Paulson, Ronald 1930-

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Paulson, Ronald 1930-

(Ronald Howard Paulson)

PERSONAL: Born May 27, 1930, in Bottineau, ND; son of Howard Clarence (a Boy Scout executive) and Ethel F. Paulson; married Barbara Lee Appleton, May 25, 1957 (divorced, 1983); children: Andrew Meredith, Melissa Katherine. Education: Yale University, B.A., 1952, M.A., 1956, Ph.D., 1958.

ADDRESSES: Home—Baltimore, MD. Office—School of Arts and Sciences, Johns Hopkins University, 141 Gilman Hall, 3400 N. Charles St., Baltimore, MD 21218.

CAREER: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, instructor, 1958-59, assistant professor, 1959-62, associate professor of English, 1962-63; Rice University, Houston, TX, professor of English, 1963-67; Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD, professor of English, 1967, Andrew W. Mellon Professor of the Humanities, 1973-75, chairman of English department, 1968; Yale University, New Haven, CT, professor of English, 1975-80, Thomas E. Donnelly Professor, 1980-84, director of graduate studies, 1976-83; Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD, Mayer Professor of the Humanities, 1984—, chairman of English department, 1984-91. Military service: U.S. Army, Artillery, 1952-54; became first lieutenant.

MEMBER: Modern Language Association of America, American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies, American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

AWARDS, HONORS: Guggenheim fellowship, 1965-66, 1986-87; National Endowment for the Humanities fellowship, 1977-78.

WRITINGS:

Theme and Structure in Swift’s “Tale of a Tub,” Yale University Press (New Haven, CT), 1960.

Hogarth’s Graphic Works, Yale University Press (New Haven, CT), 1965, revised edition, Print Room (London, England), 1989.

The Fictions of Satire, Johns Hopkins University Press(Baltimore, MD), 1967.

Satire and the Novel in Eighteenth-Century England, Yale University Press (New Haven, CT), 1967.

Hogarth: His Life, Art, and Times, Yale University Press (New Haven, CT), 1971.

Rowlandson: A New Interpretation, Oxford University Press (New York, NY), 1972.

Emblem and Expression: Meaning in English Art of the Eighteenth Century, Harvard University Press (Cambridge, MA), 1975.

Popular and Polite Art in the Age of Hogarth and Fielding, University of Notre Dame Press (Notre Dame, IN), 1979.

Book and Painting: Shakespeare, Milton, and the Bible, University of Tennessee Press (Knoxville, TN), 1982.

Literary Landscape: Turner and Constable, Yale University Press (New Haven, CT), 1982.

Representations of Revolution: 1789-1820, Yale University Press (New Haven, CT), 1983.

Breaking and Remaking: Aesthetic Practice in England, 1700-1820, Rutgers University Press (New Brunswick, NJ), 1989.

Figure and Abstraction in Contemporary Painting, Rutgers University Press (New Brunswick, NJ), 1990.

Hogarth, Rutgers University Press (New Brunswick, NJ), 1991.

The Beautiful, Novel, and Strange: Aesthetics and Heterodoxy, Johns Hopkins University Press (Baltimore, MD), 1996.

Don Quixote in England: The Aesthetics of Laughter, Johns Hopkins University Press (Baltimore, MD), 1998.

The Life of Henry Fielding: A Critical Biography, Blackwell (Malden, MA), 2000

Hogarth’s Harlot: Sacred Parody in Enlightenment England, Johns Hopkins University Press (Baltimore MD) 2003.

Sin and Evil: Moral Values in Literature, Yale University Press (New Haven, CT), 2007.

EDITOR

Fielding: A Collection of Critical Essays, Prentice-Hall (Englewood Cliffs, NJ), 1962.

The Novelette, Prentice-Hall (Englewood Cliffs, NJ), 1965.

Henry Fielding: The Critical Heritage, Barnes & Noble (New York, NY), 1969.

Satire: Modern Essays in Criticism, Prentice-Hall (Englewood Cliffs, NJ), 1971.

Henry Brooke, The Field of Quality, five volumes, Garland Publishing (New York, NY), 1979.

