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date: 12 December 2019

Abstract and Keywords

The connection between the British nation and its imperial outposts has recently begun to be explored in depth by scholars of eighteenth-century British literature. Poetry plays a special role in these investigations as encouraging an affective relationship between the literate citizens of Britain and their changing nation and empire. Mapping the intersections of the domestic and the imperial has proved challenging, given the changing nature of both the British nation and empire over the long eighteenth century. Developing national identity within the British Isles affected and was affected by Britons’ understanding of their place in the wider world. Poets from the geographical peripheries of Britain played a crucial role in setting the nation in an international context. As a stronger and more cohesive sense of a British national identity developed in conjunction with growing imperial aspirations, poetry served both to encourage and challenge a notion of hegemonic Britishness at home and abroad.

Keywords: poetry, nation, empire, politics, nationalism, national identity

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