Gothic Romance

Download An Oxford Companion to The Romantic Age: British Culture by Iain McCalman, Jon Mee, Gillian Russell, Clara Tuite, Kate PDF

By Iain McCalman, Jon Mee, Gillian Russell, Clara Tuite, Kate Fullagar, Patsy Hardy

For the 1st time, this cutting edge reference booklet surveys the Romantic Age via all points of British tradition, instead of in literary or inventive phrases by myself. This multi-disciplinary process treats Romanticism either in aesthetic terms--its that means for portray, song, layout, structure, and literature--and as a old epoch of "revolutionary" adjustments which ushered in smooth democratic and industrialized society.

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In some respects it came to resemble its principal antagonist. It was forced to conduct a mass mobilization, trebling the number of men in its armed forces from the highest total of the American war. It was also forced to expand the militia and to endorse the creation of a *volunteer force throughout the country. In 1803‒4 something like 20 per cent of the adult male populations of the rural counties and 35 per cent of the more industrial and urban counties were enlisted in the volunteers. The result was a country in arms, with a substantial proportion of the British male public holding weapons, something which Pitt had refused to countenance in the winter of 1792–3.

Similarly, the Union flag and the national anthem and some other songs became affirmations of British identity appropriated by all and sundry. It is possible to examine popular attitudes more closely to test the depth of patriotic commitment during the war when, for obvious reasons, it can be expected to have been maximized. In spite of the nation’s military effort, the popular image of the soldier as one who relinquished the freedoms of civilian existence for slavery, exile, and (very likely) horrible death remained firmly fixed.

Although they were eventually acquitted, the reform movement suffered a major setback. The Society for Constitutional Information closed down, reopening only briefly in November 1795, and the London Corresponding Society did not recover from internal factions, often arising from accusations of *spying for the government, until the summer of 1795. It was then able to use the widespread unrest over the war, and the rioting against food shortages and recruitment practices, as an opportunity to organize mass public meetings to call for peace and demand reform.

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