical career” (381-2). He characterizes that turning point as a shift in Byron’s theory of imagination, claiming that after 1816 the imagination first exiles, then replaces the things desired by the subject. Jerome McGann also probes changes in Byron’s style and content that followed the first summer in exile, identifying a new candor and

“masculine” quality to his poetry (Byron and Romanticism 86 and 158).118 He concludes

116 Dennis adapted these ideas in the chapter on “Heroic Victimhood” in his book, Lord Byron and the History of Desire. 117 Though critics agree that 1816 marked shift in Byron’s work, some argue that the differences in Byron’s work have been overemphasized. Mark Phillipson, for example, argues against the emphasis on 1816 as a turning point because it implies that Byron’s interests altered. He suggests that rather than emphasize 1816 as a turning point, criticism should consider that period as a moment when Byron’s perspectives on the questions that were evident in his early works adapted according to his experiences. See “Byron’s Revisited Haunts.” 118 McGann observes, “Byron’s exilic poetry made a virtue of candor and truth-telling” (72) and notes a “turn…from what [Byron] would later call ‘amorous writing’ …to a 148 that differences following the 1816 exile stem from Byron’s new awareness regarding

“the problem of the self-limits of imagination” (153). Defining that problem, McGann suggests that imagination cannot provide an individual with creative control due to the creative agency of the elements in one’s imaginings. For him and for Hodgson, Byron’s work reflects a search for individual agency and locates challenges to such agency in history.119 Though McGann and Hodgson mention The Prisoner as one of the works exhibiting the 1816 shift, neither explicitly considers how The Prisoner reflects Byron’s changing ideas.

Traditionally, critical approaches to The Prisoner of Chillon privilege autobiographical readings and link the psychology of exile to that of incarceration.120

However, recent analysis considers more historical perspectives. For Ian Dennis, the poem enacts Byron’s power as a poet to create emotional and mental states in his audience, metaphorically defeating the reader by securing their investment in an admittedly inaccurate history.121 Andrea K. Henderson provides a rare comparison

concentration on satire, travelogue, and heroic poetry” (56) in “‘My brain is Feminine’: Byron and the Poetry of Deception.” He also notes Byron’s surge of interest in Milton’s biography in “Milton and Byron.” 119 Clara Tuite also ties Byron’s post-exilic work to his search for agency. See “Childe Harold IV and the pageant of his bleeding heart” 139-67. 120 William Ulmer’s essay on “The Prisoner” calls for exploration of the links between the occasions for Byron’s work and their philosophical content in light of the tendency among critics to dismiss the historical premise of Byron’s poetry. Ulmer agrees that Byron provides universal truths in his poetry, but he insists that psychological truths are always historically grounded as a result of political conflicts. My work inherently posits that the 1816 texts especially require further analysis with such an attention to the premises, and I extend the inquiry on Byron’s interest in historiography to his interest in monumentality and tourism. 121 Though Byron did not know the particulars of Bonnivard’s life, he knew of Bonnivard’s reputation as a historical hero who survived years of torment for the sake of his faith before regaining his liberty. The monologue presents a depressing figure who 149 between The Prisoner and the third canto of Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage (1816) in an effort to understand how Byron’s exile impacted his understanding of human identity.122

She concludes that Byron “forcefully” dramatizes three forms of identity formation in

The Prisoner, genealogical, contextual, and individualist, and argues that each of these demonstrates Byron’s desire to discover the means to a free imagination, one where the material world can no longer determine identity. In a similar vein, Emily Bernhard

Jackson argues that Byron unmoors the prisoner from any historical specificity so as to illustrate true freedom and escape as a mental triumph. Also highlighting imagination, she concludes that Byron’s prisoner seeks to prove that the mind can determine the world all the while remaining unconvinced of that truth. Ultimately, Jackson concludes that The

Prisoner offers the reader generative possibilities to change their worldview and to escape determinative modes of knowledge and experience.

Concentrating on Byron’s depiction of incarceration in The Prisoner of Chillon and Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage, this chapter evaluates how Byron’s interest in Chillon impacted his writing.123Monuments are architectonic historical signifiers or testimonials capable of representing conflicting histories simultaneously. They therefore solicit an interpretive approach that allows for conflicting accounts of the same events, and Chillon was not a typical monument. Unlike sites that were broken down or set aside from daily life as a material record of the past, Chillon continued to play a role in present events,

remains poised on the edge of madness and death, but the aligns more with the heroic reputation. 122 In addition, Andrea K. Henderson gives a brief summary of critical approaches to the poem on page 75 of Romantic Identities: Varieties of Subjectivity, 1774-1830. 123 Though Byron originally published these works separately, they were published as companion pieces as early as 1817. See Childe Harold’s pilgrimage, canto the third; The prisoners [sic] of Chillon, and other poems. Boston: Munroe et Francis, 1817. 150 even as it functioned as a popular tourist destination. Its materiality, rather than exclude possible interpretations, especially embodied, and suggested them, incorporating diverse and conflicting historical approaches to the medieval past into its architecture. It not only served as a mechanism for recording history, but also exposed the management of the historical record by drawing attention to the machinery of historiography.

My analysis suggests that Byron develops The Prisoner’s generative possibilities through Chillon’s monumentality and that he repeats the practice in the third canto of

Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage. I argue that medievalist monumentality drew Byron to the castle and that the castle’s historical testimony led Byron to alter his understanding of human agency. Compositions from 1816, namely The Prisoner of Chillon and the third canto of Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage, depict characters whose liberty from contemporary historical pressures depends on their merging with historicized places. These poems illustrate that Byron recognized how place-based medievalism inoculated individuals from the pressure to affect historical change, the pressure literally to make the world in other words, and from the influence of sensationalist medievalisms. Spurning propagandist historiographies, The Prisoner draws on Chillon’s medieval heritage by adopting the perspective of a figure who represents the end of the Middle Ages, François

Bonnivard. By the close, Byron’s poem unites the man with the monument, and I illustrate how Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage echoes this technique at the moment Harold would reach the castle during his tour around . Ultimately, I conclude that

Byron recognized a model for liberating individuals from the perils of historicity in

Chillon’s medievalist monumentality and that this prompted the shift in his writing that appears in 1816. 151

Just as Wordsworth’s work betrays his anxiety about the effects of a materially absent past and de Staël’s writing reveals her apprehension about a past that dominates the present, Byron’s work considers the violent consequences of a Middle Ages confined to the collective imagination. Undermining the narrow perspectives in conventional historiography, the narrator in the first two cantos of Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage almost always intervenes when Harold visits a battlefield in order to critique propagandist applications of their historical testimony. Such places require a translator to communicate that testimony, for they hold few material traces of their past. Thus, they are subject to the designs of the interpreter, and Byron offers a plethora of such voices in the poem.

From the first stop in Portugal, a narrative voice works to circumvent subjective interpretations a hypothetical foreign reader might apply to the scene. Adopting a direct, second-person address in the first canto, the narrator anxiously corrects a potential false impression in a hypothetical tourist, denying that roadside crosses are “devotion’s offering” (263). Instead, it asserts that they, like a battlefield, testify to “murderous wrath:

/ For wheresoe’er the shrieking victim hath / Pour’d forth his blood beneath the assassin’s knife, / Some hand erects a cross of mouldering lath; / And grove and glen with thousand such are rife / Throughout this purple land, where law secures not life” (264-9). It is difficult to distinguish whether the narrator’s impression aligns with that of Harold because the poem intentionally locates the lesson in a disembodied narrator that continually addresses the audience as potential tourists on an imagined tour. This technique suggests not only that Harold’s impressions are a separate issue from the focus of the poem, but also that Byron draws on his experiences to instruct his audience how 152 travel and the experiences it brings offer no straightforward truths.124 His poem posits that any prospective traveler should seek to cultivate interpretive skills that look beyond the easily accessible meaning of the sites they will visit to find the implied significance instead of seeking a simplified history. As the narrator makes clear, the significance will not always align with the domestic interpretation of the history or provide a historical narrative that frames the modern world as a progressive development.

As Harold wanders from site to site, the patriotic and religious propaganda associated with more modern monuments frequently provoke one of the narrator’s interventions. It names the basilica in Mafra, for example, a product of “the Babylonian whore” (338), a Protestant characterization of the Catholic church, and ascribes it “such glorious sheen, / That men forget the blood which she hath spilt, / And bow the knee to

Pomp that loves to varnish guilt” (I.29. 340-1). Byron’s description suggests that he holds an inherent objection to Catholicism, but his journals and letters, as well as other scenes from Childe Harold bely such an interpretation. Though Byron certainly criticizes institutionalized oppression wherever he finds it, he does not object to Catholicism as such. He would go before the House of Lords in 1812 to defend the Catholicism of the

Irish as their right, claiming that those who would take their religion and force a conversion to institutionalized an oppression as offensive as those believed inherent to Catholicism. Even further, Byron’s journals record that his experiences in

Catholic cathedrals tempt him toward a religious life, hinting at a strong sympathy with

124 There is considerable analysis on Byron’s relationship with his audience that indicates he would intentionally seek to alter the mindset of his readers. See Ian Dennis’ Lord Byron chapters 2 and 4 and Jane Stabler’s opening chapter. 153 elements of Catholicism.125 In light of these contradictions, Byron’s invocation of the

“Babylonian whore,” rather than reflect a critical view of Catholic faith, levels a critique at the mechanisms of collective memory that seek to simplify or at the very least to gloss over the complexity of history. Catholicism, he insists, can be friend or foe, and its monument in Mafra records violent oppression rather than progressive benevolence.

Built in the eighteenth century, the church was the crowning jewel of the Mafra

National Palace. King John V hoped to rival the architectural splendor of the Vatican and sent envoys to Rome in search of models for the basilica. That rivalry was particularly significant during that time as Spain, France, and Portugal vied for territory and political power through currying Papal favor. The palace and the basilica were financed in part by the Portuguese empire’s Brazilian mines and would also, therefore, serve as a monument to the developing nation’s powerful empire. However, the intended significance of the monument, an offering of Catholic devotion and a celebration of Portugal’s power and piety, misses its mark according to Byron’s narrator. Comparing the church to the

“Babylonian whore” of Rome, the poem accepts the monument’s implicit claim to equal ancient Rome and the other Catholic powers of Europe, while rejecting the assumption that those connections work in its favor. Such an empire, like the Catholic Church, tended to exploit and oppress rather than edify the majority of those within its domain. The labor of those in the silver mines and not the faith of the Portuguese King, Byron implicitly reminds his readers, provides the true foundation of the monument because it funded the

125 The appendix to the second canto, for example, includes a digression on the pitiable state of Catholic citizens in contemporary Protestant nations. Byron speaks admiringly of their devotion to their beliefs and disdainfully of their treatment in the name of ideology. Mary Hurst argues that Byron was attracted to Catholicism because it was open to contradictions. Gavin Hopps echoes this view in “Gaiety and Grace: Byron and the Tone of Catholicism.” 154 construction. When coupled with the explicit consideration of the monument’s significance and such an open rejection of the propagandist historiography, Byron positions his travel poem as a significant interjection in contemporary conceptions of monuments and the histories that they record.

On the banks of the Guadiana, the poem digresses from Harold’s tour in order to meditate on the medieval conflicts in which Spanish and French forces attempted to stop

Moorish imperial expansion. As Harold’s tour moves south of the river to rest at Albuera, the narrator compares those medieval battles to more recent attempts by the English,

Portuguese, and Spanish to stop Napoleon’s advance through the continent (I. 378-

476).126 Byron’s treatment of the medieval conflict significantly differs from that of the modern battle. While the medieval heroes prompt verses celebrating the relationship between immortal fame and literature, i.e., how the song outlasts the monument (396-

404), the modern framework provokes Chivalry to awaken once more with a “voice more feeble than of yore” (412). Noting the propagandist use of the medieval past, Byron insists that it is a misuse of the past and an abuse of the soldiers’ respect for their heritage. Though he subtly critiques the lack of heroism in the war with Napoleon, he situates that critique as part of a larger concern about the dangers of medievalist propaganda.

When the narrator empathizes with the heroic deaths commemorated at Albuera,

Byron indicts contemporary representations of the medieval past. The British,

Portuguese, and Spanish allies defeated Napoleon’s army in May of 1811, and Childe

Harold points to that victory as a sign of ongoing feudal abuse and of the damage that

126 All quotations from Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage are taken from Jerome McGann’s edition of the poem. 155 historical propaganda can do. Raised on songs of chivalry and heroism, the fallen are

“Ambition’s honour’d fools!” (450) because they did not see that they are “The broken tools, that tyrants cast away / By myriads” (453-4). They have admirably answered the call to emulate medieval chivalry, but their reward, the poem argues, is bittersweet.