William Godwin, Fleetwood; or, The New Man of Feeling, three volumes, Garland Publishing (New York, NY), 1979.

Eliza Haywood, The History of Miss Betsy Thoughtless, four volumes, Garland Publishing (New York, NY), 1979.

Thomas Holcroft, Memoirs of Bryan Perdue, three volumes, Garland Publishing (New York, NY), 1979.

Henry MacKenzie, Julia de Roubiggne, two volumes, Garland Publishing (New York, NY), 1979.

Bage, Barham Downs, two volumes, Garland Publishing (New York, NY), 1979.

Bage, James Wallace, three volumes, Garland Publishing (New York, NY), 1979.

Mary Collyer, Virtuous Orphan; or, The Life of Marianne, Countess of—, four volumes, Garland Publishing (New York, NY), 1979.

Fenelon and Francois de Salignac de la Mothe, The Adventures of Telemachus, two volumes, Garland Publishing (New York, NY), 1979.

Charles Johnstone, Chrysal; or, The Adventures of a Guinea, four volumes, Garland Publishing (New York, NY), 1979.

Bage, Mount Henneth, two volumes, Garland Publishing (New York, NY), 1980.

The Analysis of Beauty: William Hogarth, Yale University Press (New Haven, CT), 1997.

OTHER

Contributor to periodicals, including English Literary History and Studies in English Literature. Member of editorial board, Eighteenth-Century Studies.

SIDELIGHTS: Literary critic and historian Ronald Paulson often combines his knowledge of English literature with that of other disciplines, including art history and criticism. In his biography of the eighteenth-century painter William Hogarth, Hogarth: His Life, Art, and Times, Paulson studies the artist’s work in light of literary, cultural, and sociological movements of the era. Critics responded favorably to Paulson’s extensive research and comprehensive examination of cross-disciplinary influences on Hogarth’s work.

Richard Freedman writes in Book World that “it is appropriate that his magisterial biography of Hogarth is by a man primarily trained in the literature of the eighteenth century.… [If] Paulson’s training is in literature [though], he has done his homework in the sister art thoroughly and well. Painstakingly he traces Hogarth’s progress from the engraving of funeral cards to the realization of his true genius for the mock-heroic….Above all, this massive, lavishly, and appropriately illustrated biography is the first modern treatment of Hogarth to be thoroughly researched on its own.

Similarly, Thomas R. Edwards comments on the author’s achievement with the Hogarth biography in a New York Times Book Review article, asserting that Paulson’s “literary qualifications make him an ideal ‘reader’ of Hogarth, always alert to the narrative and dramatic qualities in the works and their relation to the history of art, society and moral taste.”

Saturday Review critic Robert Halsband observes that it is “difficult to imagine how Hogarth’s life could be more thoroughly examined than in Mr. Paulson’s eleven hundred pages, where every shred of evidence is searched for meaning, every fact pursued for implications. The ‘art and times’ of the title allow a more expansive exploration, and through them the artist himself emerges more solidly, and in a sense revivified, merely by being seen so clearly in his social, religious, artistic, and political surroundings.” Halsband further describes Hogarth: His Life, Art, and Times as “a monument so massive and imposing, so thorough and detailed, so magisterial, that were the adjective not so devalued by overuse one would be tempted to call it definitive.”

In Representations of Revolution: 1789-1820, Paulson looks at the question of how the French Revolution changed the ways in which contemporaries perceived art and literature. He suggests that the Revolution inverted aesthetics, replacing concepts of art that had been generated by the upper classes with other ideas that arose from concepts associated with the middle and working classes. “At the time,” wrote Anatole Broyard in the New York Times Book Review, “Edmund Burke described the French Revolution as ‘the most astonishing thing that has hitherto happened in the world.’ As Mr. Paulson sees it, this was ‘the first, paradigmatic, “great” revolution,’ the one that ‘created the awareness of revolution’ and introduced the notion that ‘anything was now possible.”’ “Representations of Revolution,” Broyard concluded, “is one of those scholarly but lively books that exhilarates us with the sheer scale or grandeur of its terms.”

