When King Arthur met the Venus : Romantic Antiquarianism and the Illustration of Anne Bannerman’s “The Prophecy of Merlin”
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The first edition of Bannerman’s Tales of Superstition and Chivalry (1802) contained an erotic engraving of a naked Venus figure, which was declared ‘offensive to decency’ by Scottish audiences in the poet’s native Edinburgh. Garner’s account investigates the controversy surrounding the engraving and the puzzling disparity between it and the ballad it illustrated: the Arthurian-themed ‘Prophecy of Merlin’. Using evidence from Bannerman’s correspondence with noted Scottish male publishers and antiquarians, this essay argues that decision to include the dangerous engraving was symptomatic of current anxieties surrounding a female-authored text which threatened to encroach on antiquarian and Arthurian enquiry.
Garner , K L 2013 , ' When King Arthur met the Venus : Romantic Antiquarianism and the Illustration of Anne Bannerman’s “The Prophecy of Merlin” ' Romantic Textualities , vol 21 , pp. 53-71 .
This article is copyright © 2013–14 Centre for Editorial and Intertextual Research, and is the result of the independent labour of the scholar or scholars credited with authorship. The material contained in this document may be freely distributed, as long as the origin of information used has been properly credited in the appropriate manner (e.g. through bibliographic citation, etc.). Fig. 1 © MacKenzie after E. W. Thompson, ‘The Prophecy of Merlin’, Tales of Superstition and Chivalry (1802), Shields Library Kohler Collection I:54, Special Collections, University of California, Davis. Image reprinted with the permission of the British Women Romantic Poets Project, General Library, University of California, Davis.
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