An Oxford Companion to The Romantic Age: British Culture by Iain McCalman

By Iain McCalman

Iain McCalman(ed.)

For the 1st time, this cutting edge reference booklet surveys the Romantic Age via all features of British tradition, instead of in literary or inventive phrases on my own. This multi-disciplinary strategy treats Romanticism either in aesthetic terms-its that means for portray, track, layout, structure, and literature-and as a historic epoch of "revolutionary" variations which ushered in glossy democratic and industrialized society.

McCalman (Australian nationwide Univ.) has assembled a global crew of specialists, from fields as diversified as political heritage, pop culture, literature, faith, and drugs, with the intention to create a vast reference paintings at the Romantic age in Britain. the 1st a part of the publication includes thematic essays grouped into 4 assorted sections. Eschewing facile generalizations in regards to the Romantic period, the authors didn't search to increase a unmarried unified subject; particularly, they sought to regard topics less than broader headings reminiscent of "Transforming Polity and Nation" and "Culture, intake, and the Arts." via focusing the essays during this type, McCalman simply manages to keep up an inner coherence between issues. The essays themselves are of top quality and mirror the most recent scholarship. the second one a part of the publication comprises alphabetical entries of occasions, personalities, options, and tendencies in a few topics. Of specific curiosity are references to the folk and associations that make up the "radical" non secular and political events of the period, corresponding to Thomas Spence, Joseph Brothers, and Joanna Southcott, and many of the societies they joined or encouraged. geared toward a large viewers, this booklet is a worthwhile reference device. advised for all public and educational libraries.

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In addition, the ephemera of the debate—the *street literature, the *ballads, the chalked graffiti, the parodies and caricatures—kept these issues in the public domain, maintained their salience, and sustained, both for the reformers and for the common people who looked on, a frisson of delight from their satirical subversion of a discomfited élite. The innovative character of many works in the debate, their rhetorical inventiveness and power, their sheer volume and mass circulation, ensured that the controversy over France and reform pervaded British society in one form or other.

As late as 1815 the *Whig opposition in parliament demurred against attacking the restored Napoleon on the grounds that the ease with which he had overthrown the Bourbon monarchy indicated the public strength of his regime. There was some understanding here of the intensity war would assume once whole societies were engaged. Yet whatever Britain’s experience of mass mobilization and popular *patriotism during the wars between 1793 and 1815, anti-war opinion in the early nineteenth 2 · War 29 century never offered an interpretation of the age as one of increasing militarism or xenophobia.

The war with France, while increasing the strains on the state, also allowed the government to present the alternatives in stark terms, as it did in 1792–6. But such a strategy became increasingly inadequate after 1796 as the threat of invasion loomed. The government needed to know that it could rely on the people, to finance it and to fight for it, and on neither count could the people be bullied into compliance on a mass scale. They needed to be carried along from conviction—especially once the government had agreed to the creation of an armed volunteer force.

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