The French Revolution Debate in English Literature and Culture
In the struggle for democratic reform, and in its ideals of liberty, equality, and fraternity, the French Revolution represented a broad humanistic spirit that swept across Europe at the close of the 18th century. The Revolution fostered one of the largest and broadest debates in literary and cultural history, a war of ideas that encompassed philosophy, theories of history, the study of language, and the history of art. This debate is reflected in a large body of literature that extends well into the 19th century. The debate in England was particularly strong, and in 1789, the London Corresponding Society remarked that the French Revolution was the topic to which all thinking minds were drawn. During the 20th century, scholars have given much attention to the link between the Revolution and Romanticism.
Within this volume, expert contributors examine the centrality of the French Revolution to English culture in the 18th and 19th centuries. The book offers a sweeping exploration of the diverse effects of the Revolution in verbal and visual art, poetry and prose, history and fiction, politics and religion, and philosophy and language theory. Among the figures discussed are Edmund Burke, William Blake, William Wordsworth, and Thomas Carlyle. By analyzing a broad range of writers and artists who shaped and were shaped by the French Revolution, the volume dramatizes the scope and diversity of the debate, thus offering an interdisciplinary analysis of the debate as a whole and an emphasis on the extent to which all thinking minds were drawn to the topic.
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Burkes Perception of Richard Price
Burke Wollstonecraft Paine
The Ancient Voices of Blakes The French Revolution
Wordsworth Godwin and the 1790s
Great Burke Thomas Carlyle and the French Revolution
The Collapse of the Discourse of General Nature and the Reaction to the French Revolution