Research related to my MLA paper, “The Genius of Vampires,” focused on the overlap of romantic manifestos and writing on the fantastic. The four core texts are Stendhal’s “Racine et Shakespeare” (1823), Victor Hugo’s “Préface de Cromwell” (1827), Walter Scott’s “On the Supernatural in Fictitious Composition” (1827, trans. 1829) and Charles Nodier’s “Du Fantastique en littérature” (1830). I was interested to see in what ways these texts overlap in their references to authors and works of literature, and key terms associated with the romantique, classique and fantastique. My colleague Kirk Anne, Director of Research Technology and Strategic Projects, created these lexical dispersion charts using lists of key words that I developed.
The first three show how often Hugo, Stendhal and Nodier cite certain works, authors and characters. I developed this list by working from Nodier’s text, which was written after Hugo’s and Stendhal’s. I also included some works and authors that Stendhal and Hugo cite but Nodier does not.
Nodier’s “Du Fantastique” offers a history of fantastic literature, but can also be read as a defense of fantastic and romantic literature against the classiques. These charts show how Nodier’s proposed fantastic corpus aligns with the romantic corpus, and against which classic authors Nodier writes.
The following four charts show how Hugo, Stendhal, Scott and Nodier use key terms used to characterize romantic, classic or fantastic literature.