Romanticism, Revolution and Language: The Fate of the Word from Samuel Johnson to George Eliot

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Cambridge University Press, Apr 16, 2009 - History - 232 pages
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The repercussions of the French Revolution included erosion of many previously held certainties in Britain, as in the rest of Europe. Even the authority of language as a cornerstone of knowledge was called into question and the founding principles of intellectual disciplines challenged, as Romantic writers developed new ways of expressing their philosophy of the imagination and the human heart. This book traces the impact of revolution on language, from William Blake, Samuel Taylor Coleridge and William Wordsworth, to William Hazlitt, Jane Austen, Elizabeth Gaskell and George Eliot. A leading scholar in Romantic literature and theology, John Beer offers a persuasive new account of post-revolutionary continuities between the major Romantic writers and their Victorian successors.
 

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Contents

Democracy in Somerset and beyond
1
Politics sensibility and the quest for adequacy of language
21
The heart of Lyrical Ballads
45
The Prelude a poem in process
61
Words or images? Blakes representation of history
80
Blake Coleridge and The Riddle of the World
99
Challenges from the nonverbal and return to the Word
113
The Nature of Hazlitts taste
132
Jane Austens progress
156
Languages of memory and passion Tennyson Gaskell and the Brontės
175
George Eliot and the future of language
200
Index
225
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About the author (2009)

John Beer is Emeritus Professor of English at the University of Cambridge and Emeritus Fellow of Peterhouse.

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