While their “name shall circle round the gaping throng” (456), it shines in “worthless lays” (467), worthless because they cannot “re-animate their clay” (470). Despite this sharp criticism, the narrator remains empathetic to the dead, identifying their intent as a

“noble aim” (472) because it sought to serve national interest through their sacrifice.

Chivalric lays and songs, the worthless reward of the heroic dead, prompted their deaths, creating cyclical violence through historic propaganda. Worse, that propaganda symbolically buries the present in the past rather than learning from its faults and protecting the nobly inclined youth. Though medievalist propaganda posed a danger to individuals in modern life, Byron located a remedy in Chillon and its on-the-spot medievalism.

Byron first went to Chillon with the Shelleys as part of their efforts to retrace scenes from Rousseau’s La Nouvelle Heloise. Chillon was the site of Julie’s death and, according to Rousseau, an interesting historical testimony in its own right:

Le chàteau de Chillon, ancien séjour des baillis de Vevai, est situé dans le lac, sur un rocher qui forme une presqu’ile, et autour duquel j’ai vu sonder à plus de cent cinquante brasses, qui font près de huit cents pieds, sans trouver le fond. On a creusé dans ce rocher des caves et des cuisines au-dessous du niveau de l’eau, qu’on y introduit quand on veut par des robinets. C’est là que fut détenu six ans prisonnier François Bonnivard, prieur de Saint Victor, homme d’un mérite rare, d’une droiture et d’une fermeté à toute épreuve, ami de la liberté quoique Savoyard, et tolérant quoique prêtre. Au reste, l’année où ces dernières lettres paroissent avoir été écrites, il y avoit très long-temps que le baillis de Vevai 156

n’habitoient plus le château de Chillon. On supposera, si l’on veut, que celui de ce temps-là y étoit allé passer quelques jours. (300)127

[The chateau of chillon, former residence of the Bailiffs of , is situated in the lake on a rock that forms a Peninsula, and around which I have witnessed soundings of over one hundred fifty fathoms which make nearly 800 feet, without hitting bottom. In this rock cellars and kitchens have been hollowed out below the level of the water, which can when needed be fed in by stopcocks. It is there that François Bonnivard, Prior of Saint-Victor, a man of rare merit, unflinchingly upright and strong, a friend of liberty although he was a Savoyard, and tolerant although he was a Priest, was kept prisoner for six years. Moreover, in the year when these last letters seem to have been written, the Bailiffs of Vevey had long since left the Chateau of Chillon. One may suppose, if one likes, that the bailiff of that period had gone to spend a few days there.]

Rousseau’s description of the castle emphasizes its liminality and isolation, describing it as part of the lake and part of the land, the origin of its significant tactical and technical advantages. Its height rises out of the depths of the dark water, an equally pleasing contrast that the castle’s interior also emphasized. Chillon sits close to the mouth of the

Rhine River and is part of a natural peninsula that brings the water in while also keeping it out, an interior reminder of its Janus-faced position. The design of the kitchens and cellars pipes water in from the lake, a very modern and innovative system at the time of

Chillon’s construction. The system kept perishable foods cold and improved the efficiency of the daily kitchen operations. It also augmented the castle’s advantageous military position, for inhabitants enjoyed constant access to fresh water, but could not be reached by land. Even today, visitors can only enter through the lowered gate that traverses the narrow space between the peninsular rock and Lake Geneva’s shoreline.

Due to such an advantageous situation, Chillon remained in use as a political stronghold, prison, and economic hub long after its gothic architecture had gone out of style.

127 This passage is one of Rousseau’s notes in the appendix. 157

Equipped with subterranean passages, contrasting architectural styles facing the lake and the shore, and a complicated series of walkways, Chillon has all the features that would encourage a fetishized, gothic reputation.128 The façade facing the shoreline presents a solid, almost impenetrable medieval fortress, but the lake side is open and ornate, complete with leaded-glass windows, balconies, and decorative turrets. In the infamous dungeons, only half of the main rooms contain a polished, smoothed wall, with the jagged rocks creeping into the space and giving the impression that the castle is a natural part of the island. According to a legend that has since proved false, the dungeons that lay below the waterline were equipped with a special portal that could be opened to bring in the lake and drown any prisoners if the castle were under attack.129 Byron’s guide asserted that the French escapee had swum through the portal to a boat waiting on the other side, but that portal has not been found today, nor is there any official record of an escaped prisoner. Nevertheless the space contained contrasting symbolic resonances.

For example, the dungeon perspective of the lake juxtaposed liberty and incarceration, paradise and purgatory, a feature particular to monuments.

Among the numerous definitions of monument circulating in recent years, James

E. Young’s analysis of monumentality proves most helpful for understanding Chillon’s nineteenth-century presence. He distinguishes between monuments and memorials according to their materiality: all memory sites qualify as memorials, but the “material

128 As a unification of disparate historical realities, monumentality bears a striking resemblance to the gothic as an aesthetic or genre. See Tom Dugget’s introduction to Gothic Romanticism: Architecture, Politics, and Literary Form and John Paul Riquelme’s “Modernist Gothic.” 129 Polidori’s journal records this legend as part of the tour, along with the account of a French prisoner’s escape. Though it is possible such a door once existed, modern archaeologists have found no trace of such a contrivance. 158 objects, sculptures, and installations used to memorialize a person or thing” (4) are monuments. Young points to epitaphs, tombs, and gravestones as the most prolific and oldest form of monumentality and investigates the difficulty with monumentality as defined by Pierre Nora.130 Nora’s seminal work in memory theory, Les Lieux de

Memoire, proposes that the mediatory function of the monument poses an ironic danger: if the monument embodies the memory, might it then replace it too? And with inauthentic anachronisms? If so, then Nietzsche very rightfully labeled the petrification of history that buries the living as “monumental.” However, Young proposes that monuments neither bury the events they commemorate, nor necessarily operate outside of time.

Rather than stand removed from time, monuments insistently point to human historicity, emphasizing their experience of time and prompting individuals to reconsider the

“shared” past as a formative influence on the present in order to better navigate the future.

As he elaborates the nature of monumentality, Young emphasizes the monument as architectonic whole. They are, he argues, a subset of memorials, a complex grouping of materials, times, activities, and records, and their material presence, the physical incarnation of the whole, constitutes the monument (The Texture of Memory 6-7).

Gesturing toward the oldest forms of monumentality, Young insists that monuments

130 From his earliest publications, Byron exhibits a special interest in the epitaph. Paul Fry’s significant work, “The Absent Dead: Wordsworth, Byron, and the Epitaph” traces Byron’s interest in that form as an extension of monumentality and the traveler’s experience of the monumentalized. Though he insists that Byron’s interest in epitaphs began before any of the poet’s extensive tours, he also identifies a particular preoccupation with epitaphs in Byron’s work from 1816. Such a preoccupation, he argues, stems from Byron’s investment in his poetic legacy, his claim to immortality, for the epitaph narrows the space between life and death, giving voice to the dead and thereby asserting humanity’s creative power to defy nature.

159 cannot be limited to any single attitude about the nature of the monumentalized history because the physical incarnation of the whole frequently contains authentic materials from the past that record contrasting perspectives of the historical record. They provide

“shared spaces that lend a common spatial frame to otherwise disparate experiences and understanding. Rather than presuming a common set of ideals, the public monument attempts to create an architectonic ideal by which even competing memories may be figured” (6). Young proceeds to argue that even as monuments create an illusion of a shared history in order to foster collaborative labor toward a desired future, they highlight the subjective nature of the individual experiences recorded there as well as the oversimplification of the shared past. Therefore, the monument remains firmly fixed as a presentist phenomenon: a frame for historical interpretation particularly attuned to the disparate set of ideals, potentially conflicting ideals, preferred in the present. Even further, as the monument balances the disparate records of a particular history, it prompts visitors to recognize the limitations of their individual perspective. Some monuments rely on interpretive interventions like guidebooks and pamphlets to communicate their present meaning, but others, like Chillon, remain an active base for present life and thereby emphasize interpretive management of the history that they convey, undercutting contemporary attempts to manage individual perspectives on history.

Chillon was a critical player in Byron’s travel experiences, for, unlike monuments that had been broken down and relocated to museums or set apart from the flow of history, Chillon’s monumentality was extremely organic, evolutionary, and adaptive. The castle drew spectators because of its excellent illustration of martial gothic architecture, as well as its location and relation to Lake Geneva. It also was and remains today a 160 famous reminder of the region’s political and religious conflicts. Through time the chateau altered as it changed owners, bearing the marks of technological improvements and ever-shifting fashions, but one aspect remained consistent with its medieval origins: the chapel. Though small and unremarkable to an untrained modern eye, the ceiling showcases surprisingly well-preserved fourteenth-century remnants of the Catholic past, a testimony at odds with the ruling powers and the beliefs of the general populace after the Savoy family lost control of the region to the Bernese in 1536.131 In the early sixteenth century, Protestantism gained more and more followers, and by the 1530’s, a religious war erupted between the Swiss patriate families. As was often the case in such ideological conflicts, iconoclastic destruction of the artifacts and religious sites affiliated with the opposition reigned supreme, yet the chapel in Chillon remained unscathed.

Rather than eradicate these paintings, the Bernese family plastered over them. Thus, the castle stood as a reminder of the ongoing conflict between Swiss patriates, while providing an alternative to the memeist practices favored by both sides.

Unlike many medieval structures, Chillon continued to function as an important base for political and military activity in the region throughout the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. It transformed according to the politics of those who possessed it and received constant technological updates, remaining a strategic military and political center into the nineteenth century. For example, when Swiss activists made attempts to introduce revolutionary principals in the Pays de Vaud following the French Revolution, the Swiss confederacy responded swiftly, sending a commission backed by German soldiers to seize, interrogate, and punish those responsible for inciting rebellion.

131 The castle predates the fourteenth century, and these paintings are another sign that Chillon has a long history of adapting to and the needs of its present owners. 161

Although many of the accused escaped without criminal proceedings, records that two of those seized, Rosset and La Motte, were imprisoned at Chillon while awaiting trial. Another English traveler named John Owen recorded these events in the journal of his 1791 and 1792 continental travels. Owen lambasts the commission as a

“species of inquisition” (286), situating the contemporary political conflict within the sixteenth-century religious wars between Swiss Catholics and Protestants. Owen recounts that “no ceremony was used in quartering a sufficient number of soldiers in the house of those who were suspected to have been concerned in the intended revolution. Some people of confederation were arrested; and, if report may be credited, their treatment was marked with the most rigid severity.” He redubs the castle “the bastille of the country” and asserts that the local patriate, the Bernois, augmented Chillon’s defenses in response to the “eclat which the French revolution has obtained in the different provinces”

(266).132 Chillon, he asserts, serves as a monument to the cyclical nature of historical violence that accompanies significant change or attempts to change the status quo. Both

Owen and Gibbon allude to these events as a popular topic of conversation among travelers as well as locals, suggesting that this history was well-known abroad.

Although Chillon certainly testifies to the violent religious conflicts between

Catholics and Protestants and the turbulence that followed the French Revolution, its reputation by 1816 was even more varied. In 1798, the chapel was reopened and the restoration to its medieval roots began. These restorative efforts opened the windows and scraped away some of the work on the ceiling to expose the gothic beams underneath the

132 Shelley’s record of the Chillon visit hints that they knew the castle by this reputation. He says that the dungeon “at the commencement of the , and indeed long after that period…was the receptacle of those who shook, or who denied the system of idolatry” (130-1). 162 plaster, the tell-tale signs of the feudal rulers’ Catholicism. Once restored, Chillon supplied an even more explicit alternative to the memeist practices threatening gothic structures in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries.133 As a well-known stop on the Continental Tour, the castle provided an explicit canvas depicting layers of historical interpretation and the mechanisms of monumentality. When the chapel changed, so did the castle’s function. No longer a strategic political prison, Chillon began to serve as a hospital for recovering soldiers, belying the oppression of its Bastille days and embodying another contradiction. What had been an emblem of oppression, injustice, torture, and death, became a site of healing and life, even justice. Though Chillon never offered the same degree of advantage to the regional ruler as it had during the Middle

Ages, the structure continued to provide a base for political activities in the area and to serve as a garrison for occupying forces. The soldiers who guided travelers like Byron and the Shelleys served as a constant reminder of the contradictory points of view contained in the history of a single place and in a single point within that history.

