- The Oxford Handbook of Critical Improvisation Studies
- Contributors to Volume 1
- Introduction: On Critical Improvisation Studies
- Cognitive Processes in Musical Improvisation
- The Cognitive Neuroscience of Improvisation
- Improvisation, Action Understanding, and Music Cognition with and without Bodies
- The Ghost in the Music, or the Perspective of an Improvising Ant
- The Improvisative
- Jurisgenerative grammar (for alto)
- Is Improvisation Present?
- Politics as Hypergestural Improvisation in the Age of Mediocracy
- On the Edge: A Frame of Analysis for Improvisation
- The Salmon of Wisdom: On the Consciousness of Self and Other in Improvised Music and in the Language that Sets One Free
- Improvising Yoga
- Michel de Montaigne, or Philosophy as Improvisation
- The Improvisation of Poetry, 1750–1850: Oral Performance, Print Culture, and the Modern Homer
- Germaine de Staël’s <i>Corinne, or Italy</i> and the Early Usage of Improvisation in English
- Improvisation, Time, and Opportunity in the Rhetorical Tradition
- Improvisation, Democracy, and Feedback
- Improvised Dance in the Reconstruction of <i>THEM</i>
- Improvising Social Exchange: African American Social Dance
- Fixing Improvisation: Copyright and African American Vernacular Dancers in the Early Twentieth Century
- Performing Gender, Race, and Power in Improv Comedy
- Shifting Cultivation as Improvisation
- Improvisation in Management
- Free Improvisation as a Path-Dependent Process
- Musical Improvisation and the Philosophy of Music
- Improvisation and Time-Consciousness
- Improvising <i>Impromptu,</i> Or, What to Do with a Broken String
- Ensemble Improvisation, Collective Intention, and Group Attention
- Interspecies Improvisation
- Spiritual Exercises, Improvisation, and Moral Perfectionism: With Special Reference to Sonny Rollins
- Improvisation and Ecclesial Ethics
Abstract and Keywords
The “Romantic century” (1750–1850) saw the rise and decline of a distinctive type of improviser: the improvvisatore or improvvisatrice, a solo poet-performer who spontaneously composed verses on subjects assigned by the audience. As this primarily Italian tradition spread across Europe, it generated wide-ranging debates about poetics, aesthetics, and the role of improvisation in political rhetoric and communal leadership. Often this discussion focused on the relationship between modern poetic improvisers and the rhapsodes of classical antiquity, especially Homer. Variations on the questions “Was Homer an improvvisatore?” and “Are improvvisatori the descendants of Homer?” show up in antiquarian, poetic, and political discourses, influencing Romantic ideas about the public role of poets while changing the direction of Homeric scholarship. Since the performances of poetic improvisers and the debates they generated took place in the midst of a rapidly expanding culture of periodical magazines and other print media, the reception of orally improvised poetry during the Romantic era also affects the evolving relationship of orality and print.
Angela Esterhammer is Principal of Victoria College and Professor of English and Comparative Literature at the University of Toronto. Her publications include Creating States: Studies in the Performative Language of John Milton and William Blake (1994), The Romantic Performative: Language and Action in British and German Romanticism (2000), Romanticism and Improvisation, 1750-1850 (2008), and the edited volumes Romantic Poetry (2002) and Spheres of Action: Speech and Performance in Romantic Culture (2009). Her current research examines interrelations among improvisational performance, print culture, periodicals, and fiction in the early nineteenth century.
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