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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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Republicanism: Ancient Rome and Literary Modernity in British Romanticism

Republicanism: Ancient Rome and Literary Modernity in British Romanticism

(p.23) 1 Republicanism: Ancient Rome and Literary Modernity in British Romanticism
Romans and Romantics

Jonathan Sachs

Oxford University Press

Focusing on the range of meanings assigned to republican Rome and on the process by which Rome is compared to contemporary Britain in contexts ranging from Parliamentary debates to the writings of John Thelwall, S. T. Coleridge, Percy Shelly, and William Hazlittt, this chapter demonstrates how the diffusion of historical sense in British Romantic writing reveals the previously neglected relationship between the culture of republican Rome and the development of Romanticism in Britain. Attention to how these diverse figures interpret the legacy of republican Rome suggests that ‘Greece’ and ‘Rome’ were competitive and complementary fascinations; Greece did not replace Rome in the Romantic imagination, but the rise of Hellenism did enable sophisticated distinctions between Greece and Rome. By considering these distinctions, the chapter establishes Rome's crucial role in helping us understand the interpellation of politics and aesthetics in the Romantic period.

Keywords:   Coleridge, Coriolanus, William Hazlitt, Hellenism, historicism, reception of Rome, republicanism, Romanticism, Percy Shelley

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