As a material record of the Middle Ages and of medievalisms, Chillon pointed visitors toward a better interpretive process, or what Stephen Cheeke calls Byron’s historiographic method. Cheeke investigates Byron’s investment in historical sites in

Byron and Place, and as he probes Byron’s consistent assertion that travel lends his work a certain kind of authority and authenticity, Cheeke identifies what benefit Byron derives from travel to historical sites:

133 The restoration work in the chapel was not complete until the mid-nineteenth century. However, the work was underway when Byron visited, and the gothic beams were clearly visible. Furthermore, the chapel was in use by patients in the hospital, though it also served as a storage area for occupying soldiers’ munitions. 163

Byron’s historiographical method…contains a hard-nosed pragmatism which understands that the history of the European continent (ancient and recent) is only properly understood in terms of its buried subjectivity, its unseen connections and chains of responsibility, its interpenetration of apparently separate and different interests, and that this very notion of interconnection is best understood upon the spot, where the reality of one’s own physical presence in a particular place of historical significance makes it more possible to imagine exchanging places. (105-6)

Cheeke defines Byron’s method as an imagined exchange between Byron and figures from the past, facilitated by the material inheritance, which highlights the subjective nature of historical experiences and historiographies. In other words, Cheeke suggests that Byron could access conflicting subjective points of view about a recorded historical event when physically at the site. Through the material record, Byron and other travelers could better imagine the perspective of those from the past, correcting propagandist historiographies and dangerous medievalisms. Significantly, this method is one of the developments that followed his fascination with Chillon.

Byron’s exilic travels in 1816 coincided with a tumultuous and transitional period on the Continent, especially in the area around Geneva. Though Byron had previously toured the area, changes to the European figurative and literal landscape provided reminders of transitory, ever-changing historiographies and the influences that shape them. Since the French Revolution, the Swiss Alps underwent numerous symbolic overhauls as the dominant political power changed and changed the landscape in turn.

Switzerland’s mountains had offered a ready metaphor for the political rhetoric aligning the Revolution with humanitarian ascent, and the metaphorical interpretations extended into the ensuing political turbulence that followed the failure to actualize those ambitions.

In addition, communities in the Swiss confederacy had emphasized their respective

German or Italian heritage before Napoleon’s invasion, but the French emperor enforced 164 a cultural imperialism that was still visible in the region’s landscape and infrastructure in

1816.134 Today, French remains an official language of the Swiss nation. Once bearing the Napoleonic road constructed from 1801 to 1806, the Swiss Alps embodied both the optimism and violence of Napoleon’s rise, manifesting a view toward European unification as well as the fractured cultural identity of the defeated Swiss Confederacy.

By 1816, Napoleon was in his second and final exile from Europe, the monarchy was restored to the French throne, and a volcanic winter resulting from the explosion at

Mount Tambora in April of 1815 settled in the region, engraining that year in collective memory as a particularly harsh and difficult time.135 Napoleon’s crowning achievement in the Alpine region, a road that many Romantic poets would use, had begun to fall into disrepair. Such constant reminders of how tenuous stability could be also illustrated how frequently the meaning of the historicized and monumentalized could fluctuate. A continental tour in 1816, as a result, differed from a tour in 1814 or in 1812.

134 Clarissa Campbell Orr’s “Romanticism in Switzerland” begins with the premise that Switzerland denotes different political entities during this time because once the confederacy fell to Napoleon, it became a federalized republic in name but was really a French dependent, while it had been German before. Then after the treaty of Vienna it became politically neutral. As a result, Swiss Romanticism wasn’t bound up in the same kind of “” culture you see elsewhere. Swiss nationalism isn’t exclusively Swiss, so there’s a cosmopolitanism at work in their Romanticism that isn’t so much apparent elsewhere. Cian Duffy’s Landscapes of the Sublime talks about the Swiss Alps as the temple of liberty and traces the connection between ascent of liberty to Swiss landscape: a claim that that revolutionary and brotherly spirit is manifest in the Alps. See also Nicholson (an older work, but one of continuing importance), and the first chapter of Ann C. Colley’s Victorians in the Mountains. 135 The weather patterns significantly hurt crop production and produced numerous storms that also contributed to a widespread food shortage on the European continent. Shelley notes the storms in History of a Six Weeks Tour as well as his correspondence, asserting that he was afraid for his life during one outing on Lake Geneva when a sudden swell threatened their safety. For more information about the weather and its impact, see William Klingman and Nicholas Klingman. 165

Further emphasizing the interpretive process, guide books and catalogues for noteworthy stops on the tour grew increasingly popular, even commonplace by 1816.

Such texts deferred to a particular historiography and designated the “must see” sites, while rendering attempts to identify, classify, and analyze history explicit. These works demonstrate how interpreting the significance of the material inheritance required political sensitivity. They take pains to accommodate the values of the current political power in an effort to protect the materials cited in the volumes from the iconoclastic destruction accompanying changing regimes. Thus, early editions of catalogues like

Alexandre Lenoir’s Musée des Monuments Français would accommodate the new French

Republic in 1794 and identify medieval architecture as a testament to human endurance and a celebration of reason. By 1802, the catalogue would restructure the interpretation to suit Napoleon’s cultural imperialism, situating medieval artifacts as an adaptation of ancient aesthetics. The restoration of the monarchy that followed his defeat in 1815 brought yet another change when the Louvre absorbed Lenoir’s museum, prompting further commentaries on the collection though no longer through Lenoir’s catalogue.

When such interpretations articulated an implicit historical testimony, the systematized interpretive work became highly explicit, and to visit these places in the early nineteenth century, to engage in their historical record, was to engage the means by which that record was conveyed. Some attractions highlighted interpretive systems more than others, and Chillon, equipped with on-site tour guides, hosted a particularly explicit interpretive intervention.

Though Chillon held a special fascination for Byron, he was provocatively brief when describing his experiences as a tourist. Nevertheless, these writings demonstrate his 166 interest, for Byron observes in a letter to his publisher, John Murray, “Meillerie—

Clarens—and Vevey—and the Chateau de Chillon are places of which I shall say little— because all I could say must fall short of the impressions they stamp” (June 27). A longer description of Byron’s impressions survives in the first entry of the Alpine journal to

Augusta Leigh, the second recorded visit from September of the same year.136 There

Byron describes a deaf tour guide, a man “as drunk as Blucher” (September 18) and “as great a man” who “roared out the legends so fearfully that H[obhouse] got out of humour.” Though Byron insists that he received an exhaustive tour, this record emphasizes the negative legends associated with the Chateau. He insists that the two companions “saw all things from the Gallows to the Dungeon (the Potence and the

Cachets) and returned to Clarens with more freedom than belonged to the 15th Century.”

One guide from an earlier visit informed him that the prisoners who needed to be executed in secret were hung on a beam wedged in one of the dungeon doorways long after the fifteenth century. Shelley describes the beam as a “monument more terrible of that cold and inhuman tyranny, which it has been the delight of man to exercise over man” (History 130). However, even as the castle testified to the suffering of incarceration, it also featured the delight of liberation.

John Polidori accompanied Byron and the Shelleys on a tour of the castle, and he records more diverse impressions. Reflecting the sentiments of his companions, Polidori describes the scenery around the lake and around Chillon as particularly impressive, but unlike the poets, Polidori offers a more detailed account of the Castle tour. He recounts,

136 Byron’s journals and letters mention the hill behind Chillon as one of his favorite prospects and a frequent destination when walking; thus, there are likely visits to the castle that he did not explicitly record. 167

“Saw Bonivard’s prison for six years; whence a Frenchman had broken, and, passing through a window, swam to a boat. Instruments of torture,—the pulley. Three soldiers there now: the Roman arms already affixed. Large subterranean passes” (September 17).

One of these soldiers mentioned was the same deaf and drunken tour guide that later escorted Byron and Hobhouse, and it is likely that they too heard of the escaped

Frenchmen. The story comes from the years when the castle functioned as a political prison for those seeking to incite revolution in Swiss regions. Edward Gibbon records the incarceration of two such revolutionaries who were transferred to another location before their eventual release (Memoirs 247). Though neither of these gentlemen escaped, their disappearance and eventual reemergence in public life fostered rumors of their escape via the lake. Still, Polidori’s account testifies to Chillon’s Janus-faced monumentality, its ability to convey an impression of coexisting contradictions, whether they be incarceration and freedom or pragmatism and luxury.

Highlighting contradictions in perspectives of the same events, the castle’s most famous inhabitant and Byron’s prisoner, François Bonnivard, came from a transitional period its history. Bonnivard began his life steeped in medieval culture and became an emblem of historical change when he sought to ensure the political and religious liberty of his homeland. Born into an established Savoy family in 1493, Bonnivard received a varied and extensive education. As a child he learned from the monks located near his uncle’s priory at St. Victor and he took over as prior after completing his education in

Italy. When the Duke of Savoy attempted to conquer the region around Geneva and suppress growing Protestantism, Bonnivard fought with the opposition, leading to his imprisonment at Chillon. The duke wanted to sustain the political, social, and religious 168 structures that had been in place throughout the medieval period, and the opposition from figures like Bonnivard marked the beginning of the new age. Bonnivard’s release coincided with the fall of Savoy when the Protestant Bernese family acquired the castle in

1536. Though Byron, by his admission, had no knowledge of Bonnivard’s political convictions, he nevertheless wrote of Bonnivard as a religious freedom fighter, if one more sympathetic to the medieval past than the historical record suggests.

In its final published form, The Prisoner of Chillon contains two parts, each with its own approach to Bonnivard. It has a sonnet, often though not always placed at the beginning of the piece in modern editions, that emphasizes Bonnivard’s political convictions, noting that his country “conquers” the dungeon with his martyrdom (7).

Byron’s advertisement to the poem claims that this sonnet came from a local citizen anxious to educate Byron about Bonnivard’s virtues. It also insists that until conversing with this person, Byron knew nothing of Bonnivard’s true . The passage includes an extended quote outlining that history, but Byron’s insistence carries into his frame of the second part of the poem. Encouraging his audience to ignore The Prisoner’s historical deficiencies, he claims to have written the piece before conversing with the author of the sonnet and admits the inaccuracy in portions of the poem. However, he insists that knowledge of the biography would not have changed these details so much as it would have encouraged him to celebrate Bonnivard’s political convictions. Yet, those details ascribe medieval sympathies to his tragic hero. Juxtaposing the sonnet celebrating

Bonnivard’s “Eternal Spirit of the chainless Mind” (1) with a monologue that begins with 169 a reference to Scott’s ,137 Byron situates his fabulous account of Bonnivard as a literary medievalism that features conflicting accounts of medieval history just like a monument.

The majority of The Prisoner contains an extended monologue in iambic tetrameter, the meter common to ballads and medieval romance. Differing from the accepted history and from the sonnet, it implies that Bonnivard harbored Catholic rather than Protestant sympathies. Gesturing away from the Protestant convictions of the historical prisoner, Byron’s Bonnivard claims “for my father’s faith / I suffered chains and courted death; / That Father perished at the stake / For tenets he would not forsake”

(11-14). Bonnivard’s father died in his bed in 1524, and there is no record of his involvement in the Protestant Reformation. Even further, the Reformation didn’t exist when Bonnivard was a child, so a “father’s faith” would necessarily be Catholic. These comments position Bonnivard as a victim of historical transition, imprisoned by his sympathies with the medieval past as the means to a progressive future.

Further establishing the intentional medievalism of Byron’s fabulous Bonnivard,

Shelley’s account of the tour contradicts Byron’s claim to ignorance about Bonnivard’s biography. Though Shelley never mentions Bonnivard, he describes the dungeon as the receptacle for “those who shook, or who denied the system of idolatry” (130), for those who pushed back against Catholic dominion in other words. Firmly divorced from the historical narrative by the advertisement and the subtitle “A Fable,” Byron ties Bonnivard to a medieval Catholic heritage and implies that his incarceration reflects a contemporary response to that past, an early version of medievalism. His Bonnivard proves so

137 Jerome McGann’s note on the opening lines illustrate how Byron’s reference to the men whose hair turns gray “from sudden fears” alludes to Scott. See The Prisoner 4-16. 170 thoroughly devoted to that heritage that he would die to ensure its futurity, and Byron’s previous work illustrates how thoroughly preoccupied he was with such problematic medievalisms.

