Romanticism in the shadow of war : literary culture in the Napoleonic War years


Romanticism in the shadow of war : literary culture in the Napoleonic War years

Jeffrey N. Cox

(Cambridge studies in romanticism, 107)

Cambridge University Press, 2014

  • : Hardback

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Includes bibliographical references (p. 248-266) and index



Jeffrey N. Cox reconsiders the history of British Romanticism, seeing the work of Byron, the Shelleys, and Keats responding not only to the 'first generation' Romantics led by Wordsworth, but more directly to the cultural innovations of the Napoleonic War years. Recreating in depth three moments of political crisis and cultural creativity - the Peace of Amiens, the Regency Crisis, and Napoleon's first abdication - Cox shows how 'second generation' Romanticism drew on cultural 'border raids', seeking a global culture at a time of global war. This book explores how the introduction on the London stage of melodrama in 1803 shaped Romantic drama, how Barbauld's prophetic satire Eighteen Hundred and Eleven prepares for the work of the Shelleys, and how Hunt's controversial Story of Rimini showed younger writers how to draw on the Italian cultural archive. Responding to world war, these writers sought to embrace a radically new vision of the world.


  • Introduction: border raids as cultural practice
  • 1. Holcroft's Parisian expedition
  • 2. After war: Manfred and the melodrama
  • 3. Barbauld's sallies
  • 4. Love beyond faith and hope: Percy and Mary Shelley on history and prophecy
  • 5. The import of Hunt's 'Italianism'
  • 6. Cockneys in Tuscany
  • Select bibliography.

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