Paulson further examines the concept of aesthetics as it evolved in England in The Beautiful, Novel, and Strange: Aesthetics and Heterodoxy. In this work, according to Therese Dolan, writing in the Art Bulletin, the author “situates the origins of aesthetics in 18th-century England, around 1712, in empiricism and religious forms of heterodoxy, such as deism, showing how the discourse on beauty came to replace blind faith in God.” “He pays close attention to concepts of Taste, the Sublime, the Novel, and the Great,” Dolan continued, “with accompanying debates on their definition by their advocates and practitioners.” Two of these advocates and practitioners included Hogarth (the subject of Paulson’s earlier book) and the novelist Henry Fielding, one of the great early exponents of the comic novel. Paulson argues that “the tradition of the novel that Fielding launched,” the Art Bulletin critic explained, “took much of its rationale from a heterodox aesthetics,” as opposed to mainstream Church of England concepts. Furthermore, “by focusing on how Hog-arth’s work elaborated on Joseph Addison’s interest in the Beautiful, the Novel, and the Strange, Paulson reveals how Hogarth’s modern moral subject set itself up against the Shaftesburian tradition that inspired [English portraitist Sir Joshua] Reynolds’s strong advocacy of history painting.” “Paulson,” Dolan concluded, “has opened up ample areas for further productive discussion.”

Don Quixote in England: The Aesthetics of Laughter looks at the way in which the great seventeenth-century Spanish novel influenced the development of the English comic novel more than one hundred years after it was originally written. “A basic thesis of Paulson’s work,” Laura J. Gorfkle declared in Cervantes: Bulletin of the Cervantes Society of America, “is that Cervantes’s masterpiece, Don Quixote, a highly popular work in eighteenth-century England, exerts a pervasive cultural influence that cuts across and intersects the various media and disciplines.” However, “while offering richly textured readings of English rewritings of the Spanish hero,” explained Donna Landry and Gerald MacLean in Studies in English Literature, “Paulson is less interested in the historical development of the English novel than in elaborating and refining his previous position on the emergence of the general category of the aesthetic during the eighteenth century. Here, the quixotic provides a key to understanding the comic mode in literary thought and practice.” “Paulson,” Landry and MacLean concluded, “finds that changing English responses to Don Quixote’s madness provide an index to the historical emergence of a general theory of aesthetic disinterestedness inspired by the urgencies of partisan politics.”

The Life of Henry Fielding: A Critical Biography was, according to John Stevenson in Criticism, an extension of Paulson’s life’s work. “Paulson admits that, when invited to contribute this volume to the Blackwell Critical Biographies series, he realized that he had ‘inadvertently’ been at work on the book for forty years,” Stevenson explained, “years in which he worked on ‘satire, popular culture, religion, and aesthetics’ and ‘Fielding kept cropping up.”’ “This biographer’s understanding of the role of religion in Fielding’s thinking is much more nuanced than we are accustomed to; Paulson grasps the subtleties of deist thinking in its various forms and allows us to position Fielding among the different positions,” Stevenson concluded. “We also see how persistent are the threads of skepticism, even in his later work. Everyone knows about the Fielding-Richardson rivalry, but we have rarely had such a good discussion of the intellectual consequences of the conflict for Fielding as an artist.”

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Art Bulletin, March, 1998, Therese Dolan, review of The Beautiful, Novel, and Strange: Aesthetics and Heterodoxy, p. 188.

Art History, December, 1989, Richard Wrigley, “French Caricature and the French Revolution: 1789-1799,” p. 520.

Book World, December 12, 1971, Richard Freedman, “Hogarth,” p. 6.

Choice: Current Reviews for Academic Libraries, July 1, 1996, D.L. Patey, review of The Beautiful, Novel, and Strange, p. 1797; July 1, 1998, H.C. Woodbridge, review of Don Quixote in England: The Aesthetics of Laughter, p. 1860; September, 2000, J.T. Lynch, review of The Life of Henry Fielding: A Critical Biography, p. 128; June, 2004, J.T. Lynch, review of Hogarth’s Harlot: Sacred Parody in Enlightenment England, p. 1867.

