Fulford, Tim(othy John) 1962-
FULFORD, Tim(othy John) 1962-
PERSONAL: Born 1962. Education: University of Cambridge, M.A. (with honors), 1984, Ph.D., 1988.
ADDRESSES: Offıce—Department of Humanities, Nottingham Trent University, Burton St., Nottingham NG1 4BU, England. E-mail—[email protected]
CAREER: Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, England, research fellow, 1989-91; Jesus College, Cambridge, fellow, 1991-94, professor of English, 1995—.
Coleridge's Figurative Language, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1991.
(Editor, with Morton D. Paley) Coleridge's VisionaryLanguages: Essays in Honour of J. B. Beer, D. S. Brewer (Rochester, NY), 1993.
(Editor, with Peter J. Kitson) Romanticism andColonialism: Writing and Empire, 1780-1830, Cambridge University Press (New York, NY), 1998.
Romanticism and Masculinity: Gender, Politics, andPoetics in the Writings of Burke, Coleridge, Cobbett, Wordsworth, De Quincey, and Hazlitt, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1999.
(Coeditor) Travels, Explorations, and Empires: Writings from the Era of Imperial Expansion, 1770-1835, (with Carol Bolton) Volume 1: North America, (with Peter J. Kitson) Volume 2: Far East, Pickering & Chatto (Brookfield, VT), 2001.
(Editor) Romanticism and Millenarianism, Palgrave (New York, NY), 2002.
(Editor) Romanticism and Science, 1773-1833, five volumes, Routledge (New York, NY), 2002.
(Editor, with Debbie Lee and Peter J. Kitson) Literature, Science, and Exploration in the Romantic Era: Bodies of Knowledge, Cambridge University Press (New York, NY), 2004.
Contributor to professional journals, including Modern Language Quarterly, Studies in Romanticism, Studies in Travel Writing, European Romantic Review, Modern Language Review, Dreaming, and Wordsworth Circle.
SIDELIGHTS: In his writings, Tim Fulford has sought to convey the complex interactions between literature and the wider world in the turbulent period of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, when age-old ideals and customs came under sharp and sometimes violent assault. Throughout the eighteenth century, explorers were pushing back the limits of the known world—at least from a European perspective—while theorists and philosophers were overturning political and social assumptions that had existed for centuries. Poets and novelists struggled to capture these profound changes, establishing a tenuous authority of their own as interpreters and oracles. In Landscape, Liberty, and Authority: Poetry, Criticism, and Politics from Thomson to Wordsworth, Fulford discusses the reactions of poets to the economic and political upheavals that marked Georgian England. "Fulford's main route through the period," explained Paul Baines in the Modern Language Review, "is not the direct representation of the country and its inhabitants, in whatever degree of mystification, but the kind of poetic authority writers can derive from the contested ground between the landowning class (which is also the class of patrons and readers) and the seemingly autochthonous rural poor, usually illiterate and often dispossessed by their squires." Poets like James Thomson perceived, and in a sense created, a divine order within the misery of displaced rural workers, in a sense letting the rural gentry off the hook. As Fulford sees it, this view is gradually undermined by writers like Cowper and Johnson and finally laid to rest by Coleridge and Wordsworth, who transfer moral legitimacy from the gentry to the rural poor themselves.
Romantics like Coleridge and Wordsworth obviously did a great deal of questioning, looking beneath the assumptions of rural gentlemen and urban financiers to determine their legitimacy. But what of the assumptions of the Romantics themselves, particularly in an area intimately connected to romance: sexuality? In Romanticism and Masculinity: Gender, Politics, and Poetics in the Writings of Burke, Coleridge, Cobbett, Wordsworth, De Quincey, and Hazlitt, Fulford "promises a new approach to our understanding of the role of gender, particularly masculinity, in the politics and poetics of the male romantic canon," observed Studies in Romanticism contributor Marlon Ross. Ross added, "Like previous scholars, Fulford wants to interlink the revolutionary politics of the time to the poetics of gender within romantic writing." For Fulford, Edmund Burke stands as a kind of patriarch, shoring up the old chivalric order alternately challenged and reinforced by rebellious "sons" such as Coleridge, Wordsworth, and Hazlitt, particularly as the aristocracy gave way to the growing power of the middle class. As Fulford shows, these writers were not only agitated by the growing independence of at least some women, but also by the fear that society itself was emasculating them. Ross concluded, "Although Romanticism and Masculinity does not provide a new approach to the problem of gender within the romantic canon, it nonetheless helpfully elaborates the masculine negotiations at work in the gender discourse and sexual identities of this grouping of male romantic writers. Fulford's study is well worth the attention of romanticist scholars and readers more generally."
While British society confronted new challenges to traditional authority at home, British explorers and travelers encountered strange and exotic societies throughout the world whose very existence challenged everything they thought they knew about universal truth and human nature. These explorers invented a wildly popular new genre, travel writing, that caught the imagination of readers and writers alike. Coleridge's Rime of the Ancient Mariner, Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, Defoe's Robinson Crusoe, and many others, owe a debt of gratitude to the intrepid men and women who went where no European had gone before and lived to tell the tale. In recent years, Fulford has been a coeditor of a massive effort of rediscovery, bringing together letters, journals, pamphlets, and book excerpts in Travels, Explorations, and Empires: Writings from the Era of Imperial Expansion, 1770-1835.
Reviewing the first four books of this eight-volume set on travel writing, Wordsworth Circle contributor James McKusick wrote, "The editors have done a magnificent job of selecting the most seminal texts from the truly massive corpus of contemporary travel literature. Each of the four volumes provides a detailed geographical and historical introduction; every textual selection is accompanied by a biographical headnote and explanatory endnotes." In addition to selecting among massive amounts of material, the editors have the task of sorting the true from the false, for editors and publishers of the past were not above embellishing the journals they received, or even inventing completely fraudulent accounts of imaginary journeys. Fulford's insistence on sticking to the facts results in text that is not always reader friendly, according to Christopher Ondaatje in the Times Higher Education Supplement: "Travels, Explorations and Empires is not aimed at the popular market. Authenticity rules strictly over ease of perusal as facsimiles of the original publications have been used, with 'f' written where we should use 's' and typographical quirks intact. Within the academic market, however, Fulford and [coeditor] Kitson's target is wide. These are writings they believe should be read across the disciplines, as befits the broad influence of Romantic exploration narratives. The diversity of this collection of journeys makes their case clearly: is it history? literature? science? politics?—the only difficulty university libraries should face is deciding where to shelve it."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Modern Language Review, January, 1999, Paul Baines, review of Landscape, Liberty, and Authority: Poetry, Criticism, and Politics from Thomson to Wordsworth, pp. 170-171.
Studies in Romanticism, summer, 2003, Marlon Ross, review of Romanticism and Masculinity: Gender, Politics, and Poetics in the Writings of Burke, Coleridge, Cobbett, Wordsworth, De Quincey, and Hazlitt, p. 281.
Times Higher Education Supplement, March 15, 2002, Christopher Ondaatje, "From Fu Man Chu to a Grizzly End," p. 24.
Wordsworth Circle, autumn, 2001, James McKusick, review of Travels, Explorations, and Empires: Writings from the Era of Imperial Expansion, 1770-1835, p. 233.*