Chapter

Republicanism: Ancient Rome and Literary Modernity in British Romanticism

Jonathan Sachs

in Romans and Romantics

Published in print August 2012 | ISBN: 9780199588541
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191741845 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199588541.003.0002

Series: Classical Presences

Republicanism: Ancient Rome and Literary Modernity in British Romanticism

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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

Chapter.  7847 words. 

Subjects: Classical Literature

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