Mechanical Reproduction, Commodity, and the Gift-Annual Aesthetic

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The article explores the changes to British print culture in the 1820s which enabled mass production of gift annuals, decorative and illustrated anthologies of poems and stories. It argues that gift-annual poetry extends the characteristic self-reflexivity of Romantic poetry to the technological moment of the 1820s and to questions of value raised by the materiality of books in the commercial marketplace. In the aesthetic interventions and experiments of gift-annual poems, annual poets are self-consciously engaging with the accelerated mechanical reproduction and the increased circulation of literary books for profit in a capitalist marketplace.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)247-275
JournalStudies in Romanticism
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2021


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