The 1816 tour was not Byron’s first foray outside of England. His premiere voyage included an extensive survey around the Mediterranean from 1809 to the middle of 1811, covering Portugal, Spain, Italy, , and Albania. Just as he would do later,

Byron applied his experiences to his poetry, publishing the first two cantos of Childe

Harold’s Pilgrimage in 1812, and from the first, the poem betrays his interest in mechanisms that shape human interpretation. Byron selected a provocative passage from

Fougeret de Monbron’s Le Cosmopolite, ou, le Citoyen du Monde (1753) as the poem’s epigraph that supposes, “L’univers est une espèce de livre, dont on n’a lu que la première page quand on n’a vu que son pays” (“The universe is a type of book in which one has only read the first page when one has seen nothing but one’s own country” 23). 138 This epigaph seems to foreshadow a celebration of the joys of travel, but the passage goes on to suggest that the universe book neither improves on better acquaintance nor offers any kind of essential novelty. Reading further in the book renders the familiar less disappointing, but only by highlighting similar disappointments in other climes.

Unimpressed with his home country, de Monbron frames his travels as the means to reconcile with his homeland, a means to recognize that its evils are not national in origin, but an all-too-human and therefore a universal as well as inescapable problem. If this antinationalist sentiment weren’t provocative enough to an Anglophone audience in

138 In addition to the reasons I elaborate here, de Monbron was a provocative choice because of his reputation. He not only translated volumes like Fanny Hill, but also composed some burlesque texts of his own. 171

1812, the epigraph posits what Childe Harold’s experience would confirm in the first two cantos: travel offers eternal truths, but they depend on the interpretive capability of the traveler.

The opening cantos of Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage position Harold’s journey as a navigation through the inevitable disappointment incurred through travel. Bored with the lascivious pleasures at home, Harold journeys abroad in search of new joys, but the trip did not provide the expected balm for the soul found in sentimental novels and sublime poetics. The poem insists that England felt “more lone than Eremite’s sad cell” (36) to

Harold, explaining why he leaves the hall of “Monastic dome” (59) that he inherited to wander aimlessly through the continent. Nature periodically soothes his dissatisfaction, but historicized scenes fall flat. The starry sky above Leucadia makes his eyes “more placid” and “his pallid front” more smooth (II.41. 369), but Harold “would not delight…In themes of bloody fray, or gallant fight” (359). The highlight of the trip,

Greece, only serves to make him “complacent” (II.92.867), and all the while the narrator constantly takes pains to provide the reader with an accurate impression of the sites

Harold visits. As noted previously, these interventions reinforce how problematic both the chivalric and feudal inheritance had become. Observing that an early death might honor one’s country by preventing a dishonorable life, the narrator gestures to Harold, who “soils a name for aye, / However mighty in the olden time” (23-4) and lives a life so degenerate that his kiss “had been pollution” (42). The preface attributes Harold’s difficulties as a traveler to an “early perversion of mind and morals” (6), and such perversion, Byron argues, stems from the anachronistic perpetuation of a feudal social structure. 172

From the beginning, the poem situates Harold in a medieval context as part of modern problems and argues that disappointment is a direct result of the fetishized medievalisms that justify political agendas. Harold, like Byron, descends from those who participated in the crusades and stands as a modern Templar knight, retracing their steps as he moves toward and identifying their marks on the landscape, such as the red cross in Spain and Arta (I. XXXV and II. XLIV). In addition, the trajectory of his tour, a gradual southeastern progression, when compounded with the title of the poem, evokes medieval crusaders who were self-proclaimed pilgrims traveling to fight in the

Holy Land. However, unlike contemporary portraits of these crusaders, Harold fails to valorize the ideals of chivalry for a modern world.

Rather than exemplify the chivalric code outlined by Kenelm Henry Digby’s

Broadstone of Honour, Harold reflects a disappointing reality that Byron believed to be more historically accurate and true to the medieval romances. The narrator grounds recent events like the defeat of Napoleon in a medieval context, painting vivid pictures of

Moors and knights “in mailed splendor” (I. 382) and locating the 1812 restoration of

Ferdinand VII among signs of the medieval imperial occupation through “Moorish turrets” (514) and “the bold peasant” who “storm’d the dragon’s nest” (519). Juxtaposed with Harold’s failure, the poem suggests that the political problems plaguing Europe as embodied through Harold stem from living medievalisms in feudalism and chivalry, systems that facilitate upper-class abuse both of themselves and of the impoverished majority they outrank. A fetishized notion of the gothic, like the glorification of the

Templar knights, justifies that perpetuation, but it also rosily glosses the violence and injustices of the past as a glorious step in building modern nations. 173

Quick to respond to a perceived anti-medievalism, reviewed the first two cantos of Childe Harold in a March edition of the 1812 Quarterly.139 Though he praised the work as a whole, Ellis lambasted Byron’s nod to medieval pilgrimage as anachronistic, debased, and entirely inaccurate, and he was especially piqued to find that attitude in a travel narrative. Few works are, he argues, “so extensively read and admired as those which contain the narratives of intelligent travelers” (191), and though pleased that Byron has provided such a piece in poetic form, he believed that Byron’s Harold

“only tends to embarrass and obscure” the scenes (192). Ellis queries why Byron felt it necessary to “unite, in the person of the pilgrim, the eager curiosity of youth with the fastidiousness of a sated libertine” and in doing so “revert to the rude and simple ages of chivalry in search of a character which can only exist in an age of vicious refinement”

(192). He insists that the “group of antiques” (192) peopling Byron’s poem do not belong in the modern context, and though Ellis calls the era of chivalry “rude and simple” (192), he displays reverence for the concept when he insists that Harold’s libertine character makes it “doubly essential to divest the ‘Childe’ of his chivalrous title and attributes”

(196). Recognizing that his poem corrects the subjective understanding of chivalry and problematic interpretive practices undergirding Ellis’ critique, Byron explicitly responded to the review in the second edition of the poem.

Byron perceived Ellis’ review of Childe Harold as particularly harmful to a poet so insistent about his personal knowledge of the places and people to which his poetry

139 Ronald A. Shcroeder has an in depth analysis of Byron’s rebuttal to Ellis in “Ellis, Saint-Palaye, and Byron’s ‘Addition’ to the ‘Preface’ of ‘Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage I- II’.” 174 alludes,140 and he carefully answered Ellis’ concerns in an addition to the preface.

Consulting Saint-Palaye’s Mémoires sur l’ancienne chevalerie, Byron points to scenes from medieval history that imply a more proper medievalism lies within his work than in the popular propagandist form lauded by Ellis.141 One particular scene describes unfettered violence as a commonplace in the crusades, a seeming contradiction to the understanding of chivalry as the pursuit of “Love, Honour, and so forth” (24). As he continues, Byron highlights the devastating and problematic violence of the reality under chivalric codes, while acknowledging that romance literature and its articulation of chivalric ideals have shaped conceptions of the medieval past. He suggests that high virtues appear alongside high vices in the Middle Ages as in the nineteenth century, emphasizing that life and death, good and evil are equally potential at any moment. The

“good old times” may have glorified the vows of chivalry, but Byron insists that human nature will do what human nature always does, that “the vows of chivalry were no better kept than any other vows whatsoever” (24). Even as he criticizes fetishizing the Middle

Ages, Byron affirms that the medieval period deserves scrutiny and praise, for “Sir

Tristrem and Sir Lancelot were no better than they should be” (24). He admits that medieval literature offers an accurate measure of human experience and a faithful narrative of the failure to live up to an ideal. Byron does not want to regret “these monstrous mummeries of the middle ages” (25), but neither does he seek to ignore their faults entirely. Like William Wordsworth, Byron works against propagandist

140 See the Letter to John Murray from Cheltenham September 14, 1812. 141 Ronald A. Schroeder demonstrates that the selection of Saint-Palaye as Byron’s source is an ironic turn against Ellis who was known as the Saint-Palaye of England. See “Ellis, Saint-Palaye, and Byron’s ‘Addition’ to the ‘Preface of Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage I-II’.” 175 medievalisms by promoting his own, a popular technique among his Romantic contemporaries.

With the subtitle “A Romaunt,” Byron quickly establishes medievalism as a contextual lens for Harold’s engagement with the European continent and for the poem’s relationship to contemporary literary practices. He adopts an antiquated spelling that consciously plays on the German Romantic practice of modernizing the medieval romance genre as a way to explore the “transition between real and imaginary existence”

( De L’Allemagne 50), or, as Madame de Staël also suggests, of analyzing the human experience in light of philosophical advancement (54). Driving the point home, Byron’s title identifies Harold as a pilgrim, matching his trajectory with that of the knights

Templar who crossed the continent on their way to Jerusalem.142 Connecting this medieval inheritance to the increasingly popular German medievalisms, Byron alerts his audience to the tensions that individuals confront through historical tourism. More specifically, the title signals an implicit acknowledgment that historical knowledge is always a balance of the real and the imaginary, but that there are dangers in pursuing the imagined past into the realm of fantasy. Fanciful imaginings tend to ignore the inherent contradictions in the historical testimony that would highlight the dangers in seeking its reincarnation. Through the romance genre, Byron’s contemporaries explored the relationship between the real and imagined histories that drive and have driven human actions. Positioning his own work as another formal medievalism, Byron alerts the audience to one of the problems that Harold confronts through his journey, namely that idealized or fantastic versions of the past only perpetuate injustices and social problems.

142 Byron’s addition to the preface of the poem in 1813 makes the connection explicit, referring to Harold as a Templar knight. 176

The year that Byron published the opening cantos of Childe Harold, he tried his hand at a political career in the House of Lords. Later, he compiled and published the speeches he gave, and they frequently concerned abuse of the lower class by the aristocracy and bourgeois elite on matters concerning property, wages, criminal proceedings, and religion. Though Byron stops short of articulating Harold’s concern for such issues, the pilgrimage repeatedly features views raised in Byron’s speeches that concerned the rights of the working poor and religious freedoms. In these speeches,

Byron refers to an ongoing tradition of freedom in England, exemplified by the Glorious

Revolution and its ties to the Magna Carta, and he critiques the abuse of the lower classes by those in power either through titles or personal wealth. In a similar vein, Childe

Harold’s narrator cautions that the tourist “Disconsolate will wander up and down, / ‘Mid many things unsightly to strange ee; / For hut and palace show like filthily” (I. 17. 227-9) in Portugal. The palace in question is that at Mafra, which, as Childe Harold’s polyphony reveals, signifies the perpetuation of feudal poverty and oppression and directly correlates to the propagandist goals driving the state-sanctioned identification of and promotion of monuments.

Though Byron offers some form of hope for his despondent pilgrim, the cantos end with a reaffirmation that travelers all too often fail to look beyond the fetishized or idealized histories associated with monuments. Unlike de Monbron’s quotation implies,

Harold isn’t quite reconciled to his homeland because that homeland remains a disappointing perpetuation of feudal decadence. Still, Harold achieves some consolation in the beauty of Greece and the affirmation that imagination holds such sway over human 177 behaviors.143 Even as it provides a subjective and mistaken view of history, it inspires the travel that facilitates firsthand knowledge, which has the power to correct mistaken ideals and views of history in turn. In these two cantos that power lies within the literary product such firsthand experiences inspire: within the polyphonic model of travel literature that Byron creates in Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage.

