Romantic Imperialism: Universal Empire and the Culture of Modernity

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The years between 1790 and 1830 saw over 150 million people brought under British Imperial control, and one of the most momentous outbursts of British literary and artistic production, announcing a new world of social and individual traumas and possibilities. This book traces the emergence of new forms of imperialism and capitalism as part of a culture of modernization in the period, and looks at the ways in which they were identified with, and contested in, Romanticism, through original readings of texts by Wordsworth, Blake, Byron, Shelley and Scott.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"In this fascinating study, Makdisi...persuasively argues that romanticism emerges along with and in response to modernization and imperialism, that it marks a great historical crossroads between 'one cultural moment and another'. Makdisi's brilliant reading of Blake's poem 'London' connects neatly to his discussion of Wordsworth's reaction to that great center of empire and ties much of his work together. Highly recommended for upper-level undergraduate readers and above." Choice

"Romantic Imperialism takes an innovative and significant step in the ongoing scholarly project of connecting romanticism to its historical and cultural contexts." John Glendening, Albion

"The mode of reading Romantic works as embattled responses to the political, economic, and social manifestations of modernity...produces some ingenious results...The book at its most intriguing is more than another rote exercise in postcolonial critique." Linda Dowling, Studies in English Literature

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521586047
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 4/28/2003
  • Series: Cambridge Studies in Romanticism Series, #27
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 248
  • Product dimensions: 5.98 (w) x 8.98 (h) x 0.59 (d)

Table of Contents

Preface and acknowledgements; 1. Introduction: universal empire; 2. Home imperial: Wordsworth's London and the spot of time; 3. Wordsworth and the image of nature; 4. Waverley and the cultural politics of dispossession; 5. Domesticating exoticism: transformations of Britain's Orient, 1785–1835; 6. Beyond the realm of dreams: Byron, Shelley and the East; 7. William Blake and the universal empire; 8. Conclusion; Notes; Bibliography.

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