Romantic Antiquity: Rome in the British Imagination, 1789-1832

Hardcover | January 4, 2010

byJonathan Sachs

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While scholars have long noted the fascination with Roman literature and history expressed by many preeminent British cultural figures of the early and middle-eighteenth century, they have only sparingly commented on the increasingly vexed role Rome played during the subsequent Romanticperiod. This critical oversight has skewed our understanding of British Romanticism as being either a full-scale rejection of classical precedents or an embrace of Greece at the expense of Rome. In contrast, Romantic Antiquity argues that Rome is relevant to the Romantic period not as thecontinuation of an earlier neoclassicism, but rather as a concept that is simultaneously transformed and transformative: transformed in the sense that new models of historical thinking produced a changed understandings of historicity itself and therefore a way to comprehend changes associated withmodernity. The book positions Rome as central to a variety of literary events, including the British response to the French Revolution, the Jacobin novel, Byron's late rejection of Romantic poetics, Shelley's Hellenism and the London theatre, where the staging of Rome is directly responsible forHazlitt's understanding of poetry as anti-democratic, or "right royal." By exposing how Roman references helped structure Romantic poetics and theories of the imagination, and how this aesthetic work, in turn, impacted fundamental aspects of political modernity like mass democracy and the spread ofempire, the book recasts how we view the presence of antiquity in a modernity with which we continue to struggle.

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While scholars have long noted the fascination with Roman literature and history expressed by many preeminent British cultural figures of the early and middle-eighteenth century, they have only sparingly commented on the increasingly vexed role Rome played during the subsequent Romanticperiod. This critical oversight has skewed our und...

Jonathan Sachs is Associate Professor of English at Concordia University, Montreal.

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:320 pages, 5.71 × 8.58 × 1.18 inPublished:January 4, 2010Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195376129

ISBN - 13:9780195376128

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Table of Contents

AcknowledgementsIntroductionPart I: Political Writing and the Novel1. Rome and the Revolution Controversy2. From Roman to roman: The Jacobin Novel and the Roman Legacy in the 1790sPart II: Poetry3. A Roman Standard: Byron, Ancient Rome, and Literary Decline4. "Yet the Capital of the World": Rome, Repetition, and History in Shelley's Later WritingsPart III: Drama5. Rome-antic Shakespeare: Coriolanus on the Romantic Stage and page, 1789-18206. What is the People?: Rome on the Romantic Stage after KembleConclusionBibliography