Through polyphony, Byron positions his travel poem as an alternative and better model for travel literature. His poem displays a keen awareness that his fictionalized record of the tour illustrates the presence of diverse interpretive possibilities at each

143 The 1812 edition of Childe Harold culminates in Greece, and the narrator clenches the importance of evaluating subjective historiographies through an explicit digression on monumentality as the product of defining, cultivating, and advertising material remains. Identifying literature and imagination as immaterial media, the text suggests that they and not the monument are best equipped to negotiate human desires and better preserve historical meaning in the landscape: “Where’er we treat ‘tis haunted, holy ground;/ No earth of thine is lost in vulgar mould,/ But one vast realm of wonder spreads around,/ And all the Muse’s tales seem truly told,/ Till the sense aches with gazing to behold/ The scenes our earliest dreams have dwelt upon:/ Each hill and dale, each deepening glen and wold/ Defies the power which crush’d thy temples gone:/ Age shakes Athena’s tower, but spares gray Marathon” (II. 88. 828-36). The key to immortality through human memory is fiction and fantasy, but an immortal reputation comes at a high price. Greece is a “sad relic of departed worth! / Immortal, though no more; though fallen, great!” (73.1-2). The immortality of remembrance requires an end be it through death or destruction, but that end facilitates an life after death. Even further, as the history becomes engrained in the human memory, it is only a semblance of truth, for the remnants of human life, the testimonials of real experience, disappear in the face of time. Imagination is the true triumph over the erosion of time, but it is not the keeper of true history, and it often fails to drive home the tragedy of human violence. Imagination instills the desire to experience the sites from historic tales, but it also facilitates the inevitable disappointment in the reality of the “sad relic.” However, that disappointment highlights the distinction between the monumentalized and the monument: marathon does not disappoint like ruins do, but neither can it accurately convey the tragedy of the violence it hosted. Through the narrator, Byron insists that material reminders of the past embody a tension between memory and oblivion, truth and fiction, reality and imagination, and they stress the human desire to forget the violence of history and the complexities of the events worth recording. History, Byron’s monumental tensions suggest, is the record of man’s baser qualities, but monumentalization requires the help of imagination to be effective. The collaboration, in turn, facilitates propagandist abuse of the material inheritance. 178 individual site, for it records numerous and sometimes conflicting impressions. His note on the verses describing the Mafra basilica belies its condemnation as a monument to

Catholic guilt (stanza 29), observing “The extent of Mafra is prodigious: it contains a palace, convent, and most superb church. The six organs are the most beautiful I ever beheld, in point of decoration.” By extension, Byron’s innovation implies that other manuals and narratives prove too readily complicit in the propagandist interpretation of sites like the Mafra basilica because they only offer one point of view. The diverse reports from Harold who is pleased with nothing differ from those of the narrator who is displeased with the seedy underbelly of imperial monuments. Both also differ from

Byron’s personal preferences for the magnificent organs, and together, they emphasize that various mechanisms shape tourist experiences. The polyphony demonstrates how such personal experiences facilitate empathy with an imagined reality of the past and provide the knowledge that historical narratives overlook their subjective nature, as well as the complex interpenetration of disparate interests operating in any event.

Byron would add two more cantos to Childe Harold in 1816, and they, along with other works from that year, returned to the problem of the past’s influence on the present.

The third canto begins with the narrator affirming his connection to the speaker of the previous cantos, describing his second venture out on the waters and his intention to take up the themes of his previous tale. When Harold appears in the ninth stanza, the narrator depicts him as aged and subdued from the passage of time, but bearing an invisible chain around his body. Leaving the boat, he first sets foot on the continent at Waterloo, where the chain imagery appears once more. However, this time the poem describes his bindings as links of the “world’s broken chain” (III.18.62), echoing the medievalisms of 179 the first two cantos and their assertion that individuals become enslaved to the past. As

Harold wanders the continent in search of relief, he posits a solution at the moment he would reach Chillon Castle.

Chillon lies between the mouth of the Rhone and Clarens. When Harold travels down the Rhine into Lake Leman, he reveals a critical desire:

Could I embody and unbosom now That which is most within me,―could I wreak My thoughts upon expression, and thus throw Soul, heart, mind, passions, feelings, strong or weak, All that I would have sought, and all I seek, Bear, know, feel, and yet breathe―into one word, And that one word were Lightning, I would speak; But as it is, I live and die unheard, With a most voiceless thought, sheathing it as a sword. (III. 905-913)

Harold posits that he could unburden himself if he could only record his history in a single expression, a word to be specific. However, he cannot perfectly complete such a project. To put his perspective in language is to “wreak” that view through an imperfect medium. Even further, the act of expression is a violent presence in the world, a lightning bolt or a sword blade. Harold’s decision to leave his burden unexpressed and unrelieved reflects his discomfort with violence, a refusal to perpetuate harm in an effort to preserve the self. However, this episode appears when he would pass Chillon and reflects the nature of the monument as a historical testimony capable of conveying complexities in a single entity.

As Byron narrates Harold’s trip to Lake Leman, he noticeably excludes mention of Chillon. Rousseau’s and Gibbon’s work popularized the castle among nineteenth- century audiences, and groups of tourists journeyed there not only to see the location where Rousseau’s Julie died, but also to visit an institution that held a reputation as a 180

Swiss version of the Bastille. Such a reputation provides reason enough to investigate the castle’s absence in Byron’s poem, and he includes further provocative clues that highlight the castle’s absence. The narrative reaches the lake after a tour down the Rhine where

Harold saw “chiefless castles breathing stern farewells” (413), Drachenfels and

Ehrenbreitstein receive special mention, and the narrator ruminated on the feudal lords of these estates as “robber chiefs” (426), questioning their celebrated status in history (429-

32). That status, the text asserts, comes from the forms of capital those in power use to control “History’s purchased page” (429), and following these observations the text continues along the Rhine, considering “baronial feuds” (433) as well as the “unrecorded deeds” (434), setting the stage for the feudal remnants along Lake Leman.

His journey moves from Morat, to Aventicum, to Mont Blanc before coming to the Lake where the lyric address to the waters leads into a celebration of Rousseau. On arrival there, the poem describes the progression from the Rhine to the lake as a passage through “Gothic walls...the wild rocks shaped as they had turrets been / In mockery of man’s art” (584-6), and upon entering the lake, the Alps take the form of the walls in the

“palaces of Nature” (591). Gazing at the content of this palace, the narrator mentions sites along the shoreline in a linear progression, walking along the shore from the mouth of the

Rhone, to Clarens, and Lausanne.144 This reverses the route described in Polidori’s account of the trip with Byron around Lake Leman’s sites, but Byron suddenly ceases to

144 The transition from nautical to pedestrian transport is subtle, but important. At first, Byron describes the “quiet sail” on the lake (801), but the perspective shifts from the center of the lake looking at the shoreline to that of someone on the shoreline looking out at the lake in the passage describing the mouth of the Rhone. This shift is reinforced by the speaker’s assertion that he experiences the storm over the mouth of the Rhone, the lake, and the mountains from the place where he took lodgings for the night (“the far roll / Of your departing voices, is the knoll/ Of what in me is sleepless,―if I rest ” 899-901). On awaking, he is “Still on [Leman’s] shores” (920). 181 mention the monuments peopling the landscape, begging the reader to question why. That route would take him right by the castle, and the text contains only shadowy hints at the castle’s influence on the scene.

Just as the third canto of Childe addresses the possibility of human liberty, Byron employs images of incarceration and slavery that correspond to Chillon and his portrait of

Bonnivard. Comparing his response to natural environments with his response to social spaces, Harold muses:

I live not in myself, but I become Portion of that around me; and to me, High mountains are a feeling, but the hum Of human cities torture: I can see Nothing to loathe in nature, save to be A link reluctant in a fleshly chain, Class’d among creatures, when the soul can flee, And with the sky, the peak, the heaving plain, Of ocean, or the stars, mingle, and not in vain.

And thus I am absorb’d, and this is life: I look upon the peopled desert past, As on a place of agony and strife, Where, for some sin, to Sorrow I was cast, To act and suffer, but remount at last With a fresh pinion; which I felt to spring, Though young, yet waxing vigorous as the blast Which it would cope with, on delighted wing, Spurning the clay-cold bonds which round our being cling. (III. 72-3. 680-97)

The world absorbs the self and causes it suffering by rendering it nothing more than a product of biological imperatives, depriving the individual of agency and choice. Yet the world is also the source of the self’s transcendence of such imperatives. Though Harold wishes for freedom from the dictates of his material nature, escape from being a “link in a fleshly chain,” he finds relief only by leaning into nature, becoming absorbed in the mountain scenery around Lake Leman. He explicitly connects this process with human 182 history. Like social spaces, the “peopled desert past” torments him, and the remedy would imitate his absorption in nature: merging with that past.

Immediately following his lament at the torment of human existence, Harold’s musings take a positive turn. With a new day comes a renewed perspective on the past that is also located at the moment he would reach Chillon:

The morn is up again, the dewy morn, With breath all incense, and with cheek all bloom, Laughing the clouds away with playful scorn, And living as if earth contain’d no tomb – And glowing into day: we may resume The march of our existence: and thus I, Still on thy shores, fair Leman! May find room And food for meditation, nor pass by Much, that may give us pause, if ponder’d fittingly. (III.98. 914-22)

Though Harold seemingly remains in the same spot through his “still,” he has actually moved perspectives from the center of the lake to its shores. In other words, he moved from sailing to a pedestrian tour that takes him right by Chillon. There, he becomes once more a “reluctant link” when he takes up the “march of our existence,” but he implicitly gestures toward the monument as a point of solace and liberation, as well as torment and incarceration. The object of his meditation remains unacknowledged, but it is of utmost importance because it halts his tendency to collaborate with the violence of history or ponder suicide as an escape. The stanzas preceding this positive turn show Harold contemplating suicide in the depths of Lake Leman. However, as he moves on, he finds an object to contemplate that interrupts those thoughts. Significantly, the object must be

“ponder’d fittingly” and cause the subject to pause before any progressive moves can be made. This pause mirrors Byron’s narration of Bonnivard’s transformation in Chillon’s 183 dungeon, and the location of Harold’s meditation suggests that the food for meditation is

Chillon itself.

At first, Byron titled “The Prisoner of Chillon” “The Castle of Chillon,” a telling inclination that reflects the content of the poem. Not only does the poem contain two contrasting portraits of the same historical figure, but the extended monologue also explicitly contemplates monumentality. After the first of the two brothers imprisoned with Bonnivard dies, his chains provide “Such murder’s fitting monument” (163), and even before death the prisoners are constantly monumentalizing the dungeon by becoming the stones and shaping them in their image in turn. Their voices “took a dreary tone, / An echo of the dungeon stone” (64), and even as they themselves are “relics of a home so dear” (102), they become part of the Chillon monument by transforming their chains and pillars into gravestones. The introduction proposes that Bonnivard’s limbs

“have been a dungeon’s spoil” (7), a line with layered implications. On the surface it refers to the twisted, atrophied state of his body that results from such a long incarceration, but the syntax also suggests that Bonnivard’s limbs have spoiled the dungeon. Constant pacing wore paths into the dungeon floor that remain visible in the twenty-first century, and he further altered the dungeon by carving a step to look through the dungeon’s window. Byron peppers Bonnivard’s monologue with monumental language from the beginning and ends with an image of friendship between Bonnivard and the chains.145 It is, perhaps, due to such scenes that contemporary readers conflated the castle with the poem and vice versa.

145 “My very chains and I grew friends, / So much a long Communion tends / To make us what we are: even I / Regained my freedom with a sigh” (391-4). 184

Happily for Byron and Polidori, their stay in Switzerland coincided with that of

Germaine de Staël in Coppet, and once aware of their presence, she included them in the circle of artistic talents gathered there.146 Byron shared a draft of his Chillon poem, eliciting a quick and enthusiastic response:

My lord, J’espérois un peu que vous viendriez me voir et que nous lirions ensemble cet admirable manuscrit—je ne sais rien en particulier de plus beau que le château chillon je trouve ce morceau bien supérieur à celui du dante surtout le commencement—peut être ce qui détourne de l’unité à la fin pourroit il être supprimé—mais quel talent ! quelle découverte effrayante dans de nouvelles regions de douleur et ce n’est pas de l’amour—c’est ce qui n’est pas sujet au changement la mort et la mort dans la solitude. Enfin j’ai été plus ébranlée de cette lecture que par rien depuis long-temps—il n’y a que les événements de sa propre vie qui soient plus forts en poésie que vous—je voulois parler et je me mets à écrire—venez dîner chez moi jeudi avec polidori—je prendrai votre silence pour oui—il faut bien aussi donner du pouvoir au silence—mille et mille remerciements. (To The Right honorable Lord Byron, Saturday, 1816 in Coppet)

[My lord, I have a small hope that you will come and see me and that we shall together read this admirable manuscript ― I know of absolutely nothing more beautiful than Chillon Castle. I find this short piece quite superior to Dante, especially the opening—perhaps the part which detracts from the unity at the end could be suppressed-but what talent! What terrifying discoveries in new regions of sorrow, and it is not love—it is that which is not subject to change, death and death in solitude. To sum up, I have been more shaken by this reading than by anything in a long time: only events in one’s own real life are stronger in poetry than you—I wanted to speak about it and set about writing—come to dinner with me on Thursday with Polidori—I shall take your silence as agreement—we really must give power to silence too—a thousand and a thousand thanks, Necker de Staël Holstein.]

