Introduction to “Disastrous Summers”

By Holly Horner, edited by Jordan Green and Sigmund Jakob Michael Stephan

“Disastrous Summers,” the first installment of the NGSC’s quarterly blog series, collects a set of essays by graduate students related to social, personal, environmental, and political disasters associated with the Romantic Period. As part of this ongoing blog series, we interrogated how the conversations surrounding the current COVID-19 pandemic and the  #BlackLivesMatter protests are exacerbated by events and texts from the Romantic Period. Our first upcoming submissions consider how Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is an allegory for COVID-19 and social distancing in 2020; and how Shelley’s Last Man explores the ways in which modernity fuels pandemic disease. Alongside our initial eco-centric inquiry, “Disastrous Summers” also invited writers to engage in a more urgent consideration: how graduate students must be critical of the Romantic period’s participation in imperialistic practices by adopting the #Bigger6 philosophy of performing antiracist and anticolonial work in the study of Romanticism by moving our critical focus beyond the initial “Big Six” of Romanticism and recouping historically marginalized voices. Many thanks to those who answered our CFP.