2007–2008 Society of Fellows member John Bugg's latest book, British Romanticism and Peace (Oxford University Press), has been granted the 2023 Marilyn Gaull Book Award from the Wordsworth-Coleridge Association. The Marilyn Gaull Book Award which is conferred annually in recognition of the most outstanding monograph, biography, or scholarly edition reviewed during the previous year in The Wordsworth Circle.
The award judges' commendation:
In British Romanticism and Peace, John Bugg makes a timely intervention in our understanding of the Romantic period and its culture, upending our long-standing focus as scholars on the era's wars to highlight the texts and authors who never stopped championing the cause of peace. Written in strong, clear, convincing prose that Marilyn Gaull would have admired, British Romanticism and Peace opens up striking new readings of writers central to the canon—Wordsworth, Keats, Austen. The monograph also explores less well-studied writers and texts, including Helen Maria Williams and her “Ode on the Peace,” which ended the American Revolutionary War, and William Cobbett’s evolving position that leads him to stand against endless war in the name of peace. Bugg introduces us to a dizzying array of virtually unknown pro-peace texts and provides us with new categories, such as “treaty poetics” within which to understand them. Finally, the book speaks strongly to our moment as Bugg argues that our scholarship has marginalized peace, contributing to an ideology wherein we “privilege war as somehow fundamental to what it means to be human.”