De Staël’s praise for “le chateau chillon” might indicate either the castle or Byron’s manuscript, doubtless an intentional ambiguity on her part. Thanks to letters exchanged with his publisher and Claire Claremont, the poem’s editor, it is clear that he had not yet

146 Byron suspects that she warmed to him after he mentioned her in a sonnet as one of the jewels of the region, and while he enjoyed the benefits of her friendship, he also frequently complains of her tendency to monopolize conversation and views her works as inferior to that of men though nevertheless remarkable as the product of a feminine intellect. See John Wilkes, Angelica Goodden, and Peter Cochran. 185 altered the poem’s name at the time of this exchange, and it is remarkable that the eternal significance de Staël identifies conflates with his monumental preoccupations. She finds the poem’s truths in the eternal finality of death and death as a solitary experience, situating the poem in the genre of the epitaph, one of the earliest, most prolific forms of monumentalization.147

Out of the physical space that Byron’s prisoner inhabits, few details acquire as prominent a presence in the poem as Lake Leman, an implicit gesture back to Childe

Harold’s musings. Byron devotes the sixth stanza to its description, and it remains a significant presence throughout the Prisoner’s tale. Echoing Rousseau’s description in

Julie, Byron begins with the details about its depth, but unlike Rousseau, Byron synthesizes the dungeon and the lake into one mental space. The prisoner refers to “a double dungeon wall and wave” (113) calling the lake a “living grave” (114) that haunts every minute spent in the dungeon thanks to its sonorous “ripple” (117) that knocks over their heads (118). They also feel “winter’s spray / Wash through the bars when winds were high” (119-20), as well as vibrations of the water’s movments through the dungeon walls (122-5). He breathes “dungeon-dew” (214) and lists in “A Sea of stagnant Idleness

/ Blind – boundless – mute- and motionless” (249-50) during his imprisonment. Once

147 Staël was not the only one who conflated the prisoner with the castle. Dorothy Wordsworth records her visit to the castle in her diary from the Continental Tour in 1820 and observes many of the details found in other accounts, descriptions of the white walls, etc,. She also notes the self-referential art works on the walls that depict the castle throughout history and the public posting of Byron’s poem, which she calls “The Fortress of Chillon.” Reading the poem, she notes her preference for the stories told by the guide and mentions a “patriot prisoner, seven years chained to that ring” in the dungeon in direct contrast to Byron’s emphasis on Bonnivard as a religious figure. Wordsworth’s reading presents the more accurate account, for Bonnivard was imprisoned in the war for religious freedom though he was not particularly religious. See the The Continental Journals 1798-1820 297. 186 freed from the chains binding him to the dungeon pillars, he etches a step in the wall so that he can look out the window onto the lake. There he witnesses the fish “joyous each and all” (325), but finds no joy in the sight. He describes his eyes full of “dreary mote”

(369), a play on words that conflates the gray dust in the air with the living death of the lake. Even as the description of the lake’s “living death” mirrors Bonnivard’s imprisonment, Byron conflates Bonnivard’s story and the castle with its setting.

As he acclimates to his imprisonment, Bonnivard becomes like the monument itself: cold, stagnant, and stoic in the face of external pressures. At first, he is chained to the monument with his brothers, but as time passes, they become one with the dungeon.

One set of fetters at the base of a column becomes a monument to his brother’s passing, and Bonnivard claims that the last link binding him to life broke when his youngest brother died (215-7). Afterwards, he has “no thought, no feeling—none— / Among stones I stood a stone” (235-6). Only after becoming the castle around him does he begin to live again. Once merged with the dungeon, a bird perches on the windowsill, and its song brings him “back to feel and think” (278). However, the bird episode cuts off a return to the former self when it leaves. Rather than expect history to work toward his benefit, Bonnivard learns from the bird that circumstance does not favor individuals: individuals can only control their reactions to circumstance.

From the moment that the bird reinforces the absence of providence, Bonnivard begins to regain his freedom. At first, his keepers unfasten his chains, leaving him free to roam the dungeon. Then he acts on his environment to suit his circumstances, carving a foothold in the wall to gaze out on Lake Geneva. As he looks out the window at the mountains, he observes that “they were the same” (332), though he has changed. In 187 addition to the physical changes that accompany mistreatment and trauma, Bonnivard’s attitude changes and he learns to see what he did not before: that all people are imprisoned no matter their position in the world.

In the final section, Byron paints Bonnivard as having the same agency as those who imprisoned him. He becomes a monarch over the spiders and mice that inhabit his dungeon. Even further, he recognizes how all the creatures in the world are victims of circumstance to some degree. He notes, “why should I feel less than they? / We were all inmates of one place” (384-5). Rather than view the spiders as voluntary inhabitants of the prison, he projects his circumstance onto them. However, they can also be like the

Chillon monument: they can adapt according to the winds of change and subvert those pressures by emphasizing how an adaptation occurred. Accepting his monarchic domain, they live with Bonnivard in harmony, but the very possibility of rebellion highlights his oppressive position.

In the final lines, Bonnivard admits that the world shapes the individual. His communion with the chains becomes a metaphor for all people’s experience. Constant contact “tends / To make us what we are” (390-1). Byron insists that the world will shape the people within it, but Bonnivard’s acquired agency through the monument offers a glimmer of hope for those crushed by the weight of history. By acknowledging these pressures and accepting them, one can escape them to some degree and move beyond enslavement to history. Provocatively, Byron reiterates this idea in the third canto of

Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage, but only after Harold has paused and moved past the object of his meditations. 188

When Harold arrives the shore, he travels toward Clarens, the village celebrated in Rousseau’s Julie. There he meditates on the immortality of authors, i.e., Rousseau,

Voltaire, and Gibbon, and acknowledges that his theme has always been how “We are not what we have been, and to deem / We are not what we should be” (III.111. 1033-4). His project, in his own estimation, probes the significance of human historicity. It examines what has been lost from the past, what has been gained, discerning how regression accompanies progressions. To pursue this theme, he evaluates how the past inhabits the present, and he labels immortal those authors who successfully occupied a monumental space: like Byron’s Bonnivard, they accepted their impotence to control events around them and became an emblem of the virtues in controlling one’s response to those events by merging with the landscape and its monuments.

Speaking of Rousseau, Byron situates his work as a recognition of the true nature of a place rather than an attempt to historicize it. At Clarens, he observes:

’Twas not for fiction chose Rousseau this spot, Peopling it with Affections; but he found It was the scene which Passion must allot To the Mind’s purified beings; ’twas the ground Where early Love his Psyche’s zone unbound, And hallowed it with loveliness: ’tis lone, And wonderful, and deep, and hath a sound, And sense, and sight of sweetness; here the Rhone Hath spread himself a couch, the Alps have reared a Throne. (III. 968-76)

Byron locates Rousseau’s genius in his ability to recognize the true nature of place without reference to the historiographies vying for interpretive control. Intriguingly, the

“him” of the last lines in the stanza is not specified. The couch could belong to the Rhone

, but the throne remains unoccupied grammatically. This indicates that the “him” to whom Byron refers is in fact Rousseau. He saw the landscape with undiluted eyes and 189 became one with it: the landscape memorializes the poet just as his work memorialized the landscape. Byron would make this connection explicit only a few lines later, including Voltaire and Gibbon among the authors who successfully complete such a merger.

After he elaborates on the special qualities of Gibbon and Voltaire, Byron groups them with Rousseau in a summary of this route to escaping the chains of history and human corporeality. Speaking of their writing, Byron describes its connection to the scenery around Lake Geneva in provocative terms:

They made themselves a fearful monument! The wreck of old opinions—things which grew, Breathed from the birth of time: the veil they rent, And what behind it lay all earth shall view, But good with ill they also overthrew, Leaving but ruins, wherewith to rebuild Upon the same foundation, and renew Dungeons and thrones, which the same hour As heretofore, because ambition was self-will’d. (III.770-78)

The explicit invocation of the “monument” and the language of incarceration and government hints strongly of Chillon. Chillon represented the seat of feudal power in the region: it was the place that housed a dungeon and a throne all at once. Even further,

Byron criticizes the indiscriminate destruction of the past in the name of progress, echoing William Wordsworth’s medievalism. His letters explain that during the summer of 1816, Percy Bysshe Shelley read Wordsworth’s poems extensively to Byron, and though Byron denies a direct influence, he echoes Wordsworth’s concern that past faults perpetuate themselves without a material reminder of their existence. The virtue of these authors, despite their complicity in the destruction of such reminders, lies in their 190 exposure and recognition of those elements through writing. Their texts became these monuments even when the material structures were gone.

Though Byron refrains from ever mentioning Chillon in Childe Harold’s

Pilgrimage, the third canto nevertheless contains implicit references that testify to the monument’s influence in his theory of historical liberty. Significantly, the echoes of

Wordsworth that appear at Clarens are made explicit in the piece composed alongside this canto, The Prisoner of Chillon. Bonnivard describes his situation with a direct allusion to Wordsworth. Referring to his deceased brothers, he laments, “We were seven who now are one,” quoting Wordsworth’s poem “.” It narrates an unnamed traveler’s discussion with a young girl who claims that her deceased siblings should be counted as part of her present family. She insists that the surviving members regularly visit the deceased and that they talk with each other, pushing her interlocutor to reconsider his views on absence and presence. Though the poem does not explicitly connect the discussion to a collective past, the lesson echoes through Wordsworth’s medievalisms and his haunted depictions of Europe’s present. Significantly, The Prisoner and the third canto of Childe consider this haunted present and similarly insist that rather than deny this present absence, the past should be made manifest and thoroughly inhabited by the present.

Though Bonnivard obtains freedom at the end of The Prisoner of Chillon, Byron problematizes Bonnivard’s liberty. Rather than rejoice in his freedom, the prisoner asserts how utterly mentally institutionalized he is, claiming through medievalist metaphors that his cell became a kind of hermitage and a kingdom where he ruled supreme (374-90). Within that cell, Bonnivard wields the power to terminate life or to 191 extend clemency, but it is only possible because of his incarceration. This implicitly questions whether he has agency if his triumph depends so heavily on circumstance.

Furthermore, his transformation into the comparatively omnipotent ruler who wields the power to harm others turns him into the very forces that he would oppose. Transforming into a version of the thing he fought against, Bonnivard becomes metaphorically incapable of entering the world beyond his dungeon. He has become the monument and all that it stands for: oppression, tyranny, and the ongoing quest for freedom and liberation. However, this transformation may in fact be the best way to obtain historical agency without removing the self from history through suicide.

It appears that Bonnivard becomes intellectually imprisoned, but the poem distinguishes between appearance and reality on numerous occasions. The most memorable illustration of this lesson occurs when a small bird perches on his windowsill and cheers him for a short while. At first he considers the bird an incarnation of or at least a gift from his dead brother, but the bird’s departure reinforces its banality; what had seemed “A visitant from Paradise” (284) actually left the prisoner “doubly lone” (292).

The scene illustrates how Bonnivard’s imagination depends on material circumstance and reinforces his impotence as a material being. For that reason, Emily Bernhard Jackson’s recent analysis argues that the poem remains unconvinced that man can overcome natural law and escape the chains of history. However, Bonnivard’s realization is an acknowledgment that he was always impotent in the face of history and the world around him. When he leaves the dungeon, he is not the worse for his incarceration because he now understands his position relative to the world around him and can therefore control his response to it. He will not be at the mercy of another bird who comes to his window. 192

He does not obtain perfect liberty because such liberty is impossible for the living, but he obtains the next best thing: the ability to control his reactions to the world around him.

Like Rousseau, Bonnivard merges with his surroundings and acquires a better perspective of the world around him.

From an early age, Byron exhibited a very visible interest in material history that continued throughout his life. Patrick Vincent proposes that “Romanticism is a period self-consciously, even obsessively concerned with the psychological and cultural mechanisms that transform moments into monuments and into monumental ruins”

(71),148 and though Vincent overgeneralizes to a degree, Byron certainly demonstrates such consciousness. As a young man he would drink from a silver cup made from a monk’s skull whilst wearing monkish robes, and he marked the 1816 departure from

England with a final stop at Charles Churchill’s grave. He collected bones and artifacts from Waterloo to send back to friends at home and he would repeat the practice again and again, sending John Murray the Morat Bones and Sir Walter Scott an urn filled with

“authentic” ancient Athenians. His investment in the materiality of history extended so far that he traveled in a replica of Napoleon’s coach on the 1816 tour. Such actions suggest a strong sympathy with antiquarian preoccupations, yet Byron would write disdainfully of the collectors that he encountered and critique the history they fetishized as an endless cycle of destruction and violence. Similarly unresolved tensions naturally

148 In a similar vein, Paul Westover’s recent examination of Romantic tourism identified a developing necromantic desire at the heart of both literary and historical tourists following the French Revolution, necromantic because it seeks to commune with an absence through proximity to the remains of the dead, be it a corpse or a column. See Necromanticism: Traveling to Meet the Dead. 193 peppered his writing, and through writing he could explore these tensions, probing the nature and the impact of material history.