Comparative Literature, fall, 1999, Thomas R. Hart, review of Don Quixote in England.

Criticism, fall, 2000, John Stevenson, review of The Life of Henry Fielding.

Dalhousie Review, spring, 1990, Dennis Young, review of Breaking and Remaking: Aesthetic Practice in England, 1700-1820.

Eighteenth-Century Fiction, October, 1998, Brean S. Hammond, review of Don Quixote in England, p. 128; October, 2000, Martin C. Battestin, “Fielding and the Deists,” p. 67.

Eighteenth-Century Studies, spring, 1997, Timothy Erwin, review of The Beautiful, Novel, and Strange; summer, 1999, Carl Fisher, review of Don Quixote in England; fall, 1999, Frederic Ogee, review of The Analysis of Beauty: William Hogarth.

English Studies, November, 2002, Ingrid Tieken-boon Van Ostade, review of The Life of Henry Fielding, p. 469.

Huntington Library Quarterly, fall, 2005, Timothy Erwin, review of Hogarth’s Harlot.

Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, summer, 1991, Dabney Townsend, review of Breaking and Remaking.

Journal of British Studies, July, 1992, Lawrence E. Klein, review of Breaking and Remaking, p. 294; July, 2006, Susan Staves, review of Hogarth’s Harlot, p. 654.

Journal of English and Germanic Philology, October, 1999, Everett Zimmerman, review of Don Quixote in England, p. 590.

Library Journal, May 1, 1983, Richard Kuczkowski, review of Representations of Revolution: 1789-1820, p. 908; February 15, 1990, Joseph Rosen-blum, review of Breaking and Remaking, p. 186.

MLN, December, 1996, William B. Warner, review of The Beautiful, Novel, and Strange, p. 1014.

Modern Language Quarterly, March, 1990, Lance Bertelsen, review of Breaking and Remaking, p. 82.

Modern Philology, November, 1998, Jonathan Lamb, review of The Beautiful, Novel, and Strange, p. 241; May, 2001, Alexander Welsh, review of Don Quixote in England, p. 676; November, 2005, Clement Hawes, review of Hogarth’s Harlot, p. 267.

Nation, December 20, 1971, “Hogarth,” p. 664.

New Republic, January 23, 1984, Simon Schama, review of Representations of Revolution, p. 36.

New Statesman, April 11, 1980, David Winter, review of Popular and Polite Art in the Age of Hogarth and Fielding, p. 556.

New York Review of Books, December 16, 1971, “Hogarth,” p. 27.

New York Times Book Review, January 2, 1972, Thomas R. Edwards, “Hogarth,” p. 7; June 2, 1983, Anatole Broyard, “Book of the Times,” review of Representations of Revolution, p. 21.

Nineteenth-Century Literature, June, 1998, review of Don Quixote in England, p. 138.

Notes and Queries, March, 1999, Barry Roth, review of Don Quixote in England, p. 136.

Reference & Research Book News, May, 1996, review of The Beautiful, Novel, and Strange, p. 42; May, 1998, review of Don Quixote in England, p. 161; May, 2004, review of Hogarth’s Harlot, p. 18.

Review of English Studies, February, 1998, Jeffrey Smitten, review of The Beautiful, Novel, and Strange, p. 85; November, 2001, Tom Keymer, review of The Life of Henry Fielding, p. 586.

Saturday Review, December 18, 1971, Robert Halsband, “Hogarth,” p. 31; November 29, 1975, “Emblem and Expression,” p. 20.

Studies in English Literature, 1500-1900, summer, 1998, Donna Landry and Gerald MacLean, review of Don Quixote in England, p. 553; summer, 1998, Donna Landry and Gerald MacLean, “The Analysis of Beauty.”

Times Literary Supplement, January 7, 1983, “Literary Landscape,” p. 8; August 7, 1998, John Mullan, review of Don Quixote in England, p. 11; July 14, 2000, Pat Rogers, review of The Life of Henry Fielding, p. 24.

ONLINE

Cervantes: Bulletin of the Cervantes Society of America,http://www.h-net.org/ (January 28, 2008), Laura J. Gorfkle, review of Don Quixote in England.*

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