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Unusual SuspectsPitt's Reign of Alarm and the Lost Generation of the 1790s$
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Kenneth R. Johnston

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199657803

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199657803.001.0001

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More Radical than Thou

More Radical than Thou

Robert Southey (1774–1843)

Chapter:
(p.260) 15 More Radical than Thou
Source:
Unusual Suspects
Author(s):

Kenneth R. Johnston

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199657803.003.0015

Robert Southey’s youthful rebelliousness segued naturally into his political radicalism. He became the prime target of The Anti-Jacobin’s attacks on the parliamentary reform movement and its ideological fellow-travelers. He and Coleridge tried for nearly two years to establish a communal colony in Pennsylvania, to be called ‘Pantisocracy.’ Though typical of many American communal experiments, Pantisocracy seemed politically radical to disapproving English eyes. Southey wrote many poems to support their efforts for it, including Joan of Arc and The Fall of Robespierre. His early political opinions were close to treasonous, but he began to modulate them in the late 1790s, disguising their tendency in over one hundred poems he wrote for the Morning Chronicle in 1797–9. His uncle had earlier taken him away to Lisbon to try to reform him, but by the end of the decade Southey himself sought relief and escape, from England and its recent history.

Keywords:   rebellious youth, robert southey, coleridge, pantisocracy, radical newspaper verse

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