Like other Romantics, Byron recognized the import of the material presence of the past. He refrained from explicitly critiquing the destruction of historical sites as explicitly as Wordsworth, but his writing from 1816 and its connection to Chillon convey a similar investment in protecting that inheritance. And Byron pushes the weight of that inheritance further, insisting that there is no complete relief from the burden of history and humanity’s impotence to alter historical circumstance. Nevertheless, he locates a means of managing that burden in medievalist monumentality, a means of conveying the benefits and the drawbacks of a particular past. His medievalism resembles that of

Wordsworth and that of de Staël, pointing toward the past recorded in modern places as a means of overcoming its damaging present influences. He recognizes the harmful role medievalism plays in contemporary politics and creates a new medievalism, an inhabiting of the medieval, to counter that negative influence.

At Chillon, he identified the monument as a means to convey the complexities of the past and render its influence benign. To straddle the bounds of slavery and suicide, he wrote the monument explicitly and implicitly into his work from 1816 as a model for historical engagement. By merging with the monument through imagination, Byron exposed the subjective mechanisms that enslave and began to work toward a way to break the chains of history. For Byron, only by pursuing the past and inhabiting it can present people gain some sort of historical agency, and only by fittingly pondering medievalist testimony can individuals learn the truth of human agency.



Medievalist places communicate more than a past reality: they articulate consequences of human historicity. While ruins and monuments record a testimony from the past, medievalist sites record a conscientious management of the past. Ruins and monuments certainly reflect interpretive staging, but sites like Chartreuse, the cathedral at

Milan, and Chillon Castle draw attention to that staging as an ongoing, ever-changing process, directing attention in turn to the limited historical perspective of individuals and communities throughout time. Such places not only manifest a medieval past, displacing the Middle Ages, but also record historical approaches to that past, displacing responses to human historicity. They are monumental and even occasionally receive the

“monument” designation, but their medievalist testimony recounts a history of interpretation, of responses to the knowledge that the present comes from the past and dictates the future. Thus, they inspire Romantic travelers who hope to establish categories of similarity and difference that are not limited to any temporal or spatial context: they inspire travelers who hope to craft a universal and progressive Romantic literature.

William Wordsworth, Germaine de Staël, and Lord George Gordon Byron each adopt a unique approach to Romantic medievalism, but they all link their medievalisms to historical destinations from their travels. Wordsworth’s fascination with Chartreuse led him to develop anachronism as an acceptable historical testimony. Identifying medievalist testimonies as anachronisms allows the past to inhabit the present without threatening progress, providing access to positive qualities of the past without replicating its negative qualities. Germaine de Staël’s tour of Italy prompted her articulation of an 195

Italian medievalism in Corinne. Her representation of medievalist sites critiques attempts to impose cultural conformity or to allow the past to dominate and thereby replicate its flaws in the present. The Chateau Chillon provided Byron with a medievalist model for existing in history while controlling one’s response to it, freeing the individual in part from the burden of history and from the bewitching lure to enact historical change. Such medievalisms intervene in contemporary approaches to history, facilitating positive change, and they all contribute to the Romantic investment in crafting a new kind of cultural production.

As the author of Lyrical Ballads, the work that articulated a Romantic proposal for improving , William Wordsworth is one of the leading figures in

British Romanticism, and his medievalism illustrates a general concern in Romantic circles about the presence of the past and how to neutralize its potentially harmful influence. In “Salisbury Plain” and the passages concerning his visit to the Grande

Chartreuse, he betrays some degree of anti-medievalist sentiments. His comments on the deathlike atmosphere of the monastery, the violent history related to Salisbury Plain, and the oppressive symbolism of the Bastille emphasize that medieval sites all-too-often symbolically record oppressive practices and infrastructures. He sympathizes with the objection to perpetuating feudal rule voiced by French Revolutionaries, but he insists that medieval heritage offers more benefits than drawbacks to the present. His lines on

Chartreuse show how medievalist sites, sites that orient a present medieval past as an anachronism, support cultural attempts to craft a future that improves upon the present.

His poetry asserts that the physical inheritance must stand as a present reminder of past 196 oppressions in order to stop such oppression from recurring and as a present point of access to the universally helpful features of the medieval legacy.

Germaine de Staël brought German Romantic philosophy to a French-speaking audience with De l’Allemagne and proves similarly preoccupied with the universal relevance of medievalist material testimonies. Corinne situates medievalism as an essential critical lens through which to view contemporary events and through which to judge the proper influence of the past on the present and one’s strategy for influencing the future. She notes the scarcity of gothic monuments in Corinne as a sign of Italian independence in the face of oppressive foreign powers. Medieval gothic architecture, in other words, records destructive events in Italy’s past, but its pervasive absence transforms the few surviving examples into a positive inheritance: social independence and a sustained love of liberty that defy disappointing attempts to repress those native tendencies. Insisting on this point, de Staël implicitly predicts further delay in Italy’s development into a modern power as a result of Napoleon’s coming invasion, another oppressive attempt to enforce an alien . Her medievalism situates the French empire as a repetition of the problematic medieval past and connects Italy’s pending disappointment with Oswald’s struggle to honor his father without allowing that specter to overtake the present. She highlights how medievalist testimony addresses problems that inevitably recur throughout history, illustrating the power of historical tourism to improve modern life through Oswald’s experiences. 197

Building on de Staël and Wordsworth’s work, Byron was the most popular and celebrated nineteenth-century voice among the British Romantic poets,149 and his compositions explicitly decry the consequences of a flawed perspective on history, a problem that is not specific to any historical context. Noting ongoing abuses in public and in private that stem from a romanticized view of the Middle Ages, Childe Harold’s

Pilgrimage reinforces negative medieval stereotypes while insisting that their memory must survive through material records. Not only are individuals called to die in the poem for the sake of chivalry, but Harold is a disillusioned libertine with a medieval name. A perpetual exile, Harold is doomed to wander the European continent, far from the

“monastic dome” of his ancestral home (I.59). At the moment he would reach Chillon, however, he begins to reconcile himself to this destiny and find consolation in nature.

The parallels between this scene and The Prisoner of Chillon, when coupled with the circumstances of their composition, provide compelling evidence that Byron turned to the medieval material inheritance as a way to mitigate the potential harm a haunted present can cause. In Chillon he found even more: a prescription for managing the burden of human historicity, a conscientious awareness of one’s situation between the past and the future. The castle’s record of historical responses to historical pressures models a means of coping with demands to contribute to history and encourages individuals to accept that they only function as free agents when controlling their response to the world rather than seeking to change the world.

149 As noted in the introduction, Byron knew de Staël and was reading Wordsworth during the summer of 1816. For more information on his position with respect to other Romantics, see Claire Tuite’s work on Byron’s celebrity. 198

Wordsworth, de Staël, and Byron incorporate medievalism into the very form of the literature that they write. Wordsworth translates the temporality of medievalism, an anachronistic presentness grounded in a linear temporality, into his lyric poetics, shifting from a linear narrative into a lyric record of experiences that reflects the power of memory to inundate the present with the past, and then shifting back to the linear time of narrative. De Staël’s Corinne marries the gothic novel with the medieval romance and the travelogue. Byron employs medievalist poetics, marrying the Spenserian stanza or the meter common to with a contemporary vocabulary and free variations from traditional rhyme schemes.150 Site-based Romantic medievalisms correspond to literary production on a formal level and they also reflect the deep investment in preserving historical sites that appears in Romantic literature of the long eighteenth century.

By crafting medievalisms tied to places, Wordsworth, de Staël, and Byron all intervene in the debate about the virtues of a material medieval legacy. Wordsworth traveled the continent as Revolutionary vandalism increased, socializing with central voices in debates about the merits of vandalisme, and his record of those travels reflects his investment in supporting moderate views that encourage preserving the material past.

De Staël, exiled from Paris because of her opposition to Napoleonic rule, implicitly argued against his selective investment in the ancient world. She highlighted virtues found in nations other than France that originate in the Middle Ages and crafted an Italian medievalism in Corinne that implicitly attributes modern flaws to a lack of engagement with the history recorded in medieval sites both at home and abroad. Byron, another

150 Byron also employs antiquated terminology, further emphasizing this marriage of the medieval and the modern. 199 exile, emphasized that medieval places offer a necessary comfort in the present by demonstrating how historical pressures have harmed individuals in every epoch and in all cultures. These interventions, while emphasizing contingent testimonies based in a specific historical context, all correlate to Wordsworth, de Staël, and Byron’s


In their own way, Wordsworth, de Staël, and Byron each push the argument in favor of preservation beyond prevention and into positive medievalisms that contribute to the goal of crafting a universal and progressive literature. Highlighting the virtues of the

Middle Ages as well as the vices, they insist that present and future generations require access to the medievalist testimonies recorded in historic sites. The Chartreuse passages insist that monasticism embodies the worthwhile endeavor of pursuing a more perfect balance of private and social, industrial and natural lifestyles, however flawed that manifestation might be. Furthermore, Carthusian monasticism provides Wordsworth with a much needed model for navigating disappointment, one that he incorporates into his lifelong development of “spots of time.” De Staël similarly emphasizes medieval virtues.

In Corinne, the medieval inheritance determines a modern nation’s identity, and this lays the foundation for Italy’s ascent despite past and future foreign oppressors. It provides a map by which individuals and collectives may chart a path between the demands of moral duty and happiness, responsibility and liberty. For Byron, the inevitable turning of fortune’s wheel recorded at Chillon illustrates how to recognize and how to negotiate contemporary historical influences, a helpful skill in any historical context. For all of these authors, access to these benefits requires access to the material record of approaches to the medieval past. 200

Place-based Romantic medievalisms significantly vary from the medievalisms recognized among modern critics of Romanticism. Michael Glencross’s seminal work on

Arthurian medievalisms in French Romanticism, Reconstructing Camelot, offers an excellent description of the Romantic medievalisms that critics commonly recognize. He claims that Romantics and their contemporaries “find in the Middle Ages the reflection of their own imagination” (56), and other critics agree. Claire Broome Saunders, Claire

Simmons, and Elizabeth Fay all examine medievalism as an expression of an author’s political views, situating medievalism as a means of establishing a historical precedent for those beliefs and as proof of their merits. In many medievalist texts, this holds true, but it is not the only form of Romantic Medievalism, as my analysis of Wordsworth, de

Staël, and Byron demonstrates. They privilege accurate, concrete ties to the material inheritance that are best preserved through places, situating their views as something more than a reflection of their imagination. They locate the Middle Ages as the foundation of the contemporary world and they insist on preserving the remnants that best reveal the complexity of that foundation.

Taken together, Wordsworth, de Staël, and Byron illustrate how medievalisms particular to individual texts and authors directly correspond to the broader Romantic investment in positive change. Observing diverse perspectives in the material inheritance and insisting on preserving that diversity, they preclude escape into the past and the reincarnation of its flaws. They insist upon the negative aspects of that historical record by grounding their historiography in substantial things, thereby allowing the positive aspects to remain accessible to modern peoples seeking to enact progress. In other words, they facilitate progressive growth and prevent backsliding through their place-based 201 medievalism, rather than promote an escapist nostalgia. They argue that memeism, the systematic destruction of any and all feudal remnants, would hinder rather than help progressive change, rendering medievalism an essential part of any modern nation or writer.

Other contributors to Romantic cultural production similarly pursued progress by crafting place-based medievalisms. Perhaps the most famous example appears in Victor

Hugo’s Notre-Dame de Paris, 1482 (1831). The cathedral features so prominently in

Hugo’s novel that the main character, Quasimodo, exhibits signs of a romantic relationship with it. As he rings the bells, he caresses and fondles them, imitating their pendulous movements by running to and fro in the tower. The novel describes how he feels their powerful vibrations coursing through his body, implicitly comparing

Quasimodo’s experience of the cathedral with that of a sexual encounter.151 Notre-Dame was in terrible disrepair when Hugo wrote the novel, and its publication helped to launch a campaign that funded the cathedral’s refurbishment. The book’s success in promoting preservation was an ironic twist on the observation of one character, Frodo, that literature would overtake architecture as the greatest means of cultural expression, and Hugo explored this theme prior to the novel.

