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Title: Review of Behrendt, S. C., ed. 'Romanticism, Radicalism, and the Press', Detroit, Wayne State University Press, 1997, 221pp., $23.95
Contributor(s): Ryan, John S (author)
Publication Date: 1997
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Abstract: The collection of eleven probing essays by scholars presently working in the U.S.A. is concerned with the role of the radical press in England during the Romantic period. More specifically the central phase from c. 1790 to the aftermath of Waterloo, is also one of numerous Dissenters articulately opposed to the repressive regulation of public discourse, most notably in 1794, 1795, 1797, 1799, 1801, 1817, and 1819. For both the Treason Trials of 1794 and the "Manchester massacre" (or "Peterloo") of 1819 could be - and were - seen as the controlling governmental and social leaders meeting all liberal reformers' efforts with "precipitousness and viciousness" (p. 16), as they transferred the focus of warmaking from a foreign enemy to a domestic one. Throughout, the poets were closely associated with radical press figures. This articulate opposition, which anticipates Orwell on totalitarianism, or Peter Foot's words of a quarter of a century ago about the social prophets being officially relegated to the margins, is shown to give us glimpses of the numerous men and women who then fought the dominant culture and were beaten down. The core of the book is the contribution of the present editor who stresses the need for us to: reassess the canon; recover the Romantic women writers' radical texts; or identify sympathetically the internal radicalism questioning hereditary privilege, as when publisher and poet (e.g. Wordsworth) combined to challenge both patronage and jingoism, as they did with the iconic popular culture figure, John Bull.
Publication Type: Review
Source of Publication: Lore and Language, 15(1-2), p. 197-198
Publisher: National Centre for English Cultural Tradition (NATCECT), University of Sheffield
Place of Publication: Sheffield, United Kingdom
ISSN: 0307-7144
Field of Research (FOR): 190399 Journalism and Professional Writing not elsewhere classified
160899 Sociology not elsewhere classified
210305 British History
HERDC Category Description: D3 Review of Single Work
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