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Romans and Romantics$
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Timothy Saunders, Charles Martindale, Ralph Pite, and Mathilde Skoie

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199588541

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199588541.001.0001

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Thomas Hardy and ‘the reach of perished Rome’

Thomas Hardy and ‘the reach of perished Rome’

(p.327) 16 Thomas Hardy and ‘the reach of perished Rome’
Romans and Romantics

Ralph Pite

Oxford University Press

In October 1870, Rome and Latium were annexed by the kingdom of Italy and in July 1871 Rome was made capital. In the years that followed the city was radically transformed. This process exacerbated conflicts between visitors and inhabitants over who could claim to be Rome's true heirs — a conflict that Risorgimento nationalism had generated since the beginning of the nineteenth century. Qualms about the new Rome and the relations to the past it permitted or blocked can be found in much writing of the late nineteenth century. Unexpectedly, perhaps, given his reputation as a regionalist, they are explored with particular intelligence by Thomas Hardy, in writing that followed his single journey to Rome in 1887. Particularly in his sequence, ‘Poems of Pilgrimage’, published in Poems of the Past and the Present (1902), Hardy reflected on how far the Romantic inheritance might still be found, overlaying the classical scene.

Keywords:   archaeology, Thomas Hardy, Poems of Pilgrimage, Risorgimento

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