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England in 1819

The Politics of Literary Culture and the Case of Romantic Historicism

England in 1819

The Politics of Literary Culture and the Case of Romantic Historicism

Many of the writers from 1819, argues James Chandler, were acutely aware not only of their writing’s place in history, but also of its place as history—a realization of a literary "spirit of the age" that resonates strongly with the current "return to history" in literary studies. Chandler explores the ties between Romantic and contemporary historicism and offers a series of cases of his own built around key texts from 1819.

"1819? At first sight, it might not seem a ’hot date’; but as James Chandler argues in his powerful book, it would be a mistake to overlook a year of such exceptional political conflagration and literary pyrotechnics in British history. Chandler’s study is a wide-ranging, enormously ambitious, densely packed, closely argued work."—John Brewer, New Republic

"The book’s largest argument, and the source of its considerable revelations, is that late twentieth-century practices of cultural history-writing have their roots in the peculiar Romantic historicism born in post-Waterloo Britain."—Jon Klancher, Times Literary Supplement

"A monumental work of scholarship."—Terry Eagleton, The Independent

Read an excerpt.

606 pages | 7 halftones | 6 x 9 | © 1998

History: British and Irish History

Literature and Literary Criticism: British and Irish Literature

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Introduction: Works and Days
Pt. 1: The "Historical Situation" of Romanticism
Ch. 1: Specificity after Structuralism: Dating the "Return to History"
Ch. 2: An Art of the State: Historicism and the Measures of Uneven Development
Ch. 3: Representing Culture, Romanticizing Contradiction: The Politics of Literary Exemplarity
Ch. 4: Altering the Case: The Invention of the Historical Situation
Pt. 2: Reading England in 1819
Ch. 5: Reopening the Case of Scott
Ch. 6: Byron’s Causes: The Moral Mechanics of Don Juan
Ch. 7: An "1819 Temper": Keats and the History of Psyche
Ch. 8: Concerning the Influence of America on the Mind: Western Settlements, "English Writers," and the Case of U.S. Culture
Ch. 9: The Case of "The Case of Shelley"
Ch. 10: History’s Lyre: The "West Wind" and the Poet’s Work


The University of Chicago Press: Gordon J. Laing Award

Association of American Publishers: PROSE Book Award
Honorable Mention

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