Review by Choice Review

This useful, well-edited collection of 14 essays by 13 authors (Maxwell contributes two) offers a much-needed survey of British prose fiction in the Romantic period, roughly 1785-1830. Maxwell justly observes that J. M. S. Tompkins's The Popular Novel in England 1770-1800 (1932, since reissued) "is still the best overall book about the novels of its period," though a similar claim could be made for English Fiction of the Romantic Period, 1789-1830 (1989), by Gary Kelly, who contributes an essay to the present collection. Maxwell, Trumpener, and their fellow contributors discuss the recent trend to broaden the study of the novel, taking notice of work by previously obscure writers, studying popular and plebeian literary works seriously, considering the cultural contexts of literary work (including Orientalism and empire), questioning the generic separation of prose fiction from verse narratives, arguing about gender and the representations of gender, and studying the production of novels in terms of historiography and book history (William St. Clair's essay, "Publishing, Authorship, and Reading," is especially informative). Although the book's intellectual sophistication suggests an audience of specialists, the consistent clarity of style and the pedagogical apparatus (e.g., the chronology and a set of bibliographies) make the book a useful resource for undergraduates. Summing Up: Recommended. Lower-division undergraduates through faculty. T. Hoagwood Texas A&M University

Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.