In 1832, one year after publishing the novel, Hugo issued an article titled “Guerre aux démolisseurs” in which he explains that the article had been written in 1825 but readied for publication at his earliest convenience. It lambasted those who would further

151 An extensive description of the bells and of Quasimodo’s love for Notre-Dame appears in the third chapter of book four. Speaking of Quasimodo, Hugo refers to Notre- Dame as “son” or “his” cathedral when detailing individual aspects of the structure. This practice continues in the explanation of Quasimodo’s delight in big Marie, the largest and most beloved of “his” fifteen bells. 202 destroy the medieval heritage in the name of progress and explicitly connected material medievalism to Romanticism:

[E]n même temps qu’une glorieuse révolution politique s’est accomplie dans la société, une glorieuse révolution s’est accomplie dans l’art. Voilà vingt-cinq ans que et madame de Staël l’ont annoncée en France ; et s’il était permis de citer un nom obscur après ces noms célèbres, nous ajouterions que voilà quatorze ans que nous luttons pour elle. Maintenant elle est faite. Le ridicule duel des classiques et des romantiques s’est arrangé de lui-même, tout le monde étant à la fin du même avis. Il n’y a plus de question. Tout ce qui a de l’avenir est pour l’avenir. À peine y a-t-il encore, dans l’arrière-parloir des collèges, dans la pénombre des académies, quelques bons vieux enfants qui font joujou dans leur coin avec les poétiques et les méthodes d’un autre âge ; qui poètes, qui architectes ; celui-ci s’ébattant avec les trois unités, celui-là avec les cinq ordres ; les uns gâchant du plâtre selon Vignole, les autres gâchant des vers selon Boileau. Cela est respectable. N’en parlons plus. Or, dans ce renouvellement complet de l’art et de la critique, la cause de l’architecture du moyen-âge, plaidée sérieusement pour la première fois depuis trois siècles, a été gagnée en même temps que la bonne cause générale, gagnée par toutes les raisons de la science, gagnée par toutes les raisons de l’histoire, gagnée par toutes les raisons de l’art, gagnée par l’intelligence, par l’imagination et par le cœur. Ne revenons donc pas sur la chose jugée et bien jugée ; et disons de haut au gouvernement, aux communes, aux particuliers, qu’ils sont responsables de tous les monuments nationaux que le hasard met dans leurs mains. Nous devons compte du passé à l’avenir. Posteri, posteri, vestra res agitur. (618-9)

[At the same moment that a glorious political revolution transpired in society, a transpired in art. It’s been twenty-five years since Charles Nodier and Madame de Staël announced it in France; and if it’s permitted to cite an obscure name after well-known names, we would add that we fought for it for fourteen years. But it’s done. They’ve resigned themselves to the ridiculous duel between classicists and romanticists, the world finally being of the same opinion. No question remains. All that has the future is for the future. A the same time there scarcely remains, in the back rooms of colleges, in the half-shadows of academies, some good old children who toy with the poetics and methods of another age in their niche; some poets, some architects; these who grapple with the three unities, those with the five orders; the ones who screw up the plastering according to Vignole; the others who screw up verses according to Boileau. This is respectable. We won’t say anymore. Now, in the complete renewal of art and criticism, the case of medieval architecture, seriously pleaded for the first time in three centuries, has won at the same time as the general good cause, won by arguments of reason and science, won by the arguments of history, won by the arguments of art, won by intelligence, by imagination and by the heart. We won’t return again to the judged and well-judged; and we will speak from on high to the government, to the towns, 203

to the select ones who are responsible for all the national monuments that fortune places in their hands. We must narrate the past to the future. “Posterity, posterity, your business is being conducted.”]

Only a few years after Wordsworth, de Staël, and Byron had published their articulations of Romantic medievalism, Hugo explicitly notes such medievalisms as a commonplace in

Romantic cultural production. He insists that future generations will need an accurate and complete record of the past, scathingly chastising those who would deny them that right.

In one section, he compares those who destroy monuments to insects feasting on a corpse, creeping out of every orifice and decimating the remains (612). He ascribes this aversion to medieval materials as a scapegoating action, a removal of blame from those responsible for injustices to the buildings and materials that testify to their reality (617).

This admission resonates with the anti-escapism found in other Romantic medievalisms:

Hugo does not deny that the medieval inheritance brings with it dangerous and oppressive examples for modern society. However, he insists that an absent past causes far more harm than a present and problematic one by depriving future generations of access to an accurate historical record.152

Long before Hugo launched that critique, François-René de Chateaubriand had devoted much of part four in Génie du Christianisme (1802) to describing the medieval artifacts and materials that demonstrate Catholicism’s beneficial influence. Augmenting his seeming support of the French Revolution in Essais sur les Révolutions (1797), between 1795 and 1799 he composed Génie du Christianisme, a religious apology in

152 For a more thorough exploration of Hugo’s role in the preservationist movements, see Heritage or Heresy and Hugo et le débat patrimonial. 204 favor of Catholicism.153 The text devotes much of part four to describing medieval artifacts and materials and sought to counter derogatory reports about Christianity that circulated in the name of French Republicanism. Refuting the foundation of the Cult of

Reason, he insisted that Catholic heritage provided a beneficial influence on French society and culture and that it was by no means illogical or inherently oppressive. The second section of the third part, for example, lists all of the philosophical advancements made possible by Christian thinkers and insists that scientific study of the natural world corresponds to the biblical assertion that God reveals Himself in nature. Once published, the work drew the attention of Napoleon, who then appointed Chateaubriand secretary to the legation to the Holy See.154 Later, Chateaubriand would again emphasize the parallel between the medieval material inheritance and the immaterial events to which they testify, specifically the folly of “progressive” destruction.

In his posthumous Mémoires d’outre-tombe (1849-50), Chateaubriand describes medieval sites like the Grande Chartreuse as a microcosm of the damage decades of political upheaval caused in France. The work describes how once thriving and well-kept monastic grounds became dilapidated and useless. Those who had dissolved the monasteries argued that the lands should be of benefit to the general populace, but

Chateaubriand’s record of their decay drove home the hollowness of that promise.

Though medieval infrastructures were by no means perfect in his view, their eradication, as demonstrated by the material ruins, provided no benefit to the general welfare.

153 For more information on Chateaubriand’s relationship to material preservation, see Jean-Marie Roulin. Though the majority of the article considers Chateaubriand, he also includes a brief discussion of de Staël’s connection to French patrimoine. 154 Chateaubriand did not fare well with some of his companions and resigned the role, but the significance of the text in promoting him personally stands nevertheless. 205

Conversely, their presence had benefited society for centuries. In fact, while their presence testified to their worth, their absence turned out to be a dangerous problem, according to these Romantic authors.

As was previously noted, the medieval material inheritance significantly impacted the political, cultural, and social European landscape in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century. Uncomfortably present in political and social infrastructures, the

Middle Ages provided an historical battleground for contemporary ideologies, and those invested in a progressive future necessarily addressed the role of the past in facilitating that future. Print materials such as Alexandre Lenoir’s catalogue of the Musée des

Monuments Français and Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s travelogue Italienische Reise, reflect the heated interpretations of such historical materials, portraying the sometimes violent conflicts over the meaning of history. The materials themselves often embodied violence, for, as Jonah Siegel observes, the museum “houses hostages or that can never really be sent home because their native land has ceased to exist in a way that can welcome them back as they were” (5). Still, arguments in favor of medievalism provoked widespread criticism. Nineteenth-century critics understandably questioned the

Romantic fascination with a period that historians characterized as dominated by oppressive infrastructures, contributing to the escapist reputation of Romanticism that continues today.

However, as the medievalisms of Wordsworth, de Staël, and Byron demonstrate, when Romantic authors traveled the continent, they found the consequences of memeism to be especially dangerous for modern society and the loss of access to the medieval legacy to be detrimental to positive change. Even further, they insisted that eradicating 206 medievalisms offered no benefits and robbed the people of the advantages to accessing an accurate and conflicting historical record. Throughout Europe, Romantic cultural production implicitly argued in favor of preserving medieval sites and artifacts.

Wordsworth, de Staël, and Byron located a solution to concerns about preserving harmful aspects of the medieval inheritance in a paradox: they argued that any harmful potential would be neutralized in the material record of the reception of the medieval legacy. In other words, they argued that medievalist places provided a middle ground between memeism and reverence.

At a time when museums and monumentalization were increasingly influencing cultural production, Romantic work began to intervene in this selective fashioning of collective memory. The medievalisms of Wordsworth, de Staël, and Byron, as well as those of Chateaubriand and Hugo, all probe the dangers of a mythologized history, querying the destruction of historical remnants that would testify to the truth of the

Middle Ages. They also push back against propagandist historiography that leads to violence and oppression. Their medievalisms, rather than promote an escape from modern life as contemporaries and some of today’s critics suggest, provide a more accurate perspective on history for the sake of the present. They therefore speak to the

Romantic investment in progress, providing a better foundation for the future by allowing for medieval flaws and by facilitating access to the era’s best features.

Taken together, Romantic medievalisms such as those of Wordsworth, de Staël, and Byron insist upon the vital importance of the material inheritance. Too-absent a past allows contemporary historiography to transform the past into a dangerous spur to violence and provides no prevention against repeating past sins. Too-present a past 207 results in stagnation, a refusal to change and to progress in the individual and in society.

Drawing on their experiences at medievalist sites, Romantic authors charted an alternative to such extremes that allowed access to a flawed past without promoting those flaws in contemporary society. They also crafted medievalisms as integral parts of their work, altering the form as well as the content of writings that responded to their experiences abroad.

In conclusion, William Wordsworth, Germaine de Staël, and Lord George Gordon

Byron illustrate that the medievalisms encountered through historical tourism shaped

Romantic cultural production. Wordsworth valorizes the temporal implications of the sites that continue to function as they would have in the past and translates this temporality into literary form. De Staël emphasizes the personal and collective lessons about loss and the nature of reality to be derived from studying the past, and Byron adopts still another approach, exploring a paradox in the medieval monument as a record of conflicting historiographies and as a model for coping with contemporary historical pressures. By merging Bonnivard with Chillon, Byron outlines a helpful means of obtaining a broader point of view without self-annihilation. Nevertheless, these diverse examples illustrate the insight such medievalisms bring to bear on Romantic cultural production, for each of them addresses the medieval inheritance as a crucial influence on contemporary behaviors and ideas.

William Wordsworth’s Chartreuse passages, Germaine de Staël’s Corinne, ou l’Italie, and Lord Byron’s compositions from 1816 represent a small sample of Romantic literature. Still, they illustrate the value in probing one of the very qualities that troubled and continues to trouble criticism: Romantic medievalism. In the end, their medievalisms 208 provide a significant contribution to Romantic studies as an articulation of how the past could and should inhabit their present through physical means in order to best enact progress. By addressing experiences grounded in travel, their writing collectively lays a foundation for cataloguing other medievalisms similarly preoccupied with the material inheritance as the means of obtaining an accurate perspective on the past. Opening a thread of investigation for Romantic studies, these place-based medievalisms implicitly gesture toward a larger pool of such phenomena that will yield new readings of Romantic texts and, in turn, a better understanding of Romanticism.


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VITA Kristen Anne Fisher

Education 2010-2016 Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA Ph.D., Comparative Literature Sites of Romantic Medievalism in the Writing of William Wordsworth, Germaine de Staël, and Lord George Gordon Byron Directors: Caroline D. Eckhardt, Professor of English and Comparative Literature Jonathan P. Eburne, Professor of English and Comparative Literature

2008-2010 University of Dallas, Irving, TX M.A., English Language and Literature Coleridge's ‘The Rime of the Ancient Mariner’: Symbolic and Sublime Poetry Director: Eileen Gregory, Professor of English

2004-2008 Baylor University, Waco, TX B.A., University Scholars Three Tales from the Ovide Moralisé: A Translation and Critical Introduction Director: Sarah-Jane Murray, Associate Professor of Medieval Literature and French

Papers Presented July 2014 “‘England Expects’: Mythological History in William ’s 1809 Exhibition” North American Society for the Study of Romanticism Annual Conference, Washington, D.C. May 2013 “The Memory of Chivalry in The Broadstone of Honour” International Conference on Medieval Studies, Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, MI

Awards/Fellowships Spring 2015 Institute for the Arts and Humanities Residency, Pennsylvania State University Fall 2010-Spring 2011 Sparks Fellowship, Pennsylvania State University

Professional Affiliations Modern Language Association North American Society for the Study of Romanticism International Society for the